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Blog: Education

Promoting the Importance of Public Libraries with Augmented Reality

Chris Cameron August 24, 2015

The Reading & Writing Foundation (RWF), an organization based in the Netherlands, has recently used the Layar Creator to make use of Augmented Reality in its communications.

In an effort to raise awareness of the importance of public libraries as modern learning hubs, RWF has launched Public Libraries 2020 (PL2020). The project aims to spark a movement recognizing and supporting the contributions of public libraries, focusing on three areas: social inclusion, digital inclusion and lifelong learning.

This June, the organization launched the (e)publication “Libraries Change Lives”, a collection of interesting data insights and inspiring stories from libraries across Europe. The goal of the digital publication was to bring the importance of the work of libraries closer to both the public and the policy makers, and now RWF has published a print version complete with Augmented Reality features from Layar.

“This publication aims to bring alive the stories of some of the 100 million people who use library services in Europe every year. Adding the AR video functionality allowed us to bring their stories even closer to the readers,” said Ilona Kish, Public Libraries 2020 Programme Director at the Reading & Writing Foundation.

Readers can use the Layar App by scanning the pages of the book to access videos of individuals from all parts of Europe who share their experiences with public libraries. One features a man from Ireland who discovered his local library when he was looking to improve his digital skills. Another tells the story of a blind man from Bulgaria who was able to take technology training courses thanks to his library, greatly impacting his future.


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Spanish Students Create AR Science Posters with Layar

Chris Cameron December 22, 2014

The San Jose School in Valladolid, Spain is using Augmented Reality and the Layar Creator to help teach young students a multitude of important skills.

Nacho Herrero, ICT Coordinator for Primary Education at the school, recently made use of Layar to help engage kids in an education activity based around the various systems of the human body. The students, ages 9 to 10, created hand-crafted posters illustrating the functions of the systems with information gathered from searching the Internet.

They then used the Layar Creator to connect the information they found online – videos, photos, links, voice recordings, etc. – to the physical posters. By scanning the various posters from their class and others with the Layar App, they could discover more about the systems through AR and the Internet.

To see what the students created, try scanning some of the posters yourself. You can also read more about this project (in Spanish) at Nacho’s blog.


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Canadian University Enhances Recruitment Materials with Layar

Chris Cameron October 20, 2014

The University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, has started making use of Augmented Reality and Interactive Print to create an enhanced experience for potential students when viewing the school’s recruitment materials.

Scanning the pages of its latest recruitment marketing publication unlocks videos, photos and links about student life, residence, and tips for applying. It’s a great way for potential students to better engage with the materials and learn more about the school before applying.

“Our goal is to create a personal connection while demonstrating the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the University of Waterloo, and also provide a glimpse of campus, student life, and our strong academic reputation,” says Lisa Brackenridge, Manager of Digital Communications for the school’s registrar.

The idea to use Layar grew out of a class project in which Digital Arts Communications students worked with the school’s Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment Office on a class project to assess the existing self-guided campus tour. By gathering interviews, creating personas, prototyping and testing, the students developed cases for using Augmented Reality to add a new dimension to the print marketing assets.

“We used this as a spring-board to utilizing Layar to add a digital experience to our viewbooks and faculty brochures,” says Brackenridge. “At Waterloo, we are focused on experiential learning opportunities, and this turned out to be a learning opportunity for our students and our staff at the University.”

To add another level to their efforts, University of Waterloo created unique campaigns for users in the Ontario area and those outside of the area. For those in the area, many calls-to-action encourage users to visit for a campus tour, while those not in Ontario are urged to connect with a recruitment specialist.

“Augmented reality is the next advancement in experiential communication,” says Brackenridge. “By creating a link between our print and digital content, we hope to maintain a competitive advantage and reinforce the University of Waterloo’s innovative reputation.”

Click here to have a look at how the University of Waterloo has enhanced its recruitment materials and give it a try for yourself.


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Spanish Museum Takes a New Look at Neanderthals with Layar

Chris Cameron August 22, 2014

The Museo de la Evolución Humana (Museum of Human Evolution) in Burgos, Spain, has used Layar to create interactive postcards to promote a new temporary exhibit.

The exhibit, “Cambio de Imagen: Una nueva visión de los Neandertales” (Change of Image: A new vision of the Neanderthals) is a temporary showcase that features a new look at Neanderthals, including bones and artist illustrations.

“We want to do more things with these kind of technologies,” said Management and Communication technician Gonzalo de Santiago Salinas. “We think it is a good way to divulge the content of our museum, in our case, Human Evolution. We also want to be a modern museum and want to apply the latest technologies.”

The museum has produced an interactive postcard that it will hand out to visitors, as well as scientists at conferences and press members at events. By scanning the postcard, visitors can see a video in which Juan Luis Arsuaga, scientific director of the museum, explains the content of the exhibition. They can also access the museum’s program and social networks, or contact the booking center.

The interactive postcard has also been promoted on the museum’s social media pages.

The new exhibit has garnered significant press attention in Spain, thanks in no small part to the museum’s use of Augmented Reality to attract visitors. Give it a try yourself by clicking and scanning the image above!


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Exploring a City’s Past with Augmented Reality

Chris Cameron July 18, 2014

Over the years, one of the most common uses of Layar and Augmented Reality has been to look into the past with location-specific photographs or 3D models. Whether it’s the Berlin Wall, earthquake-damaged buildings in San Francisco or just a small town in a simpler time, AR is a great way to instantly travel back in time.

It’s in this same vein that the recently created ERA Girona experience was published as a Geo Layer on the Layar App. Those visiting Girona in Spain’s Catalonia region can use the layer to take a look into the city’s past by browsing for nearby historic photos.

The layer is part of the International Augmented Med program started by geographer Laura Olivas. It is funded in part by the European Union and by the Catalan government, and the city council of Girona agreed to allow the use of the photos. The name “ERA” is actually a clever play on words, as “era” means both a period of time in English, Spanish and Catalan, as well as “it was” in Spanish and Catalan. And of course, “RA” is the abbreviation for “Realitat Augmentada.”

More than 50 photos from the turn of the 20th century display Girona’s cultural heritage, including monuments, historical buildings and daily life. Users can search for “ERA Girona” in the Layar App to launch the layer. They only need to look around them with their phone or tablet to discover and view the nearby photographs.

Mouse over this image for an example.

“Every inch of Girona’s stones has plenty of history: the old town, the jewish quarter, the walls, the cathedral, etc,” the project says. “You don’t need Augmented Reality to feel the heritage of such a historical spot. But with ERA Girona, we have collected a series of old photographs, conveniently located along the city through points of interest, enriching your visitor experience letting you compare old photographs with the current status of the same spot.”

Mouse over this image for an example.

The project has gained the attention of the local media, inspiring a segment on a local TV news show and an article in a Catalan newspaper.


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