Today was the second session of MicroMuseum. The first session focused all on science (microbiology). Today we flipped it and focused all on technology (augmented reality). And from here on out we’ll be combining the two.
After a challenging name game (using our Giant Microbes, of course) we ate ice cream. That’s right – ice cream! A certain frozen confectionery treat has an augmented reality component built into their lids. Properly aligning the app’s camera to the lid and watch a classical musician play a lovely tune while you wait for your ice cream to be soft enough to scoop.
While we ate our treat we talked about the experience. Why did the company make this AR app? How does it enhance (or not) your ice-cream eating experience? What if it wasn’t produced by a for-profit company but an indie artist virtually tagging these products with their virtual work – would we respond differently?
The first teen to try it out described her experience so clearly – first there was surprise, as why should she expect the musician to appear, and then she wanted to know more about what was happening, she was curious. We talked about how AR is a fun trick to capture someone’s attention and develop their need to know more. But with the ice-cream, what did we learn more about? Not much, actually. We just ate some ice-cream. But how can AR be used to capture people’s attention and get them to want to know more about… microbiology? That’s what this program is all about.
With iPad stations around the room, we split into groups and explored different ways museums have been using AR to enhance visitor’s on-site experience:
- Ultimate Dinosaurs, Royal Ontario Museum >>>
- James May Science Story App, Science Museum of London >>>
- China’s Terracotta Warriors App, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (2013) >>>
- Coral Rekindling Venus, (RKV) >>>
- Pterosaurs: The Card Game, AMNH >>>
We watched videos of other examples as well:
- BBC AR Event to promote release of Frozen Planet on DVD. AppShaker’s promo video is here:
- LayAR’s demo >>>
- AdDispatch’s demo >>>
- John Craig Freeman and Will Pappenheim demo of intervention at SF MoMA >>>
- Word Lens demo here >>>
- IKEA Catalog >>>
Finally, the teens ran their own AR ad agencies and got to work for their respective clients – different Giant Microbes! – using their AR ad campaigns to promote them. As we don’t have videos of their pitches, I want to challenge any of the participants reading this to share below in the comments what their group came up with (Be sure to describe or identify the client microbe, the AR user, the marker or trigger for the AR, and the augmented experience).
BONUS LEARNING OPPORTUNITY: (this is where we use this blog to talk directly to youth participants, but feel free to participate as well)
Before the next session read this recent article in Wired – “Save the Microbes” – and post a comment to this blog post with any thoughts or reflections you have about it.