Augmented Reality Public Outreach Working Group

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ARPEO Working Group and Project Description

  Arizona State University will be involved in the development of a learning app prototype aimed to serve iDigBio's current education and outreach initiative while promoting broader impacts in connecting the public with biocollections.  The deliverable will be a custom set of interactive Augmented Reality (AR) Flashcards for as many as 15 NSF ADBC Thematic Collection Networks (TCNs). 
  The project will serve to benefit the ADBC program and iDigBio's E&O goals in communicating the importance of specimens (used for research or other activities) to the public, as follows. (1) Engaging and reaching wide audiences in an impactful way via new and immersive 3D technologies.  (2) Opportunities to link-in to additional content about specimens and specimen data (served up, e.g., by the iDigBio Portal or by TCN's website) via interactive buttons that will appear in the AR interface allowing users to access further specimen data and content.   (3) All TCN E&O coordinators will be engaged in a shared and collaborative activity in the development of a learning tool. (4) The project may serve as a complement to existing citizen science programs with the potential of the Flashcards serving as collector trading cards which students or citizen scientists can collect after reaching certain milestones. 

More broader goals will be to:

– Explore the potential of 3D/AR technologies as they relate to the enhancement of learning and in serving broader impacts. Secondly we will take steps to align with NIBA/BCoN’s Goal 6 which calls for the integration of specimen-based learning and exploration into formal and informal education while promoting accessibility of digitized specimen data to K-20 students and underrepresented groups

Augmented Reality Defined

Augmented reality is the process of overlaying digital information over the real world by viewing through a device such as a mobile phone, iPad, or a desktop webcam. It has been very popular in the advertising world but there is little known as to its benefits in education.

The following video demonstrates the basic function of the desktop version

Photogrammetry Techniques

The digitization process is a multi-faceted approach that takes into consideration the unique characteristics of each specimen to acquire highly accurate and precise models. This process helps to reduce the level of artistic bias while working with each model.

Photogrammetry methods is based on techniques that allows the capability to capture fine detail that approaches the realm of microscopy in some instances. To fully capture a specimen in high detail 60+ images and a 360° degree rotation of the specimen is required in order to create a mesh.

3D imaging of biocollections in the scientific community has largely been associated with expensive microCT Scans ( which is created by slicing an object based on material density measured by X-ray transmissions. Although this can provide scientists with important measurable information about structure and morphologies they do not retain color and external texturing which is needed in taxonomy and species identification.

      • NEXT STEPS***

Now that the Android/iOS apps have been released plans are underway in starting a dialogue on the scaling and expansion of the LoL app and cards. discuss the below proposed agenda and in establishing specific tasks.

A special thanks to Becky Hansis-O'Neill (ISU), Robert Schlader (ISU), Leif Tapanila (ISU), and Katelin Stanley (FSU) for their contributions.

Goal 1: Developing a collaborative inter-institutional 3-D portal for the scientific and educational exchange of specimen-based digital assets and their data in an open environment. This may involve establishing potential collaboration with an industry partner which a few have already been identified.

Goal 2: Create a way for teachers to easily and quickly implement 3-D resources in their classrooms at no cost.

Goal 3: To explore sustainability methods that would allow us to scale when thinking of the development and maintenance of a repository that will serve the general public.

Goal 4: A task team to explore how might we integrate this technology with existing learning resources and materials that might already be in use in various TCN programs?

Goal 5: Surveys and pre and post assessment tools are needed to assess specific target groups who are currently implementing the technology/ LoL app.

Goal 6: Research goals in addressing how might immersive technologies address specific learning needs in specific high risk target learners.

Goal 7: To further align current LoL content with NSTA criteria. The deadline for a workshop proposal at NSTA is April 15th.

References and Resources'

InsectAR Prototype

3D technology and natural history museum collections

Research on benefits of 3D in education Significance of AR in cognition and contextual learning

Ottway, Tom. Augmented Reality and ELT. Retrieved from blog 3/3/14

The application and use of 3D Insects in research

Nguyen , Chuong. :Lovell, David, Oberprieler, Rolf, Jennings, Debbie, Adcock, Matt, Gates-Stuart, Eleanor, La Salle, John 2013, “Virtual 3D Models of Insects for Accelerated Quarantine Control” Retrieved from

NIBA/BCoN Resources

3D Repositories

The potential of AR in distance education