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It Moves! - Developing Augmented Reality Applications of the Merge Cube across Creative Industries & Health

Dr Ruari Elkington

Queensland University of Technology

Students across a broad the range of disciplines are required to engage with complex, discipline-specific pieces of equipment. Over the course of their studies students are required to build familiarity, confidence, and ability in their operation of equipment then extend this learning to real-world, professional contexts. However, outside of initial in-class demonstration, and time-constrained group practice sessions, students o en struggle to find the time and agency to return on-site to University to develop their ability to operate this equipment. They may also feel “time poor” regarding intensive equipment instruction reinforcing the need for innovations that directly support and enable their self-directed learning. Augmented Reality (AR) apps o er an engaging, integrated means by which the detail and correct use of complex technical equipment can be better integrated and understood by students.

The Merge Cube is a holographic trigger in the form of a small foam cube that allows users to physically hold and interact with 3D objects using augmented reality (AR) technology. Through the Merge cube students are able to “trigger” the hologram of the equipment in question and are then able to further familiarise themselves with both the holographic image and the specific augmented detail of the text overlay. In transdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues across the QUT Faculties of Creative Industries and Health this project selected and 3D scanned two key, high- use physical pieces of equipment used in teaching (a video camera and a birthing mannequin). These items were recreated as interactive holograms through the Merge AR development kits and deployed to students via the Merge Cube and accompanying iOS / Android Merge Viewer app. This THETA presentation details the development and deployment of utilising Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to encourage self-directed learning and develop students’ familiarity, confidence, and capabilities in using and understanding the application of essential equipment in their professional pathways.