By TIM CLEVELAND
With technology advancing all the time, Austintown library hosted an event called Tech Knowledge on July 9 dealing with Augmented Reality, a type of virtual reality which companies are taking advantage of to help promote their products.
“Tonight I’m going to do a little presentation talking about what Augmented Reality is, showing some examples so you can find on the internet,” Austintown library digital services librarian Sara Churchill said. “The rest of the program is letting people use their mobile devices to download the various free apps.”
The companies’ apps act in place of QR codes. Customers attach them to a web site or image. Perhaps the biggest AR companies are Daqri, which has apps Anatomy 4D and Aurasma. Anatomy 4D displays the human anatomy in 4D detail, while Aurasma allows mobile devices to publish users’ augmented content.
The USPS has also used Augmented Reality.
“During Christmas season, postal service worked with Blippar using its boxes,” Churchill said. “When you scan a package, you get a little mail truck circling a ginger bread house.”
Churchill said she didn’t know anything about AR before this year.
“This summer is the first time I started doing the programs,” she said. “I actually didn’t know much about Augmented Reality until I went to a technical symposium that was done by NEO Today in January.”
Churchill added that the symposium dealt with other technology that will be showing up in libraries in the future.
“I just thought it was really fun when I learned about it in January,” she said. “The Summer Reading Program theme this year is science oriented, so I thought this technology with the AR is perfect for the summer reading theme. Let’s see if we can get some kids, teens and adults to come to the program and learn about it.”
Churchill’s mother, Jean Churchill of Austintown, attended the Tech Knowledge event. She said she was seeking to learn more about AR.
“My daughter’s having the program and I’m interested in trying to learn more about what you can do with computer images and things like that,” Jean said.
Sara Churchill said the AR apps can also be used to help educate very young children.
“It’s a lot of fun, it’s educational,” she said. “There’s flash cards that you use with children where it’ll help them learn the alphabet. You’ve got the picture of the letter and with the app you put the image into the camera’s view, then you tap the image, and it’ll say A alligator, B for beaver. It’ll say it out loud to the child.”