An exciting augmented reality project is running and this autumn you can get involved in a user trial.
What is PalaeoGo?
PalaeoGo! is a project funded by BU via its Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) that aims to show how augmented reality (AR) can be used as an educational tool at natural history museums, natural parks and in any open space or landscape.
The PalaeoGo! team is running a major user trial in the autumn of 2018. Over eight weeks this autumn, they are looking for help from staff and students to test and develop their ideas. You will have access to a test app in addition to resources that you can use with your friends and family. Participants are encouraged to play with, and learn from the app during the trial, providing feedback at the end.
The test app has been developed to explore different ways of delivering AR content and focuses on extinct megafauna, from Jurassic dinosaurs to Ice Age mammoths. Augmented reality uses a smartphone camera and overlays it with information, in this case to bring extinct megafauna to life! With PalaeoGo! you can take a selfie with a T-Rex, swim with a Mosasaur and Megalodon, or walk with an Ice Age mammoth.
This project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between computer animators, computer scientists and natural scientists. The project is led by Peter Truckel, Marcin Budka and Matthew Bennett.
How long is the trial?
The trial will run for two months and the app will update on 1 November, adding in two additional beasts to play with and changes to the functionality. The trial will end on 30 November 2018 when the team will ask you for feedback.
Please share your selfies and images on Twitter using @Palaeo_Go!
How do I take part in the trial?
To join the trial, visit the PalaeoGo! website and provide your email address alongside details of your phone make and model by 21 September. You’ll also find a Participant Information Sheet which gives you more details on the study and an Agreement Form that asks you to consent for the PalaeoGo! team to use your feedback anonymously in their work and to keep your email on file for the duration of the trial. Members of the team will contact you directly with everything you need for your particular smartphone.
What is the purpose of the trial?
The use of AR is increasing and the PalaeoGo! team see it as an important way of promoting natural heritage whether in museums, national parks or civic open spaces. Museums all over the world are experimenting with the use of digital assets to enrich the visitor experience and increase public engagement and augmented reality is one of the technologies at the forefront of this digital revolution. With BU's National Centre for Computer Animation, we are ideally placed to participate in this revolution - it is the quality of the animations that makes an AR experience. Museums and parks need to know how to get people to keep using AR apps and how to embed educational content so they are more than simple gimmicks. This lies at the heart of the PalaeoGo! project - they aim to build a body of best practice for the community. They also hope to position BU as a leading provider of such experiences in the future.
The test app may never be released, but by joining the trial you can get a preview of what such apps could be like and your input could help shape the team’s thoughts and those of other organisations looking to use AR.
What will the results be used for?
The research team will write up the results of the trial in a series of academic publications focusing on best practice in using AR in promoting natural heritage. They will also use the feedback to shape their next generation app and its deployment at a number of museums and national parks which are scheduled over the next 12 months. All user feedback will be anonymous but they will use images posted on social media to help promote their work.
If you have any queries please contact [email protected].