Jaime Donally
A young boy uses an AR app to see a 3D image of a mountain

One of my first experiences with augmented reality came from the Aurasma app, later known as HP Reveal. The mobile app layered 3D objects and videos on top of a high contrast image. My mind was blown after I viewed a 3D object jump off an image on the paper. I can’t recall anything else I learned that day, but it was the beginning of this beautiful ARVRinEDU journey.

I immediately shared the app with educators in my district for all grade levels and content areas. After inspiring classrooms around the country, the application came to an end at the beginning of 2020.

The creation of augmented reality has evolved over time. Most of the AR experiences in the past 10 years involved using a trigger image to superimpose an object or video on top. The trigger image is similar to a barcode telling the mobile device precisely what to add to the image. Often seen through a mobile device, the illusion is tethered to the image, so the camera must keep it in view at all times. The image must have enough color contrast to be easily identified, keeping in mind that glare and lighting play a significant role in identifying the trigger image.

AR technology is improving

Newer augmented reality technology eliminates the trigger image and places objects in your space by surface tracking. In the past four years, this technology is included on most mobile devices and uses ARKit for the Apple platform and ARCore for Android. The ARKit and ARCore technology can adjust the object to fit in the space, change in brightness, layer around people, identify face and hands, plus so much more. The technology is incredible, but it must run on relatively new devices. At this point, more and more classrooms are equipped to run ARKit and ARCore applications, but the use of trigger images is still prevalent for classroom lessons.

I often receive requests for alternative augmented reality applications to replace HP Reveal, and thankfully, we now have plenty of options. When researching augmented reality creation resources that use trigger images, I’ve searched for specific criteria to best support classroom implementation. Some of the areas and issues to evaluate are cost, platform, ease of use and features.

Below are a few options that will support your lessons in creating augmented reality. Depending on the classroom resources and preferred outcome, some options may be more beneficial than others. I have yet to find an option that offers everything for little or no cost, but it’s possible to use various tools for different projects to get what you need. Here are a few to check out:

ARize

I’ve been impressed with ARize because of the simple interface. The possibility to link a website from the augmented reality experiences is unique. Most AR creation tools require the video content to be loaded onto YouTube, but ARize allows the video to be uploaded to the website. Explore my experience by scanning this image below in the ARize app.



 

Steps:

  1. Go to arize.io and select “Get Started Now” to set up an account.
  2. Select “Create AR” and then “Tap to Start.”
  3. Select the type of AR experience you want to add on top of your trigger image.
  4. Upload or add the link to the content on the trigger image and upload the trigger image (JPEG only).
  5. Select “Public” with the free version of ARize and “Create Post.”

Cost: Free for up to 10 experiences.
Creation Platform: Web-based
Ease of Use: Easy
Features: Use your videos, 3D object files, Sketchfab and Google Poly integration, links or Unity projects.

Arloopa

The Arloopa studio is a simple yet effective and fairly customizable augmented reality experience tool. One of my favorite features in the Arloopa Studio is the option to move the 3D objects exactly where you want it placed in the AR experience. The user can add multiple objects in one AR experience. The option to create AR content using a trigger image, using surface tracking or location services makes the tool more flexible for classrooms. View the image below using the Arloopa app.

Steps:

  1. Go to Arloopa studio and select “Create an Account.”
  2. Select “Create New Experience.”
  3. Pick the type of experience you want to apply, either using a trigger image, placing the experience in the room or placing at a specific location.
  4. Select the type of AR experience you want to add on top of your trigger image.
  5. Paste the link or upload the image/video/object to layer on top and upload the trigger image.
  6. After customizing the experience, select “Publish.”

Cost: Free for up to 10 experiences
Creation Platform: Web-based
Ease of Use: Easy
Features: Use your videos or link from YouTube, upload 3D object files or link from Sketchfab and Google Poly, add links to a website, Unity projects

Assemblr

The Assemblr Studio is an app that you download onto your computer. The 3D library is notable with animated objects and many educational items to include in your class. I found the platform simple to use, and it allows more personalizations than many of the other tools. The free options are acceptable for many classrooms, and the cost to upload a customized trigger image (also called marker) is affordable. View my AR experience using the Assemblr app by scanning t

 

Steps:

  1. Go to Assemblr Studio and download the software onto your computer.
  2. Select “Create New Project” and give your project a name.
  3. Add the 3D objects, pictures, or videos you want to include in your experience.
  4. Place and modify the items on the marker area to customize the experience.
  5. Select “Publish” and download the marker to view your experience.

Cost: Free with the QR code
Creation Platform: Download application on a computer
Ease of Use: Easy with added optional
Features: Use your images or videos, a large and animated 3D object library, 3D objects can be uploaded with a subscription (otherwise 8 MB is the file limit)

EyeJack Creator

The EyeJack app is one of the easiest platforms to use because it’s essentially limited to adding a short video on top of a trigger image. The application must be installed on your computer. An audio upload is available to include a voice-over or ambient sound. View my postcard below after scanning the QR code in the EyeJack app.

Steps:

  1. Download the EyeJack app onto your computer.
  2. Upload a trigger image (JPG or PNG file).
  3. Upload a video, GIF or PNG to layer on top of the trigger image in the augmented reality experience.
  4. Keep the QR provided to view in the app.
  5. Download the EyeJack app on your mobile device (iOS & Android).
  6. Open the app and select the eye at the bottom of the screen. Scan the QR code (found in step 4) and then view the trigger image.

Cost: Free
Creation Platform: Download application on a computer
Ease of Use: Easy
Features: Use your videos and audio files

WebAR

 

The WebAR resource is one of my favorite tools because it uses WebXR to make all the magic happen in the browser. Without the need to download an app, it makes the experience run much faster.
 

Steps:

  1. Go to mywebar.com and select “Sign Up” to set up an account.
  2. Select “Add New Project.”
  3. Give the project a name and select the type of AR experience you want (QR code is free), then select “Create.”
  4. Upload or use the content available in the library to layer on the QR code.
  5. Select the save image and scan the QR code with a mobile device.

Cost: Free for QR code
Creation Platform: Web-based
Ease of Use: Easy with added optional
Features: Use your videos and 3D object files, large 3D library on the site, added interactions in the AR experience

Want to learn more about how to use AR/VR in education? Join me at ISTE20 Live for these sessions:

This post was originally published on Jaime Donally’s blog ARVR in EDUJaime Donally began her career as a math teacher and later moved into instructional technology. Her desire to build relationships has brought about opportunities to collaborate with students and educators around the world. She is the author of the popular ISTE book, Learning Transported: Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality for All Classrooms and her newest book The Immersive Classroom: Create Customized Learning Experiences With AR/VR

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