Triangles and teapots: AR technology development

At the workshop led by Team SCARLET on 7th December, the Crafts Study Centre presented a rough demonstration of their AR development so far. The two key principles underpinning this work were (and continue to be):

  • ‘pedagogy before technology’;
  • and focusing on rough working prototypes rather than polished final product (at this stage).

Conversations and discussions with our lead academic have been central to the technical development work. Stages in the development process so far have included:

  • a basic AR ‘proof of concept’ (a single image appearing over the pattern) – just to make sure we could achieve something before taking this any further and potentially wasting time;
  • an interactive PowerPoint – used for discussion whilst we were waiting for technical requests to be responded to;
  • research into the Muriel Rose Archive – this was necessary to inform the content to be selected;
  • an A3 pencil sketch/brainstorm – before work on the digital version began;
  • and the working prototype presented last Friday.
The pattern, an image of the interior of The Little Gallery, presented in its archival box context.

The pattern, an image of the interior of The Little Gallery, presented in its archival box context.

Photograph of the CSC presentation on 7th December

Detail view of the working prototype showing 4 images (printed textile, glass, teapot, cutlery). Image courtesy of @team_scarlet

The working prototype was an attempt to begin to address our agreed three objectives with the lead academic:

  • augmented reality itself as a contextual framework in its own right
  • content (ceramics, metalwork and jewellery, glass, textiles) which students can themselves critically evaluate and thereby use to position their own practice
  • research methods – focusing on the role of the Crafts Study Centre and making this appear more accessible to students who may not consider visiting a museum or gallery
The 3 key things needed for technical development (excluding content and learning objectives)

The 3 key things needed for technical development (excluding content and learning objectives)

Technical challenges to produce the working prototype can be summarised in the following triangle diagram:

If a piece of the triangle is missing, it is an uphill challenge to develop AR. So far we have been able to borrow devices from external sources, and also borrow FTP access to a folder (from VADS) with intermittent problems with the eduroam Wi-Fi connection.

After Matt’s training workshop in October I finally had a level of understanding to be able to use the Junaio Quickstart GLUE tutorials; through following these step-by-step I was finally able to solve the mystery of the channel not validating (and the content not working). The answer to the puzzle was as subtle as adding “?path=” to the end of the callback URL (this was not required for either MIMAS or University of Sussex’s callback URLs).

Next steps…

  • Revisiting the working prototype to better consider the three objectives e.g. how are students going to be introduced to AR as a contextual framework and how will we test this
  • Meeting with students to test another iteration of the working prototype
  • Recording one or more videos to meet the objective about making the concept of visiting the CSC for research more accessible
  • If it fits with the continued development, then it would be good to integrate the Google Map (I created based on Kate Woodhead’s unpublished Muriel Rose thesis) with the AR technology – also so students didn’t feel limited to just ‘the room’ (or the interior of The Little Gallery)

One thought on “Triangles and teapots: AR technology development

  1. Pingback: Discovering augmented reality at UCA | SCARLET (Special Collections using Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching)

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