Abstract
The purpose of this research will be in analyzing and interpreting the current augmented reality market, as well as the overall existence of mainstays within the field of augmented reality. Given that technology has developed significantly over the last half century, new and innovative ways to tell stories and narratives have been constructed and developed by people of essentially every field. Storytelling has long been a staple in human history and as implements such as augmented reality have grown and developed, the capacity for people to tell stories and use the world around them for this purpose has grown. The nature of storytelling through augmented reality is one of the prevalent concepts discussed in “The Virtual Showcase as a new Platform for Augmented Reality Digital Storytelling” by Oliver Bimber, L. Miguel Encarnacao and Dieter Schmalstieg. As such, this research will focus on this literature as an extension of ways that storytelling can be achieved in augmented reality, focusing on the applications that were found within the case study. Other areas and devices that have capitalized on this emergent technology are that of the Vivid Festival in Sydney and the Aurasma app. Given how prominently these two have developed alongside augmented reality, I will also focus on illustrating the ways that the concept is being utilized to tell stories within our own world and how they are using elements of the world to tell stories alongside augmented reality devices and installations.

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Section 1

Title: Advantages of Augmented Reality of Digital Media in Storytelling

Topic: Augmented reality has rapidly begun expanding the capacities of media to tell stories and transmit information. Where traditional devices would only allow the user to engage with the media to a certain degree of interactivity, devices that capitalize on augmented reality allow the user to actively engage with the media itself in real time and in the prevailing world around them. Augmented reality can be understood as any technology which has the capacity to superimpose digital images onto the real world around the user, creating a sort of composite view of both digital and real images. (Maxwell, 2011) Augmented reality has many different elements which help to present the media in the way that it manifests itself. One particular example of this in action is that of the Aurasma app, which allows the individual to create augmented reality scenarios and situations, utilizing cameras on phones and eventually specially-designed glasses to project images onto the user’s screen and vision. (Aurasma, 2017) As such, it is evident that augmented reality is quickly manifesting itself as a market mainstay, and that it will continue to grow and develop the potential for newer and more intriguing ways to develop narratives and engage with audiences.

Section 2

Research Questions
What types of storytelling opportunities will this new medium provide? In what ways will augmented reality programs and systems be utilized to revolutionize media itself? This research will seek to answer these questions, and provide insight into the nature of the augmented reality field.

Background

Digitally-integrated media has been developing and growing for decades now and more traditional means to convey information or stories have grown exponentially alongside the users and individuals who enjoy these experiences. Video games came around in the early 1970s and by the 1990s, companies were creating cellular phones which could play games on them as well. Now, the present media market has introduced such implements as those that are based around virtual and augmented reality. While it can be said that the virtual reality has taken the primary stage of interest in the immediate sense, augmented reality has shown the capacity to grow and develop significantly as well. Originally, technologies were not sufficient enough for the utilization and implementation of virtual reality but this issue has been reduced by the integration of more seamless, convenient types of virtual reality-related technologies. One significant detractor from the implementation of virtual reality has come in the form of the fact that the devices require the user to completely engulf themselves in the digital world of the media, and that they rely on headsets to integrate into this type of entertainment. (Azuma, Baillot, Behringer, Feiner, Julier, MacIntyre, 2001, 34) Augmented reality has grown in conjunction with virtual reality, and in turn, the industry has exploded into a $1.1 billion trove, rife with creative possibilities. Mixed reality headsets and integrated platforms for appreciating the medium have given it an extensive amount of life, as it has expanded since the late 1960s. The development of cellular devices has further integrated augmented reality in an applicable, efficient way, allowing people to tell stories and receive information quickly and efficiently at the palm of their hands. (Bimber, Encarnacao, Schmalstieg, 2003, 4)

The nature of storytelling through augmented reality is one of the prevalent concepts discussed in “The Virtual Showcase as a new Platform for Augmented Reality Digital Storytelling” by Oliver Bimber, L. Miguel Encarnacao and Dieter Schmalstieg. This analysis showcases the capacity of augmented reality as a device for constructing narratives, in which the authors integrate a customized augmented reality system called “The Virtual Showcase” to help define and integrate new ways for constructing narratives. Interactive storytelling techniques are being explored in both virtual and augmented reality, as this study illustrates. As such, the emphasis on the technology is in the interactivity that it provides and the dynamic of it being presented in the third dimension, as well as the overall actual physical world. As this study discusses, this provides an advantage in storytelling in that it gives the “possibility to communicate information more effectively with digital means by telling stories that can be experienced directly within a real environment or in combination with physical objects.” (Bimber, Encarnacao, Schmalstieg, 2003, 4) The overall prevalence of certain real-world elements and attributes such as historic sites or points of interest provides a proper platform for the user to instantly engage with the medium of the digital narrative on a level that extends deeper that simply the limitations of the digital system itself. The authenticity of the real-world can not be integrated or simulated in mere digital constructions, given the limitations of the technology of today.

