Augmented Reality

Disclaimer: To ensure you’re able to view the following Auras, be sure to follow hdbarger on Aurasma!


The bulk of this assignment took place over Spring Break, when I traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada for the first time.  I knew before I left that I wanted to create something related to travel – this trip happened to be a perfect opportunity.  I wanted to document my journey, particularly because it would be a first-time experience for me.  I suppose you could say that I knew the story I wished to tell before I even knew how to tell it.

Then, amidst a class discussion, Skip mentioned something about postcards.  The light bulb came on.

My five days in Vegas were spent documenting everything, taking as many photos and videos as my camera memory card would allow.  The sights and experiences that caught my attention informed the types of postcards I chose while scouring through countless souvenir shops.  What I found when it came time to actually tell the story of my trip, is that I actually created several stories.


Las Vegas tiled pop art postcard aura

In a very broad sense, the Welcome to Las Vegas postcard is a summary of my trip.  It represents an overview of the things that I saw and experienced as a first-timer to Vegas.  At the same time, this is a story of virtual tourism.  As a viewer, even if you have never been to Las Vegas, this Aura brings Las Vegas to you.  Tapping an image makes it full screen. Extensive use of Hotspots along the edges of each Overlay means you can also scroll through each image without leaving full screen mode.

Bonus:  This postcard plays Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas!


Hoover Dam postcard aura

I took a different approach in making the Hoover Dam postcard, using star icons to create a sort of map.  Unlike a map that merely diagrams physical features, this postcard uses augmented reality to demonstrate the view from each icon.  That is, what you would see around you if you were physically standing on the stars.  Tapping each star opens a different Overlay.  For the image Overlays, I manually edited an “X” in the corner to create a visual for a Hotspot with a “stop” action.


Las Vegas Fremont street experience aura

Flamingo resort and casino las vegas aura

The postcards for Fremont Street and the Flamingo Las Vegas began to take my story on a different path for several reasons.  I began to stray from telling stories based on experiences that were uniquely mine.  What’s more, I began to use overlays from outside sources.  This is not to say that I was unhappy with my story as it unfolded in Vegas.  There were just aspects of my own experience that I was not able to fully capture, whether it was because I simply lacked the means…or because I wasn’t allowed to hold my camera while zip lining.

The stories of Fremont and Flamingo were told in ways that could be considered helpful by a prospective first-time Las Vegas visitor.  Fremont Street uses icons to launch videos that give small insights into the Fremont experience – the hustle and bustle, the lights, and of course, the ziplines.  The Flamingo uses icons that instead focus on background aspects of this historic Las Vegas hotel, including a brief history lesson, a hotel map, and a glimpse of the hotel’s namesake.

Tapping an icon on either postcard will open the Overlay they represent, and close any other Overlay that is open.


Bellagio postcard aura with fountains

Once again, here is a postcard that teeters between informational and personal experience. The fountains at The Bellagio were high on the list of things I wanted to see during my trip to Vegas. I was able to capture great footage of one of the afternoon shows, however, I wanted the augmented reality of this postcard to be more than just a video.  While it would’ve told a story by itself, I also wished for more dimension.  I wanted this postcard to be useful. So once more, I used icons.

Not only does this postcard display the world-renowned fountains in action, but it also provides background information as well as show dates/times directly from the Bellagio website.  The story told by this postcard can now take my Augmented Reality and make it their own, true reality.


I’ll admit I struggled when first presented with the concept of Augmented Reality.  Although I was privy to the creation and use of Quick Response (QR) codes before this assignment, I had never before thought of them as a tool – let alone a tool for telling stories!  To me, they were just funny-looking squares on things like advertisements and ketchup bottles.  They were images too easily over-looked if the purpose was not apparent or if no QR code scanner was available.

I found the same issues in working with Aurasma.  Auras are not visible if you do not have the Aurasma app.  Even if you do have the app, there are no defining features that let the viewer know they are looking at an Aura (although, you could make it part of your trigger image).  So, what is the point?

What I found in completing this assignment is that Augmented Reality is term that encompasses stories told with the help of certain digital tools.  Augmented Reality creates a method of enhancing digital stories – not just in how we tell them, but how we can interact with them and use (and re-purpose) them into our own stories.

6 comments on “Augmented Reality

  1. Some very interesting ideas and well crafted auras here. I’m not able to get the Hoover Dam or Flamingo images to work, but the others seem to be fine. Not sure what the issue is with those. Do they work for you?

  2. I love your project! What an excellent idea for actually doing something with all those travel videos and pictures. This was really inspiring. I like how you played around with different possibilities (my project required just doing the same thing over and over again, bringing up a video).

    I did struggle some with what I was supposed to do (or figuring out that I was supposed to be doing something). For example, for the first post card, I watched the video play in the center. I didn’t realize things would happen if I clicked on the pictures. When I went to the dam one, I thought… why did she put stars on this?? Eventually I figured out that they were points to click for more media that are tied to each star’s location (AWESOME idea, by the way). Only then did I realize I should have been doing something with the first postcard. I then went back and tapped on the images and such.

    Having some guidance for the viewer would be great so we understand how best to interact with your project.

    Looking forward to seeing your accompanying narrative to see how your experience with Aurasma went.

    1. Forgot to add that I like how you brought us in to follow your feed using QR code. Since my feed name has to be entered exactly right to find me, this might reduce some user error possibilities.

  3. These are really neat. I like that you layered several photos/videos into each postcard. I don’t know if you tweaked them since Skip commented, but I got all of them to work just fine. The panorama film clips with the photos of the dam was great, and it was neat to see the zip line (or coaster ride) over Vegas. The mix of info and video on the fountain and flamingo postcards was interesting, I can see that being used in classes quite easily.

    Overall, I think you’ve done a great job with the AR portion of the project. Can’t wait to read your making of bit.

  4. Message:
    For some reason, I can’t get any of the auras to work! I did before, though.
    This is a wonderful idea/concept Haley. When you previously posted the Las Vegas signs/postcards I was able to view your auras…I really liked the layout and images from the Las Vegas signs/auras.

    Writing Standards
    none noted

    Quality and appropriateness of media
    Media was well placed. I wouldn’t have minded just seeing your Vegas signs/auras.

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