Thing 14: Augmented Reality…libraries can have monsters & volcanoes

Chasing the dragonChasing the dragon by Andy McLemore on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

There’s this cool app for kids, Quiver, that brings their colouring activities to life. The child in me is thrilled by this; I can’t get enough.  Augmented Reality (i.e. additional to reality) has enabled these images to jump off the page and become playmates and 3D learning experiences.

Here is the volcano activity sheet that I tested on my iPad…first the volcano appears…

Photo 2016-08-18, 5 23 08 PM   and then you can make it erupt…..

…sound effects, lava, smoke and all!

Photo 2016-08-18, 5 25 43 PM

Fascinating! 😀

Oh, I know, right now you’re thinking about those little critters that are being hunted all over the world. PokémonGo! The craze that took the world by storm just a few weeks ago. In my wildest dreams I would not have thought that I too would have engaged in such unseemly behaviour (said tongue-in-cheek), holding the phone level with my nose and being led randomly in different directions, to trace that little yellow monster that was supposed to be hiding in our library!  It reminds me of a recent cartoon I saw, created by the satirical artist Pawel Kuczynski, and highlighted by Twisted Sifter…  😉

pokemon riding man
Pikachu riding human, by Pawel Kuczynski

It was only the 2nd week of the craze, and there we were, the head of the library and I, probably looking really odd, walking to and fro between the stacks, right up to displays, windows and notice boards, but the elusive creature stayed out of reach! Grrr. So, off we went from the library into the museum, determined to experience the hunt – drawing strange looks – pursuing the unseen. Just as we came to our senses (we were supposed to be manning the library desk) and decided to end our quest, behold…there it was…dancing cheekily in front of us.  The excitement at skilfully making it go *poof* was quite satisfying after the effort spent! (No success, yet, on the library’s own little monster.  Either he’s not there, or the App is not playing along nicely.)

Augmented Reality (AR) is providing folk with a new pastime in PokémonGo. Some say it’s great, as people are out and about, and moving; others decry it as a waste of valuable time. Whatever the opinion, AR has hit a new high. Libraries are using the hype to entice people into the virtual gyms and recharging stations. Library displays have been organised around the new phenomenon.  In her blog “Linking Learning” Kay Oddone writes that PokémonGo has brought Augmented Reality to the mainstream. (There’s also a link to a YouTube video explanation on AR.)

Where else is AR useful, besides colouring in books coming to life and monsters popping up in odd places? I discovered this video produced a couple of years before PokémonGo – the five best AR apps. Interesting, to say the least.  🙂

wordle for AR

Wordle graph by Amber Case on Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Rudai23’s Thing 14 has some links to interesting sites regarding AR in libraries. I like the idea of LibrARi, as we librarians know there are many who battle with classification systems and call numbers, or how to locate a book on the shelf. Data input would have to be really accurate though, and regularly updated, so that users aren’t further confused if the app points to the wrong book-address.

In the museum’s library we may try to do something with Aurasma for advocacy purposes. Thing 15’s topic is library advocacy, so I may get to try it out for the next post. At the moment we could use the Quiver app to make colouring in fun for the kids who are coming in and spending an hour during the hot summer months.

color in

Color in by giveawayboy on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

According to several recent news articles, AR has “arrived”. Microsoft is working to incorporate it into a future Windows update. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has confirmed that AR has grown into a ‘core’ technology. Financial markets are really excited for the prospect of growth in AR and Virtual Reality, probably mostly due to the gaming sector. Any $ to spare? You may want to invest in an AR tech company. 🙂

In Australia a group of students will be developing AR technology for “business solutions, developing 3D models and videos that overlay real-time camera views for smart phone, tablet or PC users, enhancing the visitor experience for the Gippsland Heritage Park.”  I imagine this idea being incorporated into large State, Academic and public libraries, so that users are not overwhelmed as they enter.  The different services, departments, programmes, collections, displays, etc. could quickly be located, labelled and explained. Kids could experience monsters, volcanoes, dinos, machines, and so much more, right there in their own library – learning come to life!  The idea is exciting.

Nothing, however, beats human contact, and so the UX Librarian’s position could merely be augmented by this technology. 😉  I wonder if there already is something similar, besides the virtual reality tours and 3D images on apps that one encounters in some museums and galleries and via websites?

Till next time. 🙂  Thanks for stopping by.


Clipart from