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Source: Pinterest 

The first things that come to mind when hearing buzz terms such as Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality are:

1-Hardcore gaming

2-Expensive equipment

But we are here to tell you about interesting aspects of Augmented Reality or AR that may change your mind on how you would use this technology in your own context.

The increasing complexities of our world and technological advances in general called for more transformations that change how we experience and see things around us. Stories, book covers and even scientific researches need to adapt to this change, and be more engaging and accessible. And thus, came a beneficial disruption in the form of Augmented Reality that is added as a layer to the already existing product at hand, whether this product was a book, a greeting card, a sculpture in a museum, or a scene in a play.

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Source: fiverr.com 

Other terms that come along more frequently with Augmented Reality are: Virtual Reality, Holographics. To clear it up, changes are slight:

- On virtual reality or VR, the real world environment is completely replaced. A computer is simulating an entire world, that is then projected to the screen embedded to the head unit you are wearing. You are transported to a different world. You are not really there, only virtually.

- While in augmented reality or AR, reality is mixed with elements from other fictional worlds. AR partially alters how you see the world by adding layers to it. Remember Pokémon Go? That was AR, not VR. Well, you can also think of Snapchat filters as an AR example.

IKEA ‘s use of AR helped in making assembly of their furniture pieces easier, so you don’t need to go through the lengthy manuals. Many other big names like Coca Cola and L’Oréal have incorporated AR into their campaigns to bring a different and unique experience to their customers.

The two technologies, AR and VR, are not necessarily used in separate styles. Both can be combined. Many fields can benefit from AR, to mention a few: urban exploration, history, education and storytelling. Let’s explore how:

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Souce: consagous.com

1- Encouraging urban exploration.

With the help of Augmented Reality, mobile apps for traveling, exploring cities and discovering new areas of interest became the trend. AR is used with other technologies such as computer vision, GPS, and Visual Inertial Odometry or OVI that analyzes camera images to determine object position. All combine to provide more accurate mapping than the usual maps apps. In addition, 3D arrows and pop-ups with texts are there explaining information about buildings and spaces within the camera spot of your phone as you walk. You can also select a specific location, if you want to learn more about it.

Getting to your destination in a new city you have just been to has never been easier! Maps will turn you down, but trust me, AR won’t!

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Source: Blippar

2- AR with history – more connection to the past

AR has also been used in some museums such as the British Museum, National Museum of Singapore, and in many museums across China, in an attempt to deliver a unique historical experience. What you do is simply hold your phone to the painting or work of art, and then the attached information will show. There will be no need for guidance or brochures that may distract you from indulging solo with the art in front of you.  

3- Education

Conventional learning processes have been disrupted with AR as well. Governments of countries such as China, UAE and France began to believe more in AR’s ability in advancing training and education, especially for younger students. With AR kids are able to immerse in educational experiences that could have been too difficult or dangerous for them in the classical settings, in addition to more 3D-visualized ideas and concepts which will ease communicating them.  

Next generation leaders are already rocking it.  

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Source: ReBlink - Art Gallery of Ontario 

4- Storytelling

Technical advances can inspire writers, videos and film-makers and content-creators in general. In an age where we get easily distracted with a declining and distorted attention span and oodles of options that can overwhelm us, comes the challenge of creating more engaging content. A redefined unconventional experience can be the answer.

Storytelling combined with AR can be a powerful tool to bring ideas to life and produce more enriched content and experiences. Starting from simple greeting cards that are brought to life with the help of AR, to authors using AR to tell interactive stories. AR offers endless possibilities.

With AR computing platforms, you don’t need to learn coding to do it. Platforms such as Augment and Metaverse make this job easier. These technologies are quite experimental, and there is always a room for a new cool idea to reveal itself.

Conclusion

A medium that brings to the table different ways of experiencing our local stories has the power to make them more engaging, evoke emotions such as sympathy and understanding, and invite us to rethink the kinds of content we want to communicate through these tools.

Technology advancement is increasing, and thus, the distance between the readers’ perspective and the storyteller’s perspective is shrinking. Visiting national Sudanese museums, exploring abandoned buildings and historical sites can be more exciting with AR. Similarly, educational experiences in local schools and kindergartens can also get more appealing and thought-provoking at an early age if such technologies are employed.

Digitizing our experiences – as intimidating and dystopian as this might seem at first- is a means to add more texture to the humane sense of an already existing and familiar context.

Andariya is collaborating with Tusitala, a Singapore based e-publishing and VR/AR storytelling enterprise to create digital stories using these technologies. The project is part of the South-South Media Lab organized by IceBauhaus and IceAddis connecting Asian and African digital storytelling platforms to exchange ideas and co-create projects.
 


Tagwa Warrag

Tagwa Warrag studied computer science and IT at Sudan university. She is interested in books, artificial intelligence, sometimes security, art (specifically cartoon drawing), and the German language.