Section 3

Significance of Study

This study is interesting in that it shows many of the limitations that have also manifested themselves in the augmented reality systems specifically. There are many technological shortcomings which have manifested themselves in ways that limit the storytelling capacity of modern augmented reality devices. (Rolland, Baillott, Goon, 2009, 32) This study focused on using augmented reality devices for storytelling within a museum setting, and for the implementation of scientific research and ascertaining of scientific information. This in itself comprises the overall purpose of “The Virtual Showcase” augmented reality device that these individuals constructed. Interestingly, the system itself uses non-conventional methods to display the digital images that the users had created. It is essentially a see-through optical-based augmented reality system that displayed images and digitized representations of real world content that is displayed within the unit itself. For this unit, the designers combined half-silvered mirror beam splitters, which allowed for a projection of three-dimensional displays that were then overlaid upon the actual physical artifact. (Rosenberg, 1993, 78) With this system, the original was able to account fro the viewing of four head-tracked spectators at a time, allowing them to engage with the augmented reality installation together.

This system showed a more basic approach to showcasing the extensive capacities of augmented reality applications and devices. As such, it merely highlighted many of the attributes of the system but there are a significantly larger number of ways that similar devices or systems could be utilized by designers and augmented reality users. The significance of this research is in the notion that it is helping to catalog and account for many of the ways that augmented reality is expanding, and how storytelling itself can be revolutionized by the existence of augmented reality-related devices. (Raskar, Welch, Fuchs, 2012, 11) Technology has facilitated a new wave of entertainment and a more personalized, engaged approach to digesting and appreciating stories as they are presented to us in real-time. (Migram, Takemura, 1994, 290) With the existence of augmented reality, a person can actively engage with the story that they are interested in or the experience to which they are invested, and in turn, they can allow the user to fully interact with the media as an extension of their current reality and within the system itself.
(MacIntryre, Bolter, Moreno, Hannigan, 2001, 201) Much like virtual reality though, there are still many factors to consider regarding the way that stories are conducted in augmented reality. Augmented reality requires similar forms of manipulation of reality and of the perspective and perception of the user. As such, this research is important because it also details many of the limitations and proposes ways to step forward out of these attributes of augmented reality as it currently is.

Section 4

Methodology

Given that this research will focus on augmented reality’s structure and the developments of narratives within augmented reality, there will be a few points of reference in the current augmented reality market that will be discussed. First and foremost, the primary point of my analysis will be in creating a video that promotes the Vivid Festival in Sydney. This festival is a 23-day event which combines revolutionary elements of music, lights and different ideas that are circulating in the media landscape. There are many different elements about the festival, including different forums from industry leaders showing their creative assets off. Many of the urban spaces in the city will be reinterpreted and transformed to help showcase the creative vision that these individuals have, and to showcase the extensiveness to which augmented reality is already being showcased. (Graham, Zook, Boulton, 2012) As such, I will produce a video first to illustrate the extent to which augmented reality is already manifesting itself in the real world, choosing to focus on this festival as a semblance to the creative possibilities that are present already. Much emphasis will be conducted into showing the actual event itself and the ways that augmented reality are taking shape, and how they are being integrated into the real world. From there, I will create a detailed brochure which indicates the different elements of the event and the ways that the promoters have orchestrated it. The purpose of the brochure will largely be to focus on the interactive art exhibits and demonstrations, such as those that are displayed on the buildings throughout Sydney.

The last phase of this project will be in demonstrating the presence and creative applications of the Aurasma app. The app allows people to turn different everyday objects into interactive augmented reality installations and exhibits, giving them opportunities to engage with customers and fans alike through implementing graphics, audio, animation and different forms of 3D content. The focus of this app is in connecting the real world to the digital world by displaying infographs and other digital elements that define and bring life to the individual elements of reality itself around the user. As such, this is important because it shows the extent to which augmented reality has facilitated an integration of both the real and the digital, and the last phase of my project will be in showing how storytelling and information transmission have both become more integrated into real life through this app and devices that are similar.

