Did you give a try to the Inquirer AR (artificial reality) app introduced in Sunday's special Barnes Museum section? It's getting an undeservedly bad rap!
The first user comments found posted in the iPhone/iPad App Store suggest this high tech tool for enhancing your print reading experience doesn't work. But the only thing that didn't work for me was the ability to add my own positive comments in the App Store. What's up with that, developers?
The naysayers clearly didn't read the instructions (spelled out in the Inky yesterday but not in the app) about how the Aurasma AR technology works in practice. This ain't rocket science. Once you've installed the free Inquirer AR app on your camera-equipped iPhone or iPad, you look for a photo or advertisement in the paper that has a little gothic "I" symbol in the corner. You then point your Apple device's camera lens at the same image. A few seconds later a companion video starts playing on the Apple screen and speakers.
Here comes the HARD part. You have to TAP TWICE on the screen, AFTER the video starts to play, so you can then move your iPhone or iPad away from the page and continue to watch the mini-production. If you DON'T tap twice, the video stops as soon as you move the device's lens away from the coded image.
Oh, and to then get the video to stop running, you DOUBLE TAP on the screen again.
There's also the option with some of the triggered mini-videos/commercials to then jump to a connected website - like the busy home page of the National Constitution Center. To perform this feat, tap just ONCE on the website bar in the corner of the video. Tap twice and the magic trick doesn't work.
Best of the AR multi-media editorial enhancements was a short video about art collector Albert Barnes' mindset and critical drubbing for digging the (then new) impressionist art movement. I also appreciated a rotating room view illustrating how the new museum echos the packed-with-stuff exhibit style of the old Barnes Museum in Merion.
Most effective of the advertisements buying in to the AR tech were previews of the Chinese performing arts spectacle Shen Yun 2012 and the Jeanne Radley Dance Company, an introduction to the Keswick Theatre tied to a display ad of upcoming shows, an upscale pitch by Long & Foster Real Estate, a WHYY teaser for its upcoming (in August) Barnes documentary and an offbeat wedding photo spread shot by Susan Bear Design at the Rosemont train station. Very cute.
Not just limited to Inquirer content, the same Apple app lets you create your own Aurasma AR channel. And view channels posted by others. Already up are sites that super-impose iconic film figures and comic book characters at famous Philly locations when you visit the sites in person. Venture to Geno's Steaks and match up the Aurasma-posted image for Buzz Lightyear to land. Point your iPhone camera at the facade of Betsy Ross House and Fred Astaire will pop up and (hopefully) start dancing.