As fans of history, we here at Layar see Augmented Reality as an amazing tool for learning more about the past. Already, layers like the Berlin Wall layer allow people to see history come alive through 3D models.
Another fascinating example of this type of Augmented Reality is in the works as part of a collaboration between Lightning Laboratories’ Gene Becker and Stanford University Knight Fellow Adriano Farano. Becker, who is focused on experience design for blending physical and digital storytelling, and Farano, who is looking to find ways to use AR in journalism, have been experimenting with historical photographs in Layar and Hoppala, a tool for creating Layar content.
By making historical photographs viewable as objects within Layar at the locations where they were taken, viewers can achieve a better grasp on history - and the early tests by Becker and Farano look very intriguing.
The pair chose to use historical photos of Stanford as their first test images - specifically those from before a massive earthquake in 1906. Several parts of the old campus were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake, and the evidence of missing architecture comes alive through Augmented Reality.
In the example above, the square structure on the right of the picture is actually the base of the right leg of the arch in the old photograph. Memorial Arch, as it was known, had to be demolished due to damage it received during the earthquake. In another example, a present-day statue is revealed to be the same as one which plunged through a sidewalk after being knocked from its perch during the quake.
The great thing about historical photographs is that there are millions of them in libraries and archives around the world, and dropping them into Layar is not terribly difficult. With Layar Creation Tools like Hoppala (which we will be profiling later this week), this process is even easier. We are excited to see what else Becker and Farano can create with further experiments!