Project Plan

The purpose of this project is in providing insight into the growing augmented reality market and the developing technologies that exist to help further this evolution. As such, the project will introduce the history of augmented reality and showcase many of the innovative points of emphasis within the augmented reality market, culminating in a presentation about the Vivid Festival in Sydney as a point of growth for the platform and the Aurasma app, which has sought to further innovate the mobile augmented reality market. Given that this project will rely on information about the Vivid Festival in Sydney, the first point of emphasis will be in detailing the characteristics of the festival itself and gaining insight into what the festival does and how. The festival itself, being a 23-day event, will have a significant amount of information on what happens and what types of exhibits are present. As such, the importance of documenting this festival will be in seeing how previous years were conducted and what installations and exhibits are planned for this current year. This will take a day or two to conduct and will lead me into the collection of the data and the planning of the presentation. From there, the video will be produced using different clips and pieces from the Vivid Festival, used largely to show the characteristics of the festival as an extension of the augmented reality field itself. This overall editing process of the video should take two to three days as well. Then the brochure will be compiled and created using the elements from the video and from my research, and should take approximately a day to complete. Lastly, given the importance of the Aurasma app, there will be a significant portion of time that is dedicated to finding information about and researching this company and the app itself. This should take approximately a day or so.

Contingency Plan

If all else fails and there is no other way to detail the information within this given timeline, then I will focus on established literature such as the one mentioned above and others in the field to gain an understanding of the ways that storytelling are being integrated into augmented reality in various other fields. The overall purpose of this is to show the capacity of augmented reality as a device for storytelling so essentially any literature on this subject would help to serve the point of understanding the narrative construction within the medium itself.

Section 5

Needs Analysis

The facilities that are present in the Vivid Festival, as well as the equipment that they use will be important in conducting a thorough understanding of how the different narrative structures are woven into the real world applications of augmented reality itself. Furthermore, the Aurasma app and its elements will be important to understand and analyze, given the presence that this particular app has throughout the rest of the analysis. As such, I will conduct as much thorough examination as possible into the hardware and software that is given within the app and its devices.

Ethics Risk Analysis

Given that this research relies heavily on the existence of established businesses, software and hardware, there could be a significant ethical situation involved in documenting these different elements. As such, I will make sure to research the rules regarding distribution of or dissemination of media relating to these devices and Vivid Festival. Furthermore, there could be some ethical situations regarding how these different areas and technologies are documented, and if the process has any legalities through systems such as Youtube or other digital platforms.

Section 6

Conclusion
Augmented reality has rapidly begun expanding the capacities of media to tell stories and transmit information. Where traditional devices would only allow the user to engage with the media to a certain degree of interactivity, devices that capitalize on augmented reality allow the user to actively engage with the media itself in real time and in the prevailing world around them. Augmented reality can be understood as any technology which has the capacity to superimpose digital images onto the real world around the user, creating a sort of composite view of both digital and real images. As such, this research will look to understand ways that this medium is currently being utilized and expanded upon, as well as introducing and discussing systems that are in developments that seek to further illustrate the narrative capacities of the medium itself.

    References
  • Azuma, R., Baillot, Y., Behringer, R., Feiner, S., Julier, S., MacIntyre, B. (2001) Recent Advances in Augmented Reality. IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications, vol. 21, no.6, pp. 34-47.
  • Bimber, Oliver; Encarnacao, L. Miguel; Schmalstieg, Dieter. (2003) The Virtual Showcase as a new Platform for Augmented Reality Digital Storytelling. The Eurographics Association. p. 4.
  • MacIntyre, B. Bolter, J.D., Moreno, E., Hannigan, B. (2001) Augmented Reality as a New Media Experience. In proceedings of IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Augmented Reality (ISAR’01), pp. 197-206.
  • Milgram, P., Takemura, H., et al. (1994) Augmented Reality: A Class of Displays on the RealityVirutality Continuum. In proceedings of SPIE: Telemanipulator and Telepresence Technologies, H. Das, SPIE. 2351, pp. 282-292.
  • Maxwell, Kerry. (2011) Augmented Reality. Macmillan Dictionary Buzzword.
  • Raskar, Ramesh; Welch, Greg; Fuchs, Henry. (2012) Spatially Augmented Reality, First International Workshop on Augmented Reality. 11
  • Rolland, Jannick; Baillott, Yohan; Goon, Alexei.(2009) A Survey of Tracking Technology for Virtual Environments[permanent dead link], Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers, University of Central Florida. p. 32.
  • Rosenberg, L.B. (1993). “Virtual Fixtures: Perceptual Overlays for Telerobotic Manipulation”. In Proc. of the IEEE Annual Int. Symposium on Virtual Reality (1993): pp. 76–82.
  • Graham, M., Zook, M., and Boulton, A. (2012) “Augmented reality in urban places: contested content and the duplicity of code.”Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2012.00539.x 2012.
  • Aurasma. (2017) https://www.aurasma.com/