Augmented Reality and QR

I had several great ideas for projects that I wanted to do with AR but found hurdles that kept causing me to evaluate the time I was putting into each of them and the reality of getting something together this project during this semester.

I was going to have you print out a cuboctahedron map of the world ( and put it together so you had a “globe-like” item to scan for auras. I found these great creation myths that I wanted to tie to the 14 sections of the globe. The stories ranged from all kinds of different media resources, some of which I recreated. But I could not get the map to have enough definition to make a good trigger image. So…I learned a big lesson to use the phone application to test your trigger image before creating overlays and adding actions. If your trigger image isn’t going to work, then you need to move on to another idea (or create your own trigger image drawing which was plan F.

The next idea was to augment one of my lessons from a class I teach on InDesign. The assignment is to review a completed project and to edit for errors. Some of the errors are obvious and some aren’t. I was planning to create short videos or screencasts to point out the errors. I may actually come back to this at some point but honestly, I ran out of time creating the videos and it didn’t seem worthy if I didn’t point out all the errors.

My other idea was to augment a book for my Great Niece Isabella.  I wanted to get all the relatives to record their voice/or create a short video and read each of of the pages to her. I intend to do this when my family can fit it in their schedules.

So…a  trip to the Zoo with Isabella became the project topic. This will be sent to my nephew who can set things up for my niece. I added a call me button overlay as well as a link to a survey.


Map of Zoo 2013 (PDF)

Image from Aurasma from my phone.

iphone image

Note: The “Call Auntie” really does place a call to my cell phone.

Actions for Overlays:





aura workspace


13 thoughts on “Augmented Reality and QR

  1. Hi Heidi,

    I really appreciate that you shared your process for deciding on a project for the unseen stories unit. I love the idea of creating stories for children with augmented reality elements. Incorporating existing videos of live animals in nature with animal sounds would be a great way to create an iPad children’s book.

    I’m curious, what did Isabella think of this activity?

    Thank You,

    • Isabella thought it was fun — her favorites were the giraffes. I agree that incorporating video or audio would make great enhancements. I have another book for my niece, Isabella, Girl on the Go, that explores various professions like archeologist (at the Spinx), astronomer (at the mayan ruin). and the statue of liberty…and I noticed at the back of the book there were links to the various locations that the book talks about. I don’t think a child would have noticed the wording and links at the back of the book, but they would have noticed if the individual pages were augmented. So I might just do that before I give her the book!

  2. Heidi- I just wanted to let you know that I think your AR project idea is FANTASTIC. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to view the map yet as I forgot to print off a copy at work on Friday. I will be back to comment more on Monday!

    • I’m back! And I realized why I wasn’t able to view your auras on my laptop. I was busy moving my phone around smaller sections of the map, and I never found the purple swirlies. I finally realized that I had to view your map as a whole- I should have looked more carefully at the image of your phone screen above.

      I think this was absolutely darling. I now have to investigate how to get more than one image to appear as a layer, and how you made the layer images move front and center when tapped. Did you remove the backgrounds for all of the images? The “call Auntie” addition was a great idea.

      I was really intrigued by all of your brainstorming ideas; the personalized children’s book would be such a fantastic gift. You’ve expanded my imagination in terms of what AR can do. As much as I want to copy all of your ideas and create fun projects the big hurdle right now for me is time. Perhaps the idea of constructing projects of this nature just seems overwhelming now, because we are in the earlyish stages of AR. I assume it will become much simpler in the near future.

      Like Melissa, I am also interested in Isabella’s reaction. 🙂

      • Isabella said she thought it was fun…maybe not as much fun as “Talking Tom” but she liked the Call Auntie button! And she did take the survey and selected all of the choices!

        I added screenshots of the actions I created for the overlays to help explain the actions to the end of my blog post. Another trick I found is that the animated gifs don’t have to live on the trigger — I have mine on the pasteboard (not sure that is what is it called but I mean the area outside of the trigger area).

        Another one of my projects in the works that is still in the pre-planning phase, is to augment a historical trail map with old photos, videos, recordings. I think I want to use geotags for the triggers but haven’t quite thought that all through yet.

        One of my friends says that her kid’s math book is augmented with QR codes that takes the student to videos for a visual explanation. Lots of possibilities!

  3. Heidi, Thanks for sharing your thinking process and also pointing out the time problem. That was generous. How old is your niece?

    Also, I think the idea of audience and AR was really cool with your project–my thinking had been more in terms of context (such as the use of AR in a museum and our soon-to-be-posted project).

    • My niece is four and I though she could enjoy the animated gifs. It wasn’t meant to keep her engaged for very long. I would love to be able to augment the entire map but could see where placing the overlays could be tricky. It would be fun to do a kind of scavenger hunt.

