Adventures in Augmented Reality with TEDxKyoto

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TEDxKyoto Interactive Team –
Eric Hawkinson, Martin Stack, and Erin Noxon: Adventures in Augmented reality

Whether you know it or not, augmented reality is part of your daily landscape. It may seem like a fancy term, or something far-fetched, but when is the last time you used your tablet or smartphone to tell you where you were? Where you’re going? What to eat? The meaning of a sign or notice?

To augment something simply means to make something greater by adding something to it. Reality, is — well — reality. The state of things as they actually exist. Humans have been trying to improve reality as long as we have understood that it was possible, using whatever tools we have at hand. These days we have a lot of technology. In fact, many of us wouldn’t leave home without our own personal mini-supercomputer, a.k.a. smartphone.

Recently Eric (Associate Professor of Learning Design and Technology at Seibi University and Interactive team lead at TEDxKyoto), Martin (Associate Professor at The University of Shiga Prefecture), and Erin Noxon (Sagano High School) presented a wonderful explanation of the concept and what they are doing with it at the IAFOR Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom 2015 (ACTC2015) in Kobe, Japan.

Martin Stack


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Here is a link, you should watch the whole thing:

But I’ll summarize: The bottom line is that AR is additive, it is a way for people to use the technology they have to more fully engage with the world around them. Mobile apps, overlaid information, reviews, menus, prices, links, and more are available at a click or a swipe. QR codes are everywhere, you can go to museums all over the world and extract more information – and education – than ever before.

In their presentation they teach us that AR is different from ‘virtual reality’, like in a video game where the ‘world’ is completely artificial. With AR we are using the reality we have all around us. The ubiquity of computers with cameras and GPS data (again, the smartphone is the most common example) make augmented reality a winning idea, with specifically beneficial applications in business, tourism, and education.

You’ve all seen digital displays for pilots and car navigation systems. This is AR. Recently the man, woman, and child on the street can benefit from AR in regards to navigation, translation, tagging images, and more, using their tablets, phones, and wearable technology. Eric has been making it a reality in the world of education, classrooms, and textbooks.

Now the Interactive Team of TEDxKyoto is using AR to get participants engaged with the speakers, venue, and partners. Check it out. As with the introduction of all new technologies, the innovators and early adopters are steering the mainstream into a new age where we are more connected than ever before, which stands to benefit us all.

You can see more about Eric’s projects on his website ( and you can also find more information on augmented reality and the ARientation project at