Augmenting Reality

I’ve been thinking a lot about “augmented reality” and will probably write a few more articles on the topic.  It really intrigues me.

I am boiling it down quickly here, but as I understand it, augmented reality (AR) is the layering of additional data (graphics, audio, video) on top of the “real world.”

This could be done through cell phone applications, special glasses, or through audio.  Here is a link to Ten Augmented Reality iPhone Applications.

Above: Example of an Theodolite AR application  by Hunter Research and Technology for getting more information about terrain.

But let’s bring the concept back to its roots. The simplest example I can think of is an audio tour in a museum.  You get (or purchase) an audio device that gives you a guided tour of the exhibits as you tour the museum.  A new layer of information augments your experience of the physical objects in the museum.  (The Bennington Museum, featuring the work of Grandma Moses, in Vermont does this using cellphones now.)

Now what happens when these types of augmentations become ubiquitous, easily-accessed, crowd-sourced and free-flowing?

More on this later, because I think augmented reality has practical applications in the field of teaching and learning.

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