We are living in the future. While this future doesn’t (yet) look like what the Jetson’s or other popular shows and movies imagined with flying cars and personal, full-service robots, computer technologies have advanced to a point where everyday users of smartphones can augment, or enhance, the real world around them, blurring the line between reality and the virtual world. This futuristic technology may seem like something out of a science fiction but it has become more common than you might think-you’ve probably even used it before.
Augmented reality (AR), which is a type of mixed reality as opposed to being completely virtual, made its debut in the early 1990s but it wasn’t until the last decade or so that the emerging technology fell into the hands of the masses. Some examples that you may be familiar with are image filters available on nearly every smart phone and social media app, games like the (once) popular Pokemon Go, and Google Sky
Maps. All of these applications can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone or tablet, much of the time for free. They work by capturing reality through a familiar medium, the camera lens, and adding a layer or layers of media such as text, images, video, and audio. These features enhance the users experience by creating a more complex, often entertaining or educational experience.
The Arne Nixon Center is excited to announce that a Fresno State graphic design class has offered to enhance the collaborative community mural’s reality through AR. Jennifer Crow, curator of the Arne Nixon Center, recently met with the class who gave a presentation on their proposed ideas for the virtual aspect of the mural design. They have brainstormed ideas, created a storyboard, planned out the three phases and are currently in the process of developing the basic models and illustrations of the items that will be augmented through the various software they will be using.
If you take a look at the mural design you can imagine some of the augmentations they are planning. Informational text about the illustrator and the conception of the mural will be implemented. Music will also be added for an auditory experience. The most enhancements will occur to the art which will be animated throughout. The faces will blink, the star, sun, and moon will pulsate, the book’s pages will turn. These are just some of the plans at this time as the class is in the early stages of development. While the mural will be finished on May 11, these technological enhancements will not be available until the end of the year as it is a two semester project. I suppose the future will have to wait.