Seeing the Past: Augmented Reality and Computer Vision in History
Rob MacDougall and Timothy Compeau – Tecumseh Returns: A History Game in Alternate and Augmented Reality
Tecumseh Lies Here is an educational game experience designed to teach critical historical thinking while exploring the history of the War of 1812. Hundreds of Ontario students in grades six, seven, and eight have taken part in the revised version of the game. In this chapter we describe the evolution and execution of Tecumseh Lies Here and compare the strengths and weaknesses of both versions. While our original ARG proved memorable and intense, it would not have been feasible for many schools or heritage institutions to reproduce. We hope that the revised Tecumseh Lies Here, built around replayable materials and using off-the-shelf AR tools, may offer a model for powerful educational experiences that can challenge students to tackle complex historical questions at an early age.
Devon Elliott and William Turkel – Faster than the Eye: Using Computer Vision to Explore Sources in the History of Stage Magic
Computer vision provides new ways to analyze primary sources that complement and supplement traditional techniques of image analysis. This chapter will discuss the use of optical character recognition, face recognition, and other image processing techniques on a large collection of early-twentieth-century periodicals for magicians. These techniques were used to automatically extract, classify and visualize 40,000 advertisements, drawings, and photographs, providing a synoptic view of the way that imagery used by a particular community changed over time. It will conclude by explaining why historians of all kinds might find a similar approach to image mining to be useful.
Caitlin Fisher and Andrew Roth – Building Augmented Reality Freedom Stories
In collaboration with the Harriet Tubman Institute the Augmented Reality Lab at York University constructed new tools for sharing previously untold stories from the underground railroad and the war of 1812. Evaluated in the Ontario school curriculum, 30 flash cards are freely available for download and use in the classroom. The early version of the app is an open source web based tool that can be used to create 3D popup vignettes using 2D images and videos. Pedagogical methodologies are discussed as well as iterative research creation strategies used to build AR experiences in a collaborate environment.
Sean Gouglas – Telling Histories with Augmented Reality Games
How can we design games for learning about history? The accessibility of smartphones with GPS has made it possible to design games that can be played in the community giving historians new ways to tell stories about place. Such Augmented Reality Games (ARGs) add information to the player’s reality so that they can see their surroundings through their smartphone with an added layer of annotation or interaction. In this paper we will introduce an ARG platform we have developed, describe the games we have developed with it, and discuss how we evaluated the games. Specifically we will: 1. Discuss the fAR-Play platform for developing “adventures”. We will discuss the underlying technologies and the current interface. 2. Discuss the Campus Mysteries and other experiments along with results of our assessment of those experiments. 3. Discuss future directions, in particular the opportunities for creating virtual exhibits.
Shawn Graham and Stuart Eve – Historical Friction: Using Auditory Augmented Reality for Creating Sense of Place
“History is all around us. The voices of the past thicken the air, calling out for your attention. When it all gets too much, pull the ear-buds out, stop, and look at where you are with fresh eyes, in the new silence…” Augmented reality, as currenty instantiated, for the most part focuses on the visual through clumsy interfaces with mobile devices. This paper suggests that that a better way to ‘visualize’ history is to focus on augmenting ambient sound, tying the annotated geography of Wikipedia to physical location through earbuds. A prototype will be presented, allowing us to hear the thickness, the discords, of history. The presentation will explore the cognitive loads of various kinds of augmented reality, and the pyschology of immersion, and the findings of user interface design to suggest that, for history at least, aural augmented reality is a more effective way of writing history in physical space than the visual.
Edward Jones-Imhotep and William Turkel- Image Mining for the History of Electronics and Computing
This chapter describes some preliminary work on the use of computer vision / image processing techniques to automatically extract and classify images that appear in the mid-20th-century literature on electronics. These images include photographs, schematics, graphs, drawings and equations. The techniques will help identify non-standard ways of representing electronics, helping to recapture some the historical variation in electronic visual culture in the twentieth century. Our larger argument relates methodological issues of image mining and classification to the central role played by pictorial information in the practice of electronics.