  4. I am so glad that there is a story here of your thought process with this project. Thanks for outlining some of your creative ideas with what to do with Aurasma, even if you didn’t get around to doing them, because this helps me think about additional possibilities of what AR can do.
    The idea to link to your phone so she could call you is a great way to connect people through the image. I am enchanted with other ways that people can connect.
    The map through the park with the animals and the project you outlined about the various jobs are very inspired ways of looking at how the audience would interact with Aurasma. A scavenger hunt or Easter Egg type game would have been amazing for me to play at as a child.
    I am also interested in hearing more about how you wanted to use this to highlight errors. Who would be the intended audience for that particular project?
    And even though you did not get around to some of these ideas now, I hope you will pick them up and do something with them in the future!

    • I am am employee at UAF and I used to live in Fairbanks. In 2007, my husband took a temporary job in Juneau and I was given permission to work from Juneau. Since I work in the eLearning office and work in online education it seemed like a good opportunity to test out being a distributed worker. Before I left town, someone insisted in taking a full length picture of me which turned into a full-sized “Heidi” poster. At first it was quite embarrassing and I’ve been told that I’m pretty scary to small children who might come into the office. I’ve also been told that people talk to me at a distance. After a time I thought I should create an augmented layer to “Heidi” in which I included a button to call my work phone as well as a button to send me an email. I also have a button to view a blog where I sometimes add things about working at a distance. So….to get to my point, I think having the link to the phone is an interesting way to connect people. It is so easy now with a cell phone to click a button and get connected. And to some generations, it no longer has to be at a defined location. With cell phones you can call anyone from anywhere (almost, depending on connectivity of course).

      I teach a desktop publishing class that uses Adobe InDesign as the software of choice. When I give feedback on student projects that are submitted I often am creating videos showing a specific workflow for menu items and tools to use. I try not to make the videos very long and I try to make them specific to the issue that might been correction. I had the idea that if I augmented a students project that could be viewed through a smart phone, It would be interesting to add “marker” to trouble areas that a student could view while looking at the entire project at once. Otherwise I have to be specific about where I’m looking and then have them follow a link to remediation.

      This has nothing to do with storytelling though…so I’m not sure why I even brought it up in this class or assignment post! I’m confusing myself by thinking about applications for tools that aren’t storytelling related!

  5. What a great gift for your niece and nephew! I think this idea makes really good use of the technology – appropriate to your audience by being interactive and playful. And clearly you’ve thought about what else AR can be – a learning tool, a tool for creating a story collage, etc. I wonder why you dropped the idea with the creation myths. Was a 2-D map not a possible trigger image? Why/not? I wonder, too, what other triggers you might be able to use to tell similar stories. Like what if you wrote a creation story of your own, and some of the words in yours acted as triggers for the others? It’s fun to think about these projects! There are so many different opportunities for creativity.

    I’m interested in why it felt important to you to do this for your niece. It seems like this AR connection meant something different for you than a phonecall. Why is that? I think that technologies can help us shrink space/distances between us – and it seems like AR is maybe doing that for you and your family. Do you think so? How?

    • Great questions Kendell! I was disappointed in dropping the creation story myth because I was trying to limit myself to using a print out that was restricted to an 8.5×11 size piece of paper that had to be cut and folded. I just couldn’t figure out a way to create a large enough trigger area. I wanted to keep the perspective of a globe with the land masses and the workable area was just too small to create a good trigger. I could definitely see creating a prezi like Katie did for her AR project at based on a flat perspective but I really wanted to create a manipulative that was more realistic.

      I like the idea of creating my own creation story and having overlays for other stories. That is a great idea! I have visions of those picture stories where pictures are used instead of words. I don’t know what they are called…I created this “gift message” for a great nephew as a Christmas present which is an invitation to spend time with us in Juneau this summer. But this same idea would be used to tell a creation story that is augmented with multimedia or other creation stories that would supplement or give a different perspective to my story.

      And to answer your last question, I guess I felt it important to create something for my great niece because I felt like the last time I spend anytime with her wasn’t enough and I wanted to create something that she might feel a connected us. When we were together we played together on the iPad so I was hoping in some small way to keep that connection going.

  6. Whoah. That creation stories idea is the coolest thing I’ve heard for this project so far. That’s a shame that you couldn’t get that to work – I bet if you (and by you, I mean, me in the future, because I’m stealing that idea) took the time to color-code each country/region etc, or maybe put a photo there, you could get it to trigger. You could structure entire units based on that exercise – and I really want to do that for a world literature and mythology course. You could make it huge and pass the globe-o-hedron around the room like a beach ball. It would be so much fun! Your project with your niece is cute, and I think that this is actually a pretty good idea. In an age with no real phones (I am not even old enough to know what they are called…you know, phones…um, with buttons, that are attached to the wall in the house. my mind is blanking on me. my mom had one?), a lot of people don’t even know that their phones have speed dial functions. Kids can use cameras though. Kids looove cameras – and if something happens and your kid needs to get ahold of you, this is a great way to do it. Lovely project.

    • Great idea for a beach ball size globe–that would definitely be more doing about then one that is printed out on a 8.5×11 paper. And once you set up the triggers you could definitely change out the overlays to represent whatever theme or era you wanted. It could also be used in a world history class to bring together world views of historical events and how countries/regions might have different world views.

      And I agree about kids and phones – it is amazing how young children are responding to swipe and pinch motions.

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