Fine Arts faculty tackles augmented reality in new installation

Paulo Majano and his second-year digital media students experiment with augmented reality using a new technology that can be accessed through an iPad or iPhone app. The installation will show in the Surrey library atrium starting Oct. 25.

By Kristi Alexandra
[culture editor]

Artwork by Paulo Majano

It’s 2011 and many still aren’t familiar with the idea of augmented reality.

The reality of it–no pun intended–is that the techonology has been around as early as 1957, when cinematographer Morton Heilig created and patented the Sensorama, a machine that simulated a multi-sensory experience (visuals, sounds, smell and movement) when a person would sit down to watch a film.

Heilig’s  initial film for the Sensorama simulated a bike-ride through New York’s Brooklyn, displaying “stereoscopic 3-D images in a wide-angle view, provide body tilting, supply stereo sound, and also had tracks for wind and aromas to be triggered during the film,” according to a Wikipedia article.

This experience was one of the first that introduced the idea of virtual reality. Forty-plus years later, the technology is still astounding and underutilized.
Kwantlen Fine Arts instructor Paulo Majano wants to change that.

He and his second-year interactive art and the web class are experimenting with augmented reality by creating art pieces that will trigger moving 3-D images when hovering an iPad, iPhone or Android smartphone or tablet over the image.

The technology works with a free app called Junaio, which, when connected to the right channel, shows overlayed digital information on a print or static image.
The image then becomes a multi-media experience.

“With some smartphones, you can point it at a street and you can see different signs pop up of things being advertised, like ‘there’s a café here’ or something. That’s one way that [augmented reality] is being used already,” says Majano.

“What we’re going to have,” Majano says of his digital media arts class, “is an exhibition of images–some people have books or magazines–when people download the app, they can use their iPod and point it at it and see what was used as an overlay to that.”

He explains that an image will trigger a video, and if used correctly, the image will begin to move on the page. He beams when describing some of the work that will show in the exhibit.

“One student is doing a photo of Chief Dan George and having an overlay of a video with modern-day native issues,” he says. “Others are doing things a little more playful. Someone is doing a lego scene and that scene becomes an animation. There’s quite a range of different things that people are doing.”

The Augmented Reality Festival will be displayed at the Surrey Campus Library atrium from Wednesday Oct. 26 to Friday, Nov. 4. An opening reception and demonstration will take place on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Try Augmented Reality yourself with the image above:

1 Download the free Junaio app for iphone, ipad 2 & ipodtouch or for Android Smartphone/Tablet
2 Open the app and SEARCH for the name of the channel: Capriccio
3 Click on the Channel and select SHOW IN LIVE VIEW
4 Point your phone camera to the image

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