Augmented Reality (AR) can be used to be informative, entertaining and educational. So far AR has predominately been used to create filters for applications such as Snapchat, but more companies are combining different technologies to create something new. AstroReality are using AR to create interactive posters and notebooks – similar to how Shazam and Blippar use AR for branded campaigns. However AstroReality are also combining 3D printing with AR, creating for some very interactive features. VRFocus takes a look at the app, AR Lunar Notebook and AstroReality Mini Set.
Sadly the AR Lunar Notebook didn’t work because an error kept appearing when trying to download the right product inside AstroReality’s app. However the AstroReality Mini Set did work, so here are the steps you need to take:
Step 1: The first thing that you need is the AstroReality app which can be downloaded on the App Store for iOS phones or the Google Play Store for Android phones.
Step 2: Unpack your product, or mini planet and place it on top of the marker.
Step 3: Inside your product (in this case the AstroReality Mini Set), you will find a little leaflet with information on how to set up. On the last page you will find a sticker with a code. Scan it.
Step 4: Wait for AstroReality app to download the mini planet and click on it when fully downloaded.
Step 5: Click the mini planet, i.e. Mercury, and hold your smartphone 20cm away from the planet.
Step 6: Wait for it to scan the planet, press go and adjust appropriately. Click next until you see a pop-up saying ‘saved’.
Step 7: Move your smartphone around the planet to interact with it.
The AstroReality Mini Set includes nine planets. It’s important to note that the planets are not printed to scale. So when comparing planets to each other – they are not realistic in size comparison to real life.
The app sometimes didn’t work and required a restart. Be very careful when moving the 3D printed planet; it’s better to physically move your smartphone around the object. For the purpose of the below video, I moved the 3D printed planet and accidentally dropped one or two. I also tried changing the shape of the planet when scanning it, and this seemed to have a bad effect on scanning – so scale to proportion.
A great way for space enthusiasts to interact with planets, as well as for students to learn more – it shows great potential for future educational classrooms.
It would have been nice to get more information about the planets when loading the app, whether it be through audio or interactive pop-ups. It would also have been a benefit to see where the other planets were situated in comparison to the 3D planet you’re scanning. Having a sturdier way of holding the planet will be more useful for classrooms as well as workshops and prevent the 3D model from getting damaged, and your smartphone can only be a certain distance from the object for it to work, otherwise tracking is lost. This is a little tricky at first, and would seem better with a bigger 3D printed object rather than a small 3D printed planet.
AstroReality does sell Lunar Pro, which is a larger sized 3D printed moon which is more informative because of it’s size, and may also be working on more educational 3D printed objects that delve into physics and biology. Having a 3D printed object of molecular cells would be a great way to showcase and learn in classrooms. To see the hands-on analysis watch the video below, and for all the latest from AstroReality stay right here at VRFocus.