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Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a hot topic in tech, and for good reason. The technology allows viewers to expand their views of the world around them and explore new environments. We’ve already seen examples of how libraries are taking advantage of augmented reality from the augmented reality library orientation by University of Houston-Downtown to the Mythical Maze summer reading challenge.

People’s love of AR is undeniable – just look at the popularity of augmented reality games like Pokemon GO and Ingress, and there’s nothing quite like seeing a dinosaur in your local park! What you may not know is that you can use AR technology in your library absolutely free in less than five minutes.


Daqri |  Apps |  Create Your Own AR


The easiest place to begin is with DAQRI’s apps.  They’re free to download for both Apple and Samsung devices, and are as easy to use as printing out a few pieces of paper and viewing them through the app.

Earlier Years

Enchantium |  Crayola


Elements 4D chemistry blocks |  Anatomy 4D

Elements 4D Chemical Reaction Mode

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Additional apps

Octagon Studio have a number of apps that pair with flashcards and bring dinosaurs, animals occupations, cars and space to '4D' life.

The Google Translate app enables users to view text and signage through their smartphone and have it instantly translated into 30 different languages – perfect for cultural and linguistically diverse communities.

Create your own content

Once you’re comfortable using AR apps, you can start using your own content – text, images and video – to build unique AR experiences into your library space. HP Reveal (previously known as Aurasma) is a free app that allows you to snap an image of an object and then choose or create your own content that will appear for anyone using the app to explore your space.

Apps such as HP Reveal can also be used in creative ways to assist literacy and promote the joy of reading. Activities such as these examples run by Davyhulme Primary school in the United Kingdom, show how students can use Aurasma to proactively produce Augmented reality projects to assist their fellow pupils with literacy skills through DIY Reading with Augmented Reality experiences, or combining Aurasma with apps such as iMovie and Tellagami Edu, produce AR book reviews to help their friends find their next great read. These activities would adapt seamlessly to the library environment as an awesome project for after school kids book clubs or other library activity groups to undertake to share with the wider library membership.

If you’re more dedicated to AR, there’s also paid software like Wikitude and Zapcodes that combine a computer-based creation program with a free viewer app that allow you to assemble more complex creations and collections.

Try creating an augmented reality scavenger hunt, curate an augmented reality exhibition, or add multimedia content to a timeline of photographs.  Imagine hosting a Mother’s Day program to create cookbooks from mum’s favourite recipes complete with video clips of mum doing the cooking, or a scrapbook that comes to life by holding your smartphone over the images.  The possibilities are endless!

Last updated
12th January 2018