We have developed an Augmented Reality cover for Elearning! Magazine’s July/ August 2011 issue, making it the first-ever eLearning magazine to have an interactive cover using Augmented Reality technology.
» Have a computer with a working web cam
» Download the software via the links above
» Unzip the downloaded files
» Open the new application
» Once the application starts, hold the marker up to the web cam
» Enjoy the experience
Given our experience, understanding and capability of AR technology, Elearning! Magazine approached us for its special July/ August issue focusing on Augmented Reality. While AR is a technology in its infancy, it has huge potential for use in workplace learning. At Upside Learning, we have been experimenting a bit with AR technology to evaluate its best use in learning and training. So when Elearning! requested us to contribute to their AR special issue, it was a perfect opportunity to showcase some of our AR capability.
The main idea was to develop a cover for the magazine that introduced the readers to the real world uses of AR. It was also important that it illustrated the accessibility of AR in learning programs.
After initial discussions with the Elearning! team, the demonstration’s look and function were finalized. It was decided to create a marker that the magazine could print on its cover, which could then be held up to a computer camera and serve as the entry point into some interaction and media display. The idea was simple enough – hold up a marker, play/control a video using the marker, end with an interaction that plays videos of AR in action.
As the cover story was to highlight various disciplines wherein Augmented Reality could be used as a value add in effective learning, the final demo was to showcase three videos demonstrating practical AR applications in Manufacturing, Medical and Recruitment.
The application needed to include routines for camera hardware detection, marker recognition, video decoding and rendering, interaction using the marker, and an embedded browser object.
Hence, libraries offering appropriate functionalities were identified. For detecting the marker and its manipulation in space, FLARManager was chosen. While to create a 3D environment within which the videos could be rendered, PaperVision3D, a 3D library supporting Flash, was selected.
Once routines were working individually, they were integrated into a single application. The development platform was Windows XP, coupled with Flash CS4 and Flash Developer. For the Mac version, the codebase was simply moved to a Mac and recompiled followed by some bug fixing. Once the application was integrated and working on both platforms, the media elements were integrated into it.