Episode 91 – All About Augmented Reality

In this episode of The PE Geek Podcast we explore the disruptive technology of Augmented Reality & how it differs from Virtual Reality which was explored in the previous episode. Throughout the episode, we explore the applications it has in today’s PE classrooms & the implications it has for education in the years beyond.

Resources mentioned in this episode

  1. StarWalk & Pokemon Go
  2. Anatomy 4D, Virtuali-tee, Aurasma
  3. Apples upcoming ARKit

Press play to listen to the episode below or listen here. Watch this episode on YouTube here. Alternatively, download a full episode transcript here


[00:00:28] Jarrod Robinson: Hello everyone and welcome to episode number 91 of the PE
Geek Podcast and as always it’s an absolute pleasure to have you here. Now, if you’re tuning in I
really do appreciate it and I want to announce we’ve just released the brand new update to the PE
Geek mobile app. Now, as a podcast listener you probably listen to this podcast through your
podcast player of choice whether that’s Stitcher or whether that’s Apple Podcasts or any of those
podcast platforms. But we’ve now gone and made the podcast player inside the PE Geek app
even better. It’s able to save episodes offline and it keeps all of our content inside the one place.
So when we mention links and so on inside of the podcast they’re all there underneath the
podcast player and it just makes it a better experience. You can also do a whole host of other
things inside the app like catch the webinars and all the other on demand material
and it just makes it all the more better to access. So you can head to either the Google Play Store
or the Apple iTunes store and search the PE Geek and you’ll be able to find the latest update. If
you do have the old version then you probably have gone and updated it and maybe haven’t
logged in to see how it’s changed, but I certainly recommend going and checking it out.
Now, in today’s episode we’re going to be diving into a bit of a follow up from the previous
which was all about virtual reality
in physical education. And I guess in general education. But in this episode we’re going to look
at the other technology that happens to be usually spoken about in the same breath and that is
augmented reality and we’ll talk about what the difference is between the two and we’ll talk
about some of the things that you can do right now with augmented reality in your classroom and
then what the implications for that might be in the years to come.
Now, last episode we spoke about virtual reality
and what it meant and essentially virtual reality is a way in which that you can create a virtual
world almost and be able to enter into that virtual world and experience it. Now, to compare that
to augmented reality essentially augmented reality takes your real world, so the world that you’re
in right now and overlays information from the digital world on top of it so that you end up with
this hybrid between the sort of
virtual world stuff, there might be characters or avatars or different things happening in the
virtual world and they’re laid into the real world. So in a nutshell, augmented reality enhances the
real world whereas virtual reality takes you to a whole new world. The two really different
fundamental technologies but they’ve both got huge implications. And augmented reality is
probably the one that is going to have the most impact when it comes to solving
problems and different world challenges that we have as a utility tool in the same way that
mobile devices have got to the point where we use them all the time for different day to day
tasks. Augmented reality is going to have that mass, widespread adoption but virtual reality is
going to have a huge booming industry of entertainment and education that is fully immersive as
opposed to augmented reality is sort of layering the information over the existing world.
Now, I think it’s great that we’ve got both of these situations and both of these similar
technologies that are all happening to mature in tandem, many years ago augmented reality has
been around for but it’s very basic and very, very limited in what you can do with it. But in the
same way that virtual reality is maturing so too is augmented reality. And we’re getting the early
impacts of that ripple through education and ripple through
life and I think that’s really exciting.
Now, I mean the very first experience I ever personally had with augmented reality was when I
first got my iPhone and one of the very first apps I ever used was this app called Star Walk.
Now, it’s got nothing to do with phys ed but Star Walk lets you quite literally look through your
phone as you stand in the sky and you can see and look around
and look at the basic stars in the solar system. So as you look through your phone and glance
over towards where the moon is your phone shows you that you’re looking at the moon and you
are also looking at the moon in the real world. So it’s layering over that real world information
with the digital information and it meant that I could use that to explore the solar system. I
couldn’t see Jupiter but I knew that looking through the app I could actually see Jupiter
and interact with it and know that it’s off in the distance. So it was really cool.
So that was the very first augmented reality experience I had and there’s been quite a few that
have appeared that very similar over the years since that have sort of been preludes to where this
stuff is headed. You may remember in the years gone by and even on this podcast and in the PE
