Life Augmented

Stories used to be read; now they can be heard too.

Auburn Magazine is going interactive in a big way thanks to the power of augmented reality. Similar to virtual reality, AR can transform anything into a multimedia ensemble through TigerView, a free app available on all smartphones.

Once considered something of a gimmick, useful only for advanced pilot training and video games like “Pokemon Go,” this technology is fast becoming one of the best communication tools available today. Videos, other images, slideshows, charts, graphs, audio files and more can be triggered anytime, anywhere from your phone.

“The goal was to take what was considered a novelty and make it useful in business,” said John McNutt ’95, founder and principal of Auburn-based advertising agency McNutt & Partners. “The barriers to virtual reality are the equipment costs; the benefit of this is, everyone already has a smartphone device, all you have to do is download the free app that we provide and they’re ready to go.”

McNutt and his team have paired image recognition software with a cloud streaming service, allowing additional related content to be accessed from any pre-linked image or object.

As Leslie Parsons ’90 points out, it’s a fantastic way to deliver “a totality of content.” 

“The impetus for us to develop it was the ‘Auburn Speaks’ series produced by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, in conjunction with the the Miller Writing Center and the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities,” said Parsons, Assistant Director of Business Operations for External Engagement and Support. “It wasn’t just an anthology of research headlines; we say “the story behind the story” because you got to hear the voice of the researcher talking about their work and why it was important to them, what motivated them personally, told in their own words.”

Parsons and McNutt became aware of augmented reality in the fall of 2013 during the course of producing “Auburn Speaks” and immediately knew they had found a medium that could combine printed research with digital media.

Though McNutt & Partners produced the augmented reality pieces for “Auburn Speaks,” anyone can design their own video and bring it to External Engagement and Support to have it paired with an image or object to function as a trigger. McNutt says the goal is to make TigerView the central hub for all Auburn-related augmented reality projects, a virtual channel for multimedia content accessible all in one place.

For Parsons, the opportunities are virtually endless—imagine narrated historical tours around Auburn, interactive exhibits at the art museum, talking Christmas cards and more.

“We developed it broadly enough for anyone who wants to use it,” said Parsons. “The nice thing about augmented reality is, if a picture is worth a thousand words, how many do you think
a video is worth?”

Steps

Follow these instructions to unlock the augmented reality video hidden behind our cover and throughout the magazine. Look for the TigerView icon on the bottom of a page to see an image come to life.

1

Download TigerView by AU from the app store on your smartphone or tablet

2

Open the application and press the “View Now” option

3

Hold your phone over an image until it’s completely on the screen. The TigerView logo should come up, signaling the AR ‘trigger’ has been recognized. Your video will play momentarily!