Who knew? Augmented Reality brings Emerge to digital life

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Who knew? Augmented Reality brings Emerge to digital life

The Emerge exhibition in Ara’s Visions Restaurant (12 – 15 November) will at first look like a collection of posters about clever apps. However, there is more to this exhibition than first meets the eye.

Who knew? David Weir did, actually. The Bachelor of Information and Communication Technologies (BICT) degree programme course coordinator knows a lot about the digital world and after explaining why people with long hair are not usually models for digital humans (more on this later), he explained how Emerge really works.

“The Emerge event is to give the final year Bachelor of ICT students the opportunity, having completed their semester of project work, to actually encapsulate in a poster with Augmented Reality (AR) embedded in it, what they have done with the last 14 – 15 weeks of their lives.”

(L-R) James Darley, Renee Li, Rochelle Wilson and Graham Parker are just some of the BICT students who have working on awesome apps for industry partners and will show off the results at the Emerge exhibition.

This is how it works: Images on the posters are triggers that reveal AR content such as videos or further information. To ‘read’ the trigger, viewers simply download the app ‘HP Reveal’, search for the name of the content channel and follow it, and then the phones read the triggers.

“Eventually, some project work we are thinking about is having real physical objects being triggers. So we could build a tour of the Ara campus and people can point their phone at objects, with the application open on their phone, and as soon as it sees something that looks like a trigger it will bring up content that explains more about what they are looking at.”

AR is not the point, really...

To the non-technical, this AR aspect sounds impressive, however it is a tiny part of what the Ara ICT students have actually been up to and is simply a way to bring their work to life, using a 2D poster as a base.

Awesome projects (three of many)

Bachelor of ICT student Graham Parker, for example, worked with Cerebral Fix, the totally under-the-radar Christchurch gaming company that lists Disney, Mobilityware, Within and VMC amongst its clients. Cerebral Fix did not arrive at this level by sitting back on their laurels. They are an agile company, looking to continuously improve their services, so they invited Graham to do some work placement magic. He devised a way to improve their software update unit testing system and that made them very happy.

Rochelle Wilson, pulled off a similar feat at Wild Software - whose founder Steven Wild was once the head of ICT at Ara (then CPIT), by the way. Wild have a product called Chreos and, being for the e-commerce sector, it is robust and secure, which basically prioritises security over speed. Rochelle found a way to optimise CREOS so that it updates the dashboard in real time. That made Wild very happy.

One more example is James Darley and Renee Li’s work for 2IQ on an app called HospoIQ, which uses the PowerBI platform to show clients data about their financial performance. Thanks to the Ara students, clients can embed this information into their own internal website rather than go into the 2IQ platform, making viewing data quicker and more integrated. In the hospitality space, where margins are tight, and good data is essential, this function is valuable. 2IQ are? Yes, happy.

Under the radar

Amit Sarkar is the Academic Supervisor of these students and quite a few others and his industry connections ensure that students engage in real world work that benefits local companies before they even graduate. A lot of this work is the very useful, very technical, behind the scenes programming work that makes our online lives smoother and more efficient – but that we would never usually know much about.

“Students will pick up work from a previous students’ work placements and do the next stage, so the projects continue and add value to the industry,” Amit says.

Guest speakers: chatbots, AI and digital transformation

Local industry guest speakers, John Ashcroft (Jade Software’s Chief Innovation Officer) and Kate Phillips (Intergen’s Enterprise Practice Manager) will bring their expertise to the opening of Emerge on 14 November, 6pm. John will talk about chatbots and AI, while Kate will talk about the digital transformation that is soon to visit a world near you.

Back to the question of digital humans...

Now back to the question of models of digital humans, those avatars soon to appear on websites to answer all our questions and never get annoyed. They don’t have long hair because the natural movement of long hair is complex and very hard to replicate digitally – just ask the Hobbit crew who worked many hundreds of hours to create those flowing dwarf’s beards. Who knew? David Weir, of course.

How to use Augmented Reality at Emerge:

1) Download the HP Reveal app from the App Store or Google Play Store

2) Open the App, then tap the search bar at the top, which says "Discover Auras"

3) Type CE301S218, which our channel, and press enter to begin the search

4) Select the top result, "CE301S218's Public Auras"

5) Tap on the grey "Follow" button, it should turn to blue and say "Following"

6) Press Back, then Cancel, and you'll be at the home screen again

7) Press the blue icon down the bottom middle of the screen to start the camera

8) Animated dots will appear, and you can point the camera at someone's trigger image to start the reveal.

Try it out on the poster below!