DTC students insert auras in WSU Vancouver anniversary timeline

The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” takes on new meaning with the Washington State University Vancouver 25th Anniversary timeline. The timeline, designed by the Creative Media and Digital Culture program at WSU Vancouver, implements a special kind of application that is accessible to practically anyone with a smart phone.

The application is called Aurasma and, according to the app profile, has origins dating back to 1996. A British software company called Autonomy, makers of high-end image recognition software used all around the world, designed a similar program for home computers, and in 2011, Hewlett-Packard purchased the company and began work on a smartphone app using the design paradigms. The Aurasma platform was launched in the summer of 2011, which was shortly adopted thereafter by many companies to insert augmented reality elements into their works.

Aurasma, which is available for download on iOS and Android platforms, captures information of an image — for example, the Mona Lisa. Then the user can select from a large library of animations to overlay on top of the captured image, such as a dancing moustache. Using the phone’s camera the application then searches for the same recognition points and overlays the graphic accordingly. When the audiences look through the lens of Aurasma at the Mona Lisa, she has a dancing moustache.

John Barber, a professor in the Creative Media & Digital Culture program explained how the timeline project came to be. “The university has long planned for its 25th Anniversary celebration,” Barber said. “Part of that planning was to envision engaging, immersive ways to tell and SHOW its story to people visiting for the day. The CMDC program developed the first interactive, digital, exhibit at OMSI using augmented reality, and then we developed similar applications for community development organizations. When the university sought volunteers to help plan and build the anniversary celebrations, we volunteered our experience and ability developing augmented reality applications.”

Aurasma is the application of choice because of “its ability to provide functionality and affordances needed/desired for the project” says Barber.

The Creative Media & Digital Culture program at WSU Vancouver has used this application to create an interactive timeline of the campus. Anyone who has downloaded the application will be able to view special information about the history of the WSU Vancouver campus that is not visible without Aurasma.

“CMDC students are creative,” says Barber, “but they are also very much engaged in social and community issues that contextualize their daily lives. They desire the opportunity, after graduation, to put their skills into practice, not only making a living, but making their world a better place. This project allows them the opportunity to put their skills toward solving a specific set of problems, building a solution to those problems within a very real time frame, and learning more about how to work in collaboration with others. These are all valuable skills for their future, and so I hope this project will prove to be an engaging learning experience, as well as point of pride for their careers at WSU Vancouver.”

The timeline will be on display in the quad on September 6 from 3-8 pm. For more information on the event visit vancouver.wsu.edu/timeline, and for more information on Aurasma, visit www.aurasma.com.








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