MicroMuseum, Session 2: Augmented Ice Cream

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.

About Barry

The Associate Director For Digital Learning, Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History.
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9 Responses to MicroMuseum, Session 2: Augmented Ice Cream

  1. Nahide says:

    This article states many good reasons why antibiotics are not always the answer although we want to cure diseases that we are facing today. Many people think antibacterial hand sanitizers protect us against bacterial diseases, but they actually destroy beneficial microorganisms that we need. They might also increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics in some harmful bacteria. So in this case, we should minimize the use of antibiotics as much as we can.

  2. Edwin C. says:

    This program is amazing. Many new experiences have been brought upon the class. I have enjoyed working with oversized microbes, specifically yeast which is used to make bread and beer. Me and my partner came up with a pitch that involved making an AR more interactive. For example, one might tap an IPAD repeatedly to make bread rise and huge letters can come up and say The Power Of Yeast…. I enjoyed the first two sessions and look forward to the rest of this program.

  3. Cherie says:

    Looking at all these AR programs was so much fun. I had no idea that Haagen Daz was starting to put QR codes that advanced on their ice cream. I’ve been thinking a lot about the future of this technology as well as the consequences of it. Will there ever be too much AR in the world? I also wonder why it might be preferential to other immersive technologies like google glass. In any case I think that it will be really fun to work on the culminating project and I’m really excited to show my sister it for example.

  4. Yao J. says:

    I didn’t know there is so many fun app in this world before I went to this program . I also be inspired by those app , then I have a thought on what my app for microbiology . This app is designed for teenagers. You can download it in App Store for your iPad /iPhone . Once you open the app , a lovely micro organism would pops up .” Hi~ I ‘m XX” People. Who like to take selfie won’t be happy if they miss this app : while you taking the selfie , the microorganism would make cute faces ! Also , you can keep it as your pet . You can enter its home by hitting the right bottom corner of the screen . Teenager can learn how they born , what they live on and other more information while keeping it as pet .

    For the article :
    I think everything has its both side . For example , if I have 50 cans of coke everyday , by the end of the year , I might die from diabetes. Yes , the coke is tasty , but if I drink it too much , my body must go wrong . Same way as the use of antibodies . You might think ” wow , the antibiotic really work !” After it cure your seasonal flu , so every time you have a cold , you take antibiotic without thinking . After a period of time , your body must go wrong . So the best way to protect your body is to keep everything in balance .

  5. Alejandro says:

    In the session on Wednesday, the sales pitch revolved a lot of about the experience of the user, it mainly focused on what the audience felt and saw. For the sales pitch of my group, the microbe was bacteriophage and the pitch revolved around having the microbe destroy a bacteria just to show what it can do. As for the article, we need microbes in our body to make it function, we aren’t complete without them. Antibiotics should only be used when all other options have been done. It can harm the body and kill off the microbes we need the most.

  6. Joshua says:

    Overall, “Wired” relates to a biological dilemma I have discussed in my AP Environmental class. Once I realized the topics similarity, I was immensely impressed. From prior knowledge, I knew that antibiotics aren’t entirely beneficial to our bodies. However, I was completely unaware that antibiotics are slowly killing microbes that are essential to human life. This is increasingly concerning since most of American livestock are fed and treated with antibiotics before human consumption.

  7. Brianna says:

    On Wednesday’s session I learned a lot of new things, especially augmented reality. I never knew about augmented reality and by seeing how an app can make everything a better experience was really cool. My partner, Yao, and I created a pitch about anthrax. At first we didn’t have a clue on what we should do and as we presented it was more of an improvisation. However we pulled through and came up with an app that showed our organism, anthrax, in a more fun yet educational way.

  8. Daniela says:

    The class session on thursday was a completely new experience for me. I hadn’t really had much interaction with augmentrd reality until then. I learned that it is a creative way to capture the targeted audience’s attention. My partner, Mickey, and I had to come up with a pitch for the microbe Measles. We came up with an educational yet fun experience for the client.

  9. Funke says:

    Microbiologist feels that antibiotics are driving microbes even the good and bad away.

    He says that it causes over 80% of stomach cancer in cases concerning isn’t a bit to soon say that because its found in healthy people maybe its not so bad. Couldn’t it be able to become active eventually. Isn’t better to have asthma then cancer. (Helicoter pylori bacterium)

    If were in the early days of discovery isn’t it to soon to say that all bacteria that antibiotics are killing all the good bacteria.

    I think he makes a valid point by pointing out that doctors are quick to prescibe antibiotics instead of just waiting a day or two see if the problem has been solved, many of these bacterias that the antibiotic has no intent of killing will end well dead, when the bacteria could have been utilized to prevent and lower the chances of.

    I think I agree with him, but their are many if’s in his theory or stance which may make it hard for his idea to actually supported and really looked at.

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