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Augmented reality (AR) is the term used to define the direct or indirect viewing through a technology device (smartphone, tablet, etc.) of a physical environment of the real world, combined with virtual elements (video, audio, images, 3D animations, websites) for the creation of a mixed reality in real time.
Augmented reality is not a new technology but an emerging one. Advances in technology, the growing presence of telephones with an Internet connection and the new consumer culture are laying the basis for this technology, which offers endless possibilities.

The services offered by the UOC in the area of AR are geared towards organizations and small and medium businesses (SME) in the fields of culture, tourism, education and advertising wishing to approach users or customers using new communication channels, making the most of the popularity of mobile devices.

The use of augmented reality provides the following benefits:
• It increases the commitment and interaction with the user and provides a richer experience.
• It increases the users' perceived value of products and brands.
• It is a mobile and personal technology and is therefore highly accessible in a market with a high level of penetration of mobile devices.
• It is an economical communication alternative.
• It offers detailed analysis regarding the users/consumers.

Augmented reality can be applied to all productive sectors. The experience of the UOC centres in the creation of AR experiences for the fields of education, culture, tourism and advertising. Some examples of applications in these fields are:
• Education:
o Contextualization and clarification of concepts in text books:
- Include videos or interactive 3D models that explain a concept clearly.
- Include interactive apps that help practise a subject and that can comprise or complement homework.
o Historical / cultural / social contextualization on school trips:
- Create educational routes enriched with digital content such as videos, 3D models, web pages, etc.
• Culture and advertising:
o Animate and advertise visits to museums, arts centres and exhibitions through image recognition, associating digital information with works of art, archaeological remains, paper catalogues, digital catalogues, programmes, advertisements, window displays, etc.
o Provide additional information about shows and events, offering information when passing in front of theatres, cinemas and premises or when pointing the mobile at a banner or advertising poster.
• Tourism:
o Enhance and advertise landscapes, cultural heritage, tourist trails or points of interest through geolocation, associating digital information with any set of geographical points or using image recognition.
o Turn tours into treasure hunts to foster the tourist completing the trail and visiting all the points of interest on the route.
o Time travel: to be able to see an area set in a specific era.
o Offer promotional discounts through image recognition.

Augmented Reality experience on the skull of a Triceratops at the CosmoCaixa Museum

Multimedia Gallery