Thursday, 5 February 2015

Augmented Reality (AR) - introduction to Aurasma

Have you heard of a really cool app called “Aurasma”? I used to be one the unfortunate souls who had no idea about the magic of Aurasma, until Jim kindly stepped in and enlightened me. So one cold December afternoon Jim calls me into his classroom as he has something to show me. He tells me to point his iPhone at a large drawing of Father Christmas on the wall. I was dumbfounded by what followed, I suspected witchcraft. The drawing came to life as an animated version of Santa popped up on the screen and began singing. After racking my brains, all I could muster was “How?” Jim, looking quite smug my reaction, then proceeded to fill me in on the magic of Aurasma.

The secret to Aurasma is that there are 2 key components; a video overlay and a trigger image. The video overlay can be anything you want, something you have recorded on your phone, any video format created through another app such as SockPuppets or ChatterPix Kids, even record something on the fly directly through Aurasma. Simple. On the other hand, setting up a trigger image can be a little trickier, especially if the resolution on your older phone camera isn’t up to scratch. The app is rather clever and is able to recognise images/drawings/patterns, and can then store them in its memory to be used as a trigger. Through experimentation, and getting fed up with spending more time than I would care to admit waving my iPhone around without much success, larger images with distinct outlines and plenty of colours helps with the recognition process. Having a steady hand doesn’t do any harm either.

Once you have prepared your overlay and set your trigger image, the final step is to combine them. Once you have made an “Aura”, you have the choice of making it private, which will only allow your phone to view your Auras, or public, which will enable followers of your Aurasma profile to access your content, as long as they have your Aura trigger on hand.

Now that you’re up to speed with Aurasma, you might be starting to form some ideas yourself on how to implement it into a learning environment. It was on the forefront of our agenda for a while too, and thanks to a bright spark idea from the man himself (Jim), we found a pretty cool way to show off our students’ work. His idea? Well, what I can tell you that is that you should tune in next week, where I will reveal our big idea to make Luna a truly interactive school. Watch this space! For the time being you can have a sneak preview of one our Auras starring Taisei.