Hamilton Andrewletterpress1

The Life of Books, a Student Project with AR

This post is a practical follow up on Unpacking My Library: The Book in Augmented Reality post from Hamilton College.

The book made by the first-year students in Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature Andrew Rippeon’s Unpacking My Library course is now viewable. (To view the augmented reality elements of this book using HP Reveal, follow instructions below.)

Under Rippeon’s mentorship, students designed and wrote the book, used the letterpress lab to create the cover, and used augmented reality (AR) to link images and video into the experience of the book. Rippeon writes:

The book as a whole compiles student writing across the semester (every essay and exercise is represented, but these have been revised and trimmed by the students for content and context). During the last several weeks of the semester, and in parallel with other individual and group projects, students worked in small groups on various aspects of the project: a Research Group compiled our timeline and wrote introductory and concluding statements; an Editorial Group collected and compiled various pieces of writing from their fellow students; a Design Group worked on layout and executed the actual physical covers by letterpress; a Documentation Group collected photographs and film recording our various activities and trips during the semester; and an “AR-Group” (Augmented-Reality) worked to develop and deploy AR overlays onto the physical book.

In an interesting blending of the physical and digital aspects of the book, the AR cues (the images or glyphs at the head of each piece of writing) were in fact printed letterpress in another project, and then scanned and digitally inserted into this book.  So the AR cues are in fact digital manipulations of material elements. As a hybrid object—including the process of its construction, the writing and revising that went into the book, the AR additions (and challenges) to the book, and the experiential activities the book document—the book represents the students thinking both collaboratively and on their own about the history of the book as we’ve explored it, and its possible futures (even and especially in an increasingly digital and digitized environment).

To view the augmented reality elements of this book, please:

  1. Download HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma) from the iTunes or Google Play Stores.
  2. The app will open to the Viewer. Tap the search icon at the bottom of the view screen to get to the Explore page, at the bottom of which you’ll find another search icon that will take you to the Search page.
  3. Search for rid.hamilton. From the results, select rid.hamilton’s Public Auras, and click follow.
  4. Return to the HP Reveal Viewer to explore the book.

For the HP Reveal viewer to register the glyphs in the PDF embedded above, enter fullscreen or zoom in.

Note: The AR features 2D scans created using the HP Sprout Pro G2. The 3D scans which students took with the Sprout for this project did not end up being used in AR; some of them can be found on Remix3D. We used PUB HTML5 to create the flip book embedded here.