CIL2017 – Augmented Reality & Learning

On the last day of the conference I started off going to a session on Augmented Reality & Learning. This talk was given by four different academic librarians from four difference schools. But the main thing I was interested in was, what technology did they use, and they all had used Blippar.

Blippar is an app for both Apple iOS and Android, and that allows you use your smartphones camera to take pictures of everyday things, then Blippar will give you more information that is found on the internet.  Blippar will work out of the box, so you can use it to learn more about apples, but simply pointing the app / camera at an apple.  So in a way, it is similar to a QR code, but with the ability to use a regular picture.  A demo of the Blippar app can be found int he following video.

So while all things are Blippable, to create your own custom content you have to create a web account.  You can then set specific reactions to specific pictures that you upload.  That way if someone were to Blip a picture in a poster, it can bring up a specific URL or start playing a video.  Currently Blippar is free to use, so definitely worth playing around with.

I am very curious about this technology and how we could use it in some of our libraries.  The schools doing the presentation used it in one of their classes, having students make Blippable infographics for reports.  One of the media centers used it in a display showing off some of their collections, so that videos and more information would show up when you Blipped the display.  Another media center worked with their local theater department and made Blippable posters for some of the events, so that people could Blip the poster and hear a singer of an upcoming event.

Some of the drawbacks I see in academics vs public libraries is that public libraries do not have the kind of granular control over patron devices, that the academics had over their students.  This means a lot of patron education to get them to install the app and use it.  Unlike QR codes, that are more common, patrons would have to use this specific app to read the Blippable material.  Also there is nothing special that would indicated that an item is Blippable as it is picture based vs a code.  Again, this puts a lot of patron eductation onto the librarians.  I definitely think this would be great technology for libraries to use, I just worry how scaleable it will be as it requires a specific app on a patron’s device.

If you are interested in trying out Blippar yourself, use the buttons below to download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play, and start blipping today.