Augmented Reality (AR) Environment for Story Explorers
The startup Within Limited is bringing its expertise in making experiential virtual reality (VR) to the world of augmented reality (AR). In November 2018, the company launched its first AR experience, Wonderscope, as an iOS app. Geared toward children, the app utilizes Apple’s ARKit to turn the spaces around them into virtually interactive environments designed to encourage early learning. Wonderscope encourages viewers to follow the characters as they walk across a floor or bed or fly around a room. A viewer can lean in closer to the action or back up to take it all in while also talking with the characters using the app’s voice-recognition technology. The first few stories are around eight or nine minutes in length but could vary depending on how quickly a viewer wants to travel along the storyline or its surrounding landscape. One of the first stories, Little Red the Inventor, brings the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood into the modern day, and the viewer along with it, as Red tries to evade the Big Bad Wolf while using a drone to plant flowers. A Brief History of Stunts by Astounding People animates history with a miniseries of three nonfiction stories. One stars 88-year-old Betty Bromage, who stood on the wings of an airborne biplane. Another depicts Charles Blondin tightrope-walking across Niagara Falls. And the third is all about Helen Gibson, Hollywood’s first stuntwoman. In December, a story based on Alice in Wonderland will debut on the app, starring the White Rabbit as ringmaster of Wonderland while the viewer vies for a job in the spot. Cost: Free, with in-app purchases offered
Now with Apple ARKit, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar can be brought to life in the real world. Through an augmented reality experience, children can watch their own Very Hungry Caterpillar appear in their classroom, on a kitchen table, in a garden, on their playground, or anywhere else they want to play with it.
Fans of Jane Austen can visit her House from the comfort of their home, or wherever they are. They can stroll through the House, now a Museum, on a 360-degreevirtual tour, wander through the gardens with the Museum cat, or take in an online exhibition.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum provides unique fieldtrip opportunities for teachers and students to engage with the museum’s content online. Among the museum’s offerings are “Earth and Its Place in the Universe” (grades 5–12); “Finding Our Way: Geography and GIS” (grades 6–8)); “Living Through History” (grades 1–8); and “Paper Airplane Design” (grades 3–8).