Tech Tools: Aurasma for Augmented Reality
Aurasma is currently being used to explore content in the library’s exhibition, “Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court: 32 Arguments that Changed America”. Located in the second-floor gallery, the exhibit is free and open to the public, and will run through Jan. 29, 2016.
Features that we liked:
- Web-based Studio Application – An intuitive interface and a clearly defined three step process for creating augmented reality content make for a short and gradual learning curve: upload an image to be used as a trigger, create an overlay on top of the trigger image, and share. Drag-and-drop capability streamlined the process of uploading files.
- Triggering and Tracking – Employing trigger images with high contrast, Aurasma easy identified each trigger image and rendered the content. Augmented overlays did not drop when viewing at sharp angles. While in harsh lightening environments, Aurasma continued to perform successfully.
- Cost – The app and studio are free for basic accounts. The app is available for download from the Apple Store and the Google Play Store.
Areas for improvement:
- Following a Channel – Users must follow an account’s channel to view the augmented reality content. Since this step is crucial to a rewarding user experience, it’s unfortunate that it proved to be difficult.
- File Size Limits – Although several common file formats can be used as trigger images and overlays, files are limited to 100 MB.
- User Interface Icons – Using uncommon icons for common tasks (e.g. starting the camera) gave the app a slightly unfamiliar feel.
Some tips from our experiences:
- Different Experiences – Device hardware used to trigger the augmented reality content can significantly impact the load times for content. Every device will perform a bit differently.
- Keep the Augments Short – Besides the human factors of attention span and muscle fatigue, larger files had a tendency to buffer longer (up to 3 seconds on iPhone 4) before rendering the overlay. It can also make overlay objects appear at staggered times.
- “Why Do I Want Another App on my Phone?” – Although the app is free to download, device storage is at a premium. Providing an impactful visual illustration of what can be expected can encourage hesitant users to experience an emerging method of access to information.
Exhibit – http://www.cscc.edu/about/news-press/2015/thurgood-marshall-exhibit.shtml
Companion Guide – http://library.cscc.edu/ThurgoodMarshall
Derek C. Zoladz, Columbus State Community College, Librarian
Frank Neutzling, Columbus State Community College, Media Technician