As technologies develop, the interaction and interplay between the physical world and the digital world become more enmeshed. Certainly, this is an area of continual development and exploration in exhibition design – in particular in dealing with what has traditionally been 2D graphics. Recently there has been a proliferation of moving away from physically printed panels to providing digital touch panels that take advantage of what the digital medium can provide.
A twist that suggests a different approach, or one that offers interesting differences, is the new system generated by Fujitsu Laboratories , which is an augmented reality user interface.
How this might be used in an exhibit/exhibition medium is a fascinating thought. Rather than incorporating a light-emitting screen, one could still create physical graphics that have a hidden overlay of depth or could be sampled to a “digital scrapbook” without the need for any screen. In addition, the idea of other printed material, of physically built material, or even artifacts having direct interplay with such a system is exciting to contemplate. From a design perspective,
what is nice about this approach is the clarity and simplicity of the interface and the design, as well as the invisibility of the technology with the physical object.
Finally, it also turns around the whole augmented reality approach. Rather than the added information requiring viewing on a digital device, it instead becomes part of the very physical object one is manipulating.
Today one of the very first sessions at the 2012 AAM conference focused on the emerging use of augmented reality in the museum setting. This was both in inside facilities as well as outside locations including parks, historical sites and zoos.
Several observations from the presentations today:
- When you think of AR don’t be focused only on 3D models that appear on a screen (mobile, tablet or monitor) which can be rotated in three dimensions. Rather think models, video, data and other information provided from either gps and or visual sensing location determination.
It’s the info cloud that is accessible at a certain place.
- Today programming across multiple platform iOS and Android is problematic. The holy grail is to make it BYOD (bring your own device) so this is important. It poses the question of equal access of content to all. What if you don’t have a device? What it the content doesn’t work on your device?
- It appears the major “nut to crack” is how to have AR not remove you from the real object or process. How does it really augment it? No one wants people just staring at more screens. A great deal of work remains to solve this issue. Not mentioned today was did people learn more or improve their experience emotionally or in other qualitative ways.
- Something to consider is where and how the visitor acquires the app to use the AR if they are using their own device. You can’t depend on them downloading it before they arrive. It appears that having wifi is critical – not just or only cellular service.
- Finally already the move is to match AR with game experiences.