Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hold the world in the palm of your hand

One of the winners at last year's New Zealand Open Source Awards was Ghosts in the Form of Gifts by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith.
This project used Open Source machines - the RepRap - to recreate physical artefacts from Te Papa that had been lost or destroyed over the years. The finished files for the artefacts were released under a Creative Commons licence so that anyone who wished to could create their own exhibits. Most of these represented items of significance to Pacific cultures.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to use public domain 3D models like these with students wherever and whenever we liked? Of course. Enter AndAR, which stands for Android Augmented Reality. This app allows anyone with an Android phone to download 3D model files and, using a black and white printed marker, use Augmented Reality to view and interact with those models. It's hard to explain just how it works, so here's a video, using one of the stock 3D models that come with the app:
See what I mean?
And as Bronwyn has very thoughtfully made her models available under a CC-BY-SA licence, anyone can download a copy of a file and use it within AndAR. So if you need to play around with an adze, a sperm whale tooth or even a giant land snail shell, now you can.

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