Geek workshops I’ve spoken out a lot about the Anatomy 4D application. And
Anatomy 4D is incredible. Unfortunately it’s no longer available on the iOS platform but it is
available on Android at the time of this recording going live. And Anatomy 4D lets you take a
photocopied piece of paper that the app gives you and you simply use the Anatomy 4D app and
point at that piece of paper and it would bring to life an immersive anatomy experience that you
could interact with on your screen and depending on where you were standing and how you
moved the animation inside the app also moved as well. And every time I’ve ever showed this to
people they’ve been blown away by the experience. But, as we’re likely to talk about it at the end
of this episode this is just the starting point for what this technology is going to provide for us.
So, at this time you can still go and get Anatomy 4D
and download that for Android devices. And if you did happen to download it for the iOS
platform beforehand it’s still there, it still works but they, I’m guessing are getting ready for the
upcoming iOS 11 release which I’m going to talk about in a minute because it has huge
implications for augmented reality.
Now, last year something very big happened and it has in many reasons been one of the catalysis
or why
augmented reality is starting to become really popular. And you probably remember me talking
about it potentially and you probably remembered seeing people do this thing and maybe you
participated, maybe you just witnessed people doing it. But, the thing I’m talking about is
Pokémon Go. Now Pokémon Go was an absolute global phenomena unlike anything that I’ve
seen in recent years in the mobile space, mobile app space. And it was
phenomenal, and you can say all you like about what it meant and whether you think it’s a good
thing. But, the fact that people were out and about and exploring and being active, I think, is a
good thing. And the best part about it and the thing that got me the most excited when I saw this
come out wasn’t Pokémon Go it was the technology that was underlying this particular tool and
that was augmented reality as well.
So, if you’ve never played it basically Pokémon Go
is a game that’s almost like a treasure hunting game and you open the app and it shows you
where Pokémon are in the real world. Now, Pokémon is like a little animated character that is
widely popular in many, many years, so it had a lot of take up from even adult populations. But
the idea was you would go and hunt them down and then when you found one it would appear in
your real world. And the only way you would see it is by looking through your device and you
through your device and you can see that that creature, whatever it was, was in your living room
or in the local park. And then you would catch that Pokémon and then you would continue on
and hunt for the next one. And obviously that augmented reality experience got a lot of attention,
and it got a lot of people talking about augmented reality and a lot of people interested in it. And
it’s lead to the path that we’re currently on which I’m incredibly excited
about and that is seeing a lot of people start to build these augmented reality experiences into
their apps.
Now, the best I’ve seen in recent years by far in a PE context is the app Virtual-Tee. I’ll put a link
to the show notes at thepegeek.com/91 and it’s by a team called Curiscope. And essentially what
this app does is it lets you almost like
4D Anatomy have an interactive anatomy experience. But rather than looking at a piece of paper
to trigger it you actually have a Curiscope t-shirt that you wear. And you put the t-shirt on and
then your users or your students or whoever they are look through the device, they see the
animation come to life and it looks like it’s your body because it’s overlaying the animation of
looking through into your internal organs
over the t-shirt and you looking through the device just see the internal organ. So really
Now, when I demoed this to people in a live workshop they were just blown away because they
had the opportunity to see this thing in real life and experience it and they could just immediately
connect how this would be beneficial in a teaching environment if you were teaching things like
But it really is the starting point, we’ve got to a point now where
that’s possible and sounds super complex but really the tools are there for us to be able to or for
developers to be able to do this quite easily. And no greater example is present than the
upcoming release of the iOS 11 which is about to come out very soon and if you’re an Apple user
you automatically get it because it’s just an update on your phone. And when that update takes
place it’s going to have a thing in it called AR kit.
An AR kit is a revolutionary developer tool that all developers can now leverage to be able to
enable them to build augmented reality experiences really, really seamlessly. And the developers
have been playing around with AR kit for about five months or so already, it’s been quite some
time out. And people are already building things that are leveraging
augmented reality experiences and what we’re seeing is just this complete change in what’s going
to be possible. And to give you a couple of examples and if you go and have a look for AR kit I’ll
link to this in the show notes too, you can see some of the projects that people are already
working on. And one of the best ones that I saw which I thought was just mind blowing was a
tape measure. Now, a tape measure doesn’t sound like any sort of rocket science technology, but