Kevin Kee and Eric Poitras and Tim Compeau- History All Around Us: Towards Best Practices for Augmented Reality for History
This chapter is organized in three parts. In part one, the authors draw on the digital humanities to form conclusions about best practices for AR design and development with a focus on two iPhone applications which introduce visitors to the history of the villages of Queenston and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada. In part two, the authors draw on social science theory and methodology to provide a preliminary report on the testing of these apps. The authors note that while development of these kinds of digital environments is now commonplace, rigorous testing for learning within these applications is less common. In part three, the authors reflect on how the imminent arrival of commercial augmented reality platforms such as Google Glass will transform the ways that digital historians develop and use ubiquitous computing and augmented reality for history.
Kari Kraus – Augmented Reality in the Service of Educational Alternate Reality Games
This presentation will overview several augmented reality apps currently being developed under the auspices of two large-scale Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) funded by the National Science Foundation. A joint endeavor between Brigham Young University and the University of Maryland in partnership with NASA, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Computer History Museum, the games are designed to appeal to youth aged 13-17. Both games are historical and scientific in character. The AR apps are intended to help authentically embed learning activities into the fictional storyworlds. Two apps designed for the first game, for example, trade on the notion of DNA as a long-term storage medium for archival records. One allows players to encrypt messages to posterity by manipulating nucleotide and amino sequences. The other simulates fMRI technology, which players can use to translate brain signals into images, viewing enigmatic fragments of a lost alien civilization.
Ian Milligan – Exploring Web Archives Through Tens of Thousands of Images
What could you learn from tens of thousands of historical images? My broader research explores the files that run the Internet Archive’s WaybackMachine, WebARChive files, and in this paper I explore their graphical content. Drawing on a sample of 41,542,172 websites from twelve top-level domains, I extract images. From montages we can see overall contours: for example, .cn websites contain more consumer pictures, clipart, and computer-generated images than the .ca domain, which is disproportionately comprised of digital photography of individuals. I subsequently run images through other processes: including arranging orthogonally, and extracting faces through Mathematica’s facial recognition technology. The work has two goals. Firstly, to show the potential inherent in working with the files that drive the WaybackMachine, and to thus support the release of more data. Secondly, to explore the implications of a historical record that allows so much seeing: millions of faces, photographs, and user-generated content.
Bethany Nowviskie and Wayne Graham – Seeing Swinburne
Scholarly editing, in a literary context, involves the painstaking examination of scores of printed and hand-written documents for minute textual differences, in an effort to understand, represent, and sometimes combat change over time—the accidental and intentional transformations history wreaks on poetry and prose. These processes are physical as much as intellectual, and so is the work of the bibliographer; but you’d never know it to look at our scholarly editions—particularly at contemporary digital editions, which are stuck in 1990s paradigms of design interaction. Our project takes the physicality of bibliography and textual criticism as its subject and invites readers and fellow editors to reach out, and step away from their desks. An in-progress scholarly edition of Swinburne’s scandal-rocked and fundamentally-unstable Poems and Ballads (1866) becomes a playground for tablet-based presentation, augmented-reality interaction, and experimentation with textual collation and the work of scholarly editing using immersive VR.
Geoffrey Rockwell – Telling Histories with Augmented Reality Games
How can we design games for learning about history? The accessibility of smartphones with GPS has made it possible to design games that can be played in the community giving historians new ways to tell stories about place. Such Augmented Reality Games (ARGs) add information to the player’s reality so that they can see their surroundings through their smartphone with an added layer of annotation or interaction. In this paper we will introduce an ARG platform we have developed, describe the games we have developed with it, and discuss how we evaluated the games. Specifically we will: 1. Discuss the fAR-Play platform for developing “adventures”. We will discuss the underlying technologies and the current interface. 2. Discuss the Campus Mysteries and other experiments along with results of our assessment of those experiments. 4. Discuss future directions, in particular the opportunities for creating virtual exhibits.
Jentery Sayers – A Computer’s Vision of Modernist Journals
In fields such as digital humanities, most “distant reading” projects rely on text-based approaches to literature and culture. But, following Lev Manovich and others, what if the object of distant reading is instead a collection of images? Using the Modernist Journals Project’s (http://www.modjourn.org/) repository of digitized journals (1896-1922) as an example, this essay unpacks several responses to that very question, with an emphasis on the tensions and overlaps between human- and computer-based readings of modernist visual culture.