// what do you think?


Weekend Ethnographic Research: Handheld Devices and Augmented Reality #WERPI

Augmented Reality Board GameI probably drive my family crazy because every outing turns into field research. This last weekend I tried a little experiment. Knowing I was going out with my family to the Pacific Science Center to see the amazing Star Wars exhibit they have, I knew I would be doing a little research while I was out. So I invited anyone else participate with me. Using the hashtag #WERPI (Weekend Ethnographic Research Project for Innovators) anyone could post photo’s and observations of what they saw over the weekend.

This was our first weekend doing this and I’ll continue to encourage people to join in every weekend and we’ll see where this goes.

And as promised, here’s my observations from my weekend out. I posted all of my pictures to Flickr and to Posterous and have embedded two different Flickr sets below.

Augmented Reality Star Wars Board Game

This was the most interesting one to me. Large monitors with cameras read different cards as different objects in the game and in each case you had a certain amount of time to optimize an environment. In one case you had to manage a water farm (this was Star Wars remember) by positioning the water evaporators optimally and adjust them as bantha herds walked past, occasionally damaging your water evaporators. You’d then have to deploy your droid card to repair the evaporators.

What amazed me was how immersed the kids became with something as simple as little cardboard cards the size of drink coasters. The cards would easily be reused with another piece of software for a whole other game.

But what really got my mind going was the possibility of mobile AR and games. Couldn’t you encode real objects and build a program that allowed you to optimize real life environments or work out math problems in real life. I know I found it much easier to learn as a kid when I could apply what I was learning in the real world. There’s so many possibilities with AR and gaming that I won’t even try and cover them all.

In fact if @prgeek’s response to Sony’s 3D TV’s is any indication, I would say Augmented Reality has a brighter future than 3D TV’s (he’s not a fan of the glasses).

Handheld Devices: Video and Photo Capture

It’s always a little weird taking pictures of people, taking pictures, so that’s why a lot of these are a little blurry. While it’s no big surprise that people are taking a lot more pictures and video with their phones, after last weeks discussion about why the Flip was killed and how much could camera phones be to blame, here were the things that jumped out to me:

  • I saw one grandmother taking video with her phone and this was one demographic I would have assumed was an ideal Flip customer, maybe I was wrong there.
  • By far most people were taking pictures with their phones. I was actually a little surprised by how many dedicated picture and video devices there were. I imagine this was because people knew there would be a lot of photo opps.
  • Even my wife, who brought her Cannon ended up using her camera phone quite a bit in order to share pictures on Instagram as well as text pictures to her younger brothers who she knew would be jealous.


What about you, did you have any observations this weekend? If you missed out this weekend, don’t worry we’ll try this again next weekend.


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About Tac

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.

  • http://sorebuttcheeks.blogspot.com/ steroids

    stars wars style holo chess would be cool using ar

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