if you can imagine that
your phone could be used as a tape measure in any situation and it would have accuracy like a
real tape measure how cool would that be? Now essentially what the app lets you do with
augmented reality is look through your phone and measure real world objects using a tape
measure that lives inside your phone and uses augmented reality to make that happen, incredible.
So, essentially anything could be measured
by simply looking through and starting to measure by dragging your phone from left to right or
whatever you’re doing up and down and the tape measure moves out like a real tape measure and
you get to measure the real world thing to actual 100% accuracy which is mind blowing. And
that is now going to be the norm of many of the apps that we use, we’re going to have augmented
reality features inside of them.
The next one that I saw that we use all the time is mapping and augmented
reality with mapping, what does that look like. Well, one of the developers has built the Google
Maps so that you can be navigating, let’s say you’re walking down the street and you need to
know where to turn and what to do. Well they’ve combined the mapping aspect with street signs
but rather than having street signs that are actually physically in the world the street signs are
based on where you want to go. So if you put into your phone that you need the directions from
this place to the nearest coffee shop well the app will bring up virtual street signs and arrows and
as you walk through down the street toward the coffee shop is telling you when to turn by
showing you actual street signs and arrows pointing in the direction of which corners you need to
take and so on and that is phenomenal, this idea of layering over the real world and the digital
world so that we can get the benefit
of both of those. And it’s going to be an absolute game changer as soon as iOS 11 comes out
we’re going to start to see all of these things role into our classrooms and into the PE space and
into education and just into general day life. And it’ll be a couple of years’ time and we’ll look
back and think how did we ever live without having this augmented reality experience that is
now the norm for whatever it is that it replaces.
Now, as
you sit there now you might be thinking oh cool this episode’s great Jarrod but there’s not a lot in
here about things we can do now already. Well, that’s not true. If you go to
thepegeek.com/qrcode you can see a webinar that I ran last year and you can register for it and
watch it and in it I dedicate half of the episode or half of the webinar to looking at augmented
reality things that you can do right now. Most of them are very simple and they involve placing
a model of some sort over a real world item, but there are some more complex ones and one of
the things I shared that many of you could get the benefit from is an app called Aurasma. It’s
been around for a long time, it’s an augmented reality experience generating tool that you can use
to build your own augmented reality application style stuff. And once you sign up and you
register you can log in and you can create what’s called a trigger item and that
trigger item when triggered in the app can produce a response. It’s almost like a QR code in a
way but the trigger item doesn’t have to be a QR code, it could be a basketball. So you could
have a basketball sitting in your gymnasium and with the Aurasma app you simply hover over
the basketball or look at the basketball with the Aurasma app and the Aurasma app starts
a video of how to use that basketball or it plays a video of a coach or it takes you to a webpage
that shows a list of activities that you could do with that basketball. So Aurasma is there now, it’s
been around for a long time. You can use it to craft some pretty cool experiences.
There’s quite a few other tools that do very similar things in the augmented reality space, another
being Layar, L-A-Y-A-R. You can test these
out and you can use some of the free components of those or you can upgrade to get the paid
But the real reason I wanted to do this episode was to prelude what’s coming and the what’s
coming isn’t hey five years’ time from now we’re going to be able to use augmented reality. It is
almost here, as soon as that iOS 11 update roles out every single smart phone that has Apple
software is going to be a platform for augmented reality and when you’ve got that many
people with augmented reality capable devices it is a motivator for people to build really cool
stuff. And we’re going to start to see it. So, keep an eye out for upcoming episodes and upcoming
blog posts as we discover these augmented reality tools that are going to absolutely impact the
classroom in big ways.
So hopefully you found this interesting, you can go and explore some of the stuff already, head
over to thepegeek.com/91 and
you’ll get a list of the links as well as any other information that was mentioned and a full word
for word transcript of today’s episode. I also want to remind you of the fact that the PE Geek app
is now out as a brand new update, it’s beautiful. If you haven’t got it go and get it and you can
listen to the episodes of the podcast inside there, it makes it even easier to take notes and sort of
remember what was covered in each episode because it’s all in one place. Other than that, I look
forward to
returning in episode 92 with a brand new interview of another physical educator doing amazing
things. I look forward to speaking soon, bye.


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