What would the classroom of the future be like? That is the subject of a research experiment by design studio Knol Ontwerp. The experiment, Pencil vs Pixel, is divived into several phases going from analog to completely digital. Phase 2 of the project was envisioned as a spacial sculptural realtime multi-user AR interface, constructed in ExtendR. With ExtendR, students add the AR layer to the physical architecture creating a new environment for learn and play. By interacting with the markers, whose functions are defined in advance, objects and materials are generated in the space. Once created, they can be manipulated via simple hand gestures, or by placing them on different markers. Because the markers are portable, they can be places anywhere in the room, shaping the space into a desired live installation.
ExtendR consists of an intuitive web-based CMS and the ExtendR app with which the AR can be experienced. With the CMS users defined the various functions of the markers, like generators, animators, texturizers and more. Furthermore, users can upload images, 3D models, audio and even video with which the augmented space is constructed. These can be further enhanced by adding all kinds of animations and other modulations.
Among the more advanced features of ExtendR are personalised trackers, multi-user asset management, realtime sockets connection, multiple file uploads, powerful search functions. Furthermore, you can build and test multiple individual projects using the same markers. ExtendR is running on a LAMP platform with a node.js server in parallel for realtime interactions, and using the ExtendR app as the primary AR browser. ExtendR is available on iOS and Android, for mobile phones and tablets.
The experiment was performed by students of the Sint Lucas at MU Eindhoven art space. The space was constructed by Knol Ontwerp in collaboration with AugmentNL for the AR part.
DSLR photos by Corneel de Wilde.