AR Gets Educational With The ARchive LAPL App Featured At AWE 2014!

Ben Lee

Ben Lee

CEO and Co-founder of Neon Roots

Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Neon Roots, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.

Recently Neon Roots had the pleasure of working alongside some incredibly bright minds at USC Annenberg to develop an augmented reality app for the Los Angeles Public Library.  The ARchive LAPL iOS app has now officially launched on iTunes and was featured last month at the Augmented World Expo!

The ARchive LAPL app gave us a chance to not only innovate in the world of AR but to put the tech toward an incredibly worthy cause.  It’s an opportunity that any Los Angeles mobile app development shop would have jumped at, and we’re lucky that we got to be a part of it.

archive laplLast month the Augmented World Expo (AWE) landed in Santa Clara for its fifth year.  It brought together innovators ranging from startup entrepreneurs like Thalmic ,who unveiled a forearm strap that can translate hand gestures into virtual reality actions, to the hottest Fortune 500 companies including Epson, who was there showcasing their latest 3D glasses that allowed users to build a Lego helicopter with virtual instructions.  The conference included over 200 exhibitors, doubling in size since past years, and the minds behind ARchive were there to show off the new app.

Augmented reality has risen from simply being an eye-catching gimmick to a force for unrivaled immersion, especially in the field of education.  In the fall of 2013, the AR storytelling and Journalism class at USC Annenberg worked on a semester-long project to make the wealth of information available at the LA Public Library interactive and accessible to a new generation.  Through the latest augmented reality technology they planned to promote community and expand art appreciation, and that’s exactly what they did.

From the ARchive iTunes description:
You find yourself with a scanning device that has the capability of seeing into a parallel reality; existing among us in this same space, though invisible to most. The outside world appears to be quite normal through the Scanner. Yet some places, crowded with history, keeps silent weeps and whispers hidden between the nostalgia of old statues and dusty books. Places like the downtown library, is said to hold confused shadows and vestiges of smoke and guilt blending into the echoes of its great halls and corridors. Keep your eyes open. Be alert. Be curious.

The class’s original AR experience was designed using Metaio’s Creator platform, a go-to way for users to drag and drop content for a rich AR experience with no programming required.  Creator allows for mobile app development on multi-platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows.  It also offers flexible and affordable application licensing options which included ARchive’s original release on Junaio.  Ultimately, the class wanted a standalone app, however, and that’s where Neon Roots came in.

Collaborating closely with the students and instructor, we guided them through designing and producing the app that is now available to the masses.  The students went to great lengths to tell the story of the historic fire that broke out in the library through extensive research and interviews, and together we were able to bring that story to life in an interactive environment.  The ARchive app also gives exciting and eye-opening details on the library’s collection of rare books, sculptures, and displays through 3D models and galleries triggered throughout the building.

A lot of dedication and hard work went into creating the app.  We hope you’ll check it out and experience the Los Angeles Public Library like you never have before.  You can download the iOS app HERE.

To learn more about the Metaio Creator and what it can do for you, you can contact Victoria.Rowley@metaio.com for more information.  And as always we’re here at Neon Roots if you have questions about developing a mobile app or anything other great tech idea you may have.  You can contact us anytime.