Island University Professor Revolutionizes Museum Visit with Augmented Reality App

Published: November 02, 2017

Island University Professor Revolutionizes Museum Visit with Augmented Reality App

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Cell phone technology is once again revolutionizing the way we experience the world around us. For example, a visit to the Art Museum of South Texas (AMST) is no longer just a casual walk through the exhibits – it’s now an interactive, immersive experience thanks to an app called IDET ARTS. Click here to download.

IDET ARTS was created by Dr. David Squires, Assistant Professor in the Master of Science Program in Instructional Design and Educational Technology (IDET) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. IDET ARTS uses Augmented Reality (AR) which can be defined as interactive, programmable content, including multimedia like custom videos content, audio clips, virtual tours and 3D graphics that are overlaid or superimposed onto other digital media or real-life content and locations. ARTS standings for Augmented Reality Transmedia Storytelling.

“The IDET ARTS app is an extension of many years of personal research and development work with AR and the potential impact ‘digital overlay technology’ may have on working memory performance and cognition in relation to training and learning environments,” said Squires, who noted IDET ARTS is the first app created with a focus on art in the Coastal Bend.

“The benefits of AR technology are that it can increase interest and participation for museum visitors of all ages,” said Squires. “It aligns resources and technology to help increase excitement and interpretation of art pieces.”

AMST has incorporated the use of the IDET ARTS app into its 10-piece exhibition called “Digital Darkroom.” If a user holds up their iOS device loaded with the IDET ARTS app, it will recognize the piece of art in “Digital Darkroom” and will launch interactive audio content and an audio tour, explaining the artwork and techniques used to create it.

“IDET ARTS has the potential to adapt a static canvas into a lively object and rich learning tool,” said Karol Stewart, AMST Coordinator of Community Services. “It’s like having a tour guide in your hand, and moving through the exhibition at your pace. If you missed something, you can replay the recording as many times as you would like. This current version is just the beginning of the IDET ARTS app. In the future, the app will create even more immersive user experiences to include, video, animations, and other techniques to make your visit to the Art Museum extraordinary.”

Future goals of the IDET ARTS app at the AMST include increasing the art offerings available in the app, both in the permanent collection and future exhibits. The greater goal, says Squires, is to create a citywide IDET ARTS platform that will be deployed to serve in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) development for greater public engagement, and deeper learning in informal STEAM learning. This would include partnership with local parks and area Head Start programs.

“The future vision of IDET ARTS is an inclusive research community that examines the multifaceted issues in and approaches to web-based and face-to-face informal STEAM learning for students and their families,” said Squires. “Our guiding purpose is to better serve learners of all ages and their families – particularly those from the traditionally underrepresented and economically disadvantaged urban schools."

The Instructional Design and Educational Technology program coordinator, Dr. Susan Elwood, along with Squires, also plan to involve Islander graduate students in providing STEAM enriched content and activities that will be supported by the IDET ARTS app.

The IDET ARTS app will be officially introduced to AMST’s members and visitors during the Free Family Day on Sunday, Nov. 5, at the AMST from 1-3 p.m. AMST staff encourage users to download the app before arriving to the museum, as the download process benefits from a strong WIFI connection. The app is designed for all ages and is currently only available for iOS users with an iPhone or iPad.