Next-Level Libraries: Augmenting the Library Experience | LibraryAR

Using cloud recognition and image targets to upgrade the library book selection process.

When I was in first grade I read a book every day. I LOVED digging into different worlds through the carefully ordered words on the pages of the books I chose on my weekly library visits.

I was basically a 7-year-old Belle. I LOVED books & I LOVED libraries 📚

If this isn’t a book worm in a gif I don’t know what is.

Fast forward to the present and I no longer read a book everyday. This is mainly because I focus more time on other commitments (school, tks, writing articles + poetry, etc.)

So as a result, I don’t end up going to the library as often and if I end up reading a book I usually gravitate towards digital copies because we now live in a digital age where resources like books are readily available at our fingertips.

On my latest visit to the library I realized:

Scenario a. You walk into the library spend unreasonable amounts of time walking around in search for a specific book you’re looking for, only to get to the book shelf and realize it’s not even there.

Scenario b. You walk into the library with no direction and end up spending hours browsing hundreds of shelves just to find the right book.

So I realized it’s time to give libraries a futuristic makeover!!

My excitement for this project 🎉

Introducing:

Recently, I started learning how to build augmented reality applications and when I realized that our current libraries need a tech spin I knew augmented reality would be a perfect component.

I decided to build Library AR an augmented reality application that can be used in augmented reality glasses (which aren’t perfect yet, but they’re slowly advancing) and other devices (iPads, phones, etc.).

You might be wondering why do we need to upgrade our libraries? People still go to libraries?

YES! People still go to libraries. In fact, there were over 1.38 BILLION public library visits in 2015 (Study) worldwide. Which makes sense to me because digital books can’t beat the experience of a physical book (yet → tech is advancing, who knows what the future holds 😊).

Building Library AR

This AR app was my FIRST-EVER augmented reality application that I built on my own.

I used the Unity design engine in combination with Vuforia development tools.

The first step was to create a cloud database on Vuforia and add data.

I created a Licence Key called: “Library AR”. The licence key is pasted into the Unity engine, so the app can recognize the data.

In this case, I added pictures of the books I wanted to train the database to recognize for the beta version of my app.

I uploaded the images of the covers of the books to my database.

I added a bunch of unicorn 🦄(unicorns are people who impact a billion+ people) books, here are the two I used in this mini tutorial:

A book from the Canadian astronaut who has logged the most hours in space walks.
A classic TKS (The Knowledge Society) student read.

Next, I created objects on Unity that would act as “Image Targets” and customized them as panels for each book.

The image targets I created ^^

I created “cubes” that are the panel background. I set these cubes and all of the details on them to the licence keys of the books in my cloud database.

Next, I added “textures.” These are what give the panels they’re background image or texture.

I also added text to display the book descriptions and any other insights.

The final step was to set the panels to the licence keys of the books and make adjustments to the placement of the panels in relation to the books.

The final product was an easy-to-use augmented reality platform that could be used in libraries all over the world to augment the book choosing experience.

Panels appear parallel to book covers. They give quick summaries of the book and in the future can offer other insights. For example, in combination with an ML model that recognizes reader interests and book picks to offer an insight on how much a reader would enjoy the book.

TL;DR:

  • Augmented reality is an awesome technology that we can use to augment the library experience
  • With tools like Unity + Vuforia and AR components like image targets + cloud recognition it’s easy to create AR experiences

Looking back to my 1st grade visits to the library augmented reality is going to completely disrupt the way we choose our books!

In combination with other exponential technologies like robotic arms, AI models, etc., augmented reality will help change the way spend time at our libraries and simplify the book choosing experience. This means less time looking for the books we love and more time reading them 😎

Augmenting libraries is just one more step in the right direction to an augmented future and I can’t wait to see what else we’ll augmented next!

This library looks super futuristic — mad respect for to the architects who designed this 🙌 Now add AR and other tech + this is the best library ever!

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Thanks for reading! Now go change the world! ❤

18 y/o researching closed-loop systems for earth + space.

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