If you are in the museum industry, chances are you have heard about augmented reality - the technology that has contributed to increasing the AR App industry spike in the educational app market.
In this post, AR technology provider, Wikitude, will share use cases and augmented reality features that can and are being used to enhance the overall visitor experience in museums.
Augmented Reality Features: what they are and how to use them in museums
Before breaking down each feature, a quick brief on the technology that enables them.
Augmented reality (AR) is the technology that allows digital elements (animations, videos, interactive links, text, 3D augmentations and more) to be layered on top of a visitor’s view of the real world, seen through smartglasses, tablets, and smartphones.
Recognize, track, and augment 2D images
Image recognition, also typically known as the go-to feature when the subject is AR, is one of the most used and versatile AR features today. Tested and approved by museums, this feature will most likely continue its ascent and expansion.
The AR experience starts when visitors scan a known image that is then recognized and tracked to seamlessly display digital content such as videos, 3D models, links and more, over the image in the user’s screen.
Image Recognition Museum Use Cases:
Augment museum labels (introduction, section and object labels, credit panels), ancient documents, paintings, panels, printed catalogs, brochures, information tags, interactive 2D material for promotional and educational purposes, magazines and more.
Even though Image Recognition is currently on the spotlight, there is so much more that can be done with augmented reality technology. Read on to learn more.
Recognize, track, and augment objects, rooms, and real-world environments
Soon after the success of Image Recognition technology, the market demonstrated a need to augment not only images but also 3D objects as well.
Objection Tracking, as the name suggests, can be used to create AR experiences around real-world structures and objects. Currently, this technology is most commonly used to augment machinery, toys, miniature models, products and more.
The natural development of augmenting images and then objects, soon lead to the ability to augment even larger structures - the feature known as Scene Recognition.
Scene Recognition is the ideal AR feature when the use case calls for augmenting building façades, and larger more elaborate scenes.
Object & Scene Recognition Museum Use Cases:
Augment statues, art pieces, ancient artifacts and relics, machinery, toys, miniature models and replicas, mappable specimens, skeletons, architectural elements of the installation itself, even superstars - or their wax versions at least.
Create geo markers to augment geographical points of interest
Geo AR is one of the first technologies that actually opened the path to all other existing AR features available today. In fact, over a decade ago, Wikitude was the first-mover to launch the very first location-based AR app.
Origin facts aside, since this AR feature is triggered by pre-determined geographical locations, professional developers can create AR experiences that happen around the exact position of the user. The most notorious Geo AR use case is Pokémon GO, the AR character hunting game.
Beyond the playful and interactive experiences that can be created around this feature, developers can also use location-based AR to augment useful content such as establishment reviews, prices, daily menus, ancient view of sites, general information of the museum or vicinity, public transportation schedules and stops, touristic guide directions and more.
Location-based AR Museum Use Cases:
Augment external gardens, monuments, fountains, elaborate building complexes, with directions, ticket prices, historical facts, building information, exhibition schedules, educational visiting reward games and more.
Reference: Northern France Experience
Detect, track, and augment surfaces, no marker needed
The ability to augment images, objects, world- scenes, and even geo locations give developers a lot of choices to work with when creating AR experiences. However, what if the use case is an awesome augmentation that should appear out of the blue, seamlessly integrated into the user’s field of view? The answer: Markerless AR, also known as Instant Tracking.
Thanks to a technology called SLAM, short for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, augmented content can be placed as if it were integrated into the physical environment by simply having the user point their device where they would like to place and view the digital augmentation. The environment will be recorded, mapped and understood by the SLAM algorithm which will then decide where and how to present the AR experience.
Instant Tracking Museum Use Cases:
Augment ruin sites to show structures in their full glory, place digital specimen models close to their fossilized counterparts (make them static, interactive or moving in accordance with their natural habits in life), create a fully augmented collection which visitors can view and share from anywhere be it in the field of art, history, culture, science, astronomy - you name it. The possibilities here are endless and can be tailored to the specific museum collection and needs.