Before starting on this module, I hadn’t experimented with augmented reality (AR) very much. I didn’t know much about it at all, and wasn’t even sure what the differences were between it and virtual reality. As I began my research, I learned that augmented reality allows users to see and interact with the real world while digital content is added to it, while virtual reality immerses users in a fully artificial digital environment.

As a explained in my previous post, I decided to focus on some of the helpful and educational aspects of AR. I chose to focus on two different apps, Google Translate and Star Walk.

The AR features of Google Translate can be extremely helpful for people visiting a foreign country, or for people who immigrate/move between countries. However, I learned through this project that there are definitely a lot of improvements that can be made. Google Translate is not good at translating any type of words/characters that are not in a font. For example, it works well with translating road signs or things online, but not with handwriting. This is illustrated in the pictures below.

The translation of a French poem
A “no parking” sign in Arabic
The translation is way off on this one

The top two pictures are different things that I found online and translated. The third picture is of a wall hanging that I have in my dorm. It was given to me by a Chinese college student last summer when I was volunteering in China, and it reads, “It is such a delight to have friends visiting from afar.” As you can see, the translation is way off, but there are a few words that were picked up on.

The other app I chose to focus on was Star Walk, which is a very fun and easy app to use. I went outside at night to take the picture below.

As you can see, this picture was taken using the apps AR feature. I thought this was really cool! I’ve tried to find constellations in the sky before, but I am never able to. This app allows anyone to go outside, look at the stars, and discover all sorts of interesting things. I think that this app is a great way to get people who might not be interested at just looking at the stars to spend some more time outside learning while using a modern technology.

Overall, I learned that there are many different uses for AR. I spent some time researching other ways that it can be useful, like encouraging engagement, raising awareness, and providing fun learning opportunities. I thought that this campaign in particular was a wondering example of the kinds of things that can be accomplished with augmented reality. I am excited to see where augmented reality goes in the future, and I am glad that I had this opportunity to learn more about it.