How to Utilize Augmented Reality Apps to Enhance Innovative Presentations

By Ray Anthony, Barbara Boyd

Augmented reality (AR) apps enhance what you see and show you more. They can be a great addition to innovative presentations. AR apps insert virtual images in a real environment or give you more information about something you see, such as a video from the tourism board when you point your smartphone or tablet at an ad on the train into town.

AR adds a digital dimension to static print — sometimes it’s referred to as 4-D, in a nod to the conceptual fourth dimensional space.

One of the most common current uses of AR is in giving more information in the form of a video or 3-D image about something in a two-dimensional format. For example, after installing an augmented reality app on your iOS or Android smart device such as a phone or tablet, you can hold the device over a QR (Quick Response) code in an advertisement, and the ad comes to life.

[Credit: Illustration courtesy of Ray Anthony and Barbara Boyd]
Credit: Illustration courtesy of Ray Anthony and Barbara Boyd

The AR triggers aren’t limited to QR codes, however. Static images of just about any kind as well as locations can trigger an AR response. Pointing your device at a shoe ad at the bus stop may list addresses of nearby stores that sell the shoes, and moving your device over your feet shows you how the shoes would look on you.

Scan a movie poster to see the trailer, or a street in an unfamiliar city to see the names of nearby eateries and shops superimposed on the buildings you see on your device’s screen. You can project an image on your screen, and people in your audience can point their phones or tablets at this hot spot to activate AR.

In the not too distant future, AR apps will work with connected glasses such as Google Glass.

This type of AR app is known as an AR browser, which gives you options for applying augmented reality to your print advertising or brochures. With these apps, you scan a trigger image and then link a video, podcast, or an interactive 3-D image to the trigger.

People with an AR browser app on their devices can then point the device at the trigger image and automatically see the augmented reality information (the video or 3-D design). For example, the logo of your event could be the trigger image and when someone points his device at the logo, a video opens in which you talk about the event and invite him to sign up.

The following augmented reality browser apps work with iOS or Android devices. The user apps are free to download from the AppStore or Google Play; fees for storing your AR content vary from company to company.

  • Aurasma: An HP Autonomy product, Aurasma calls the trigger images Auras, which you then link to a video, web page, or 3-D image. When someone opens the Aurasma app on his device and then points the device at the Aura, the video, web page, or 3-D image appears.

    The Aurasma cloud stores Auras so after one is saved, anytime that Aura is displayed as a print or online image, it can be scanned and viewed. This means you can create Auras and then use them in your presentation handouts, brochures, print advertising, or your website.

  • Junaio: Junaio is the augmented reality browser for content created with metaio Creator (also available from the Junaio website). Like Aurasma, you create a trigger — usually a print image — upload a video, website, or 3-D image that connects to the trigger and then print your advertising or brochure.

  • Layar: With 35 million downloads, the Layar app seems to be the most popular AR browser, and the Layar Creator offers simplicity for the do-it-yourself version as well as custom solutions.

  • Ricoh Clickable Paper: You create the hotspots, such as print ads, brochures, or catalogs — anything printed — and link them to the augmented reality media stored on the Clickable Paper cloud. Your (potential) customers download the Clickable Paper app to their devices and then scan the hotspots to see the AR media. You get analytic information from the Clickable Paper cloud about which hotspots are most effective.