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Article Released Thu-3rd-July-2008 01:39 GMT
Contact: May-Chiun Lo Institution: Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
 Augmented Reality: The Future of Education Technology

Unlike Virtual Reality (VR) that aims at replacing the perception of the world with an artificial one, Augmented Reality (AR) has the goal of enhancing a person's perception of the surrounding world. Being partly virtual and real, the new interface technology of AR can revolutionise education.

Ng Giap Weng
Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development

Unlike Virtual Reality (VR) that aims at replacing the perception of the world with an artificial one, Augmented Reality (AR) has the goal of enhancing a person's perception of the surrounding world. Being partly virtual and real, the new interface technology of AR which is able to display relevant information at the appropriate time and location, offers many potential applications; these include aiding in education, training, repair or maintenance, manufacturing, medicine, battlefield, games and entertainment.

AR has many advantages over traditional manual-based and VR models in training and learning applications because users can see and touch the real objects, and at the same time have an interactive guided support to allow the users to work at their own pace. This support includes highlighting and sequencing specific objects in the users' field of view, depending on the task and the users' experience, or presentation of documentation. Furthermore, it would be possible for a remote expert to provide assistance by controlling the information displayed by the system.

The combination of AR technology with the education contents gives birth to a new type of automated applications and act to enhance the effectiveness and attractiveness of teaching and learning for students in a real life scene. The technology provides a simple way of progressing to the teaching, learning and training in education. It promotes ‘active’ training, both in the psychological and physical sense, and will encourage the users to have diverse thinking perspectives, which should prepare them better for their other day-to-day activities.

The Augmented Reality Group has actively explored this new technology in various applications and has won various national awards for its effort, such as APICTA 2007 Merit Award in the Best Tertiary Student Project (Creative Multimedia), third place in the Best of Education and Training categories, Gold and Bronze medals in Malaysia Technology Expo (MTE 2007), top 6 research project in MSC Malaysia Mobile Interactive Content Competition 2007.

The AR group is currently involved in a number of university-industry research collaboration projects, such as Augmented Reality Road Sign Recognition System using Finger as Input Device (MOSTI), Innovative Learning using Augmented Technology (MIMOS Berhad), Augmented Toys Technology (ATTech) (Multimedia Development Corporation Sdn. Bhd, MDeC), Intelligent Augmented Reality Finger Tracking System (UNIMAS), AR Animation Games (Cubic Engineering Sdn Bhd), Knowledge-Based Augmented Reality for Education and Training (Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council).

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