Aurasma · Mobile Technology · QR Codes

QR codes and Augmented Reality (Aurasma)

On Wednesday 9th May I attended a JISC RSC Eastern training session on QR codes and Augmented reality at the University Campus Suffolk. I attended with Tracey Tutt and Karen Milam from New Media, and Blake McCulloch from the Startup Lounge.

QR Codes:


The morning session was dedicated to looking at QR codes, and how they can be used to encourage interactive and location based learning. We were all familiar with the technology itself, i.e. how to create QR codes and how to access them from a Smartphone, but it was interesting to get ideas on new ways of using the codes.

 Suggestions from our discussions:
  • Ensure you link to something which is easily readable on a small device
  • Include the url on the poster etc for those who don’t have a QR code reader
  • Use to shorten urls before creating the QR code
  • Good for location based activities, e.g. a poster placed in a specific location, explaining more about the location than can be seen with the naked eye
  • Good for using in a treasure hunt, moving from location to location.
  • One library had a card on each desk, with an informative QR code on one side, and a fun one on the other side, and regularly changed them.
  • Good for using to link to feedback forms.
  • Use a service like icandy to see analytics for scanned QR codes
  • Could use to create a library tour with a series of QR codes. Could do one colour of QR codes fo FE students, and another colour for HE students.
  • NB Need to check Chris Smith’s Blackboard poll results for Smartphone usage
  • Need to remind students that data transmission charges may apply if they are not signed onto college wifi.

Augmented reality (Aurasma):


The afternoon session looked at augmented reality, specifically using software developed by Aurasma.


To quote our favourite source (Wikipedia), augmented reality is “a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data”. To see this in practice, see the clip below of someone pointing their Smartphone (with Aurasma app) at a DVD:

Aurasma is owned by Autonomy, which has just been bought by Hewlett Packard for £7billion, so is hopefully here to stay! It is free to “reskin” an Aurasma app into your own app, i.e. Aurasma will create a branded app for you. UCS have created their own Aurasma app, both for Andriod and iPhone, called UCS Connect. Sadly my phone has an old version of Andriod, so wouldn’t work, but luckily there were iPads on hand to try out the technology (time for me to get a new smartphone me thinks!).
In a nutshell, Aurasma enables you to point a smartphone at a poster, which then springs to life into a video, audio or weblink, otherwise known as an “aura”. These are free and easy to create –  you save the original image, and then create a video which layers over the image. The best way is for me to show you all at some point. And unlike a QR code, the video results are instant, no need to click a URL to be sent off to a YouTube clip. This also make the app accessibility friendly, no need to type fiddly urls, and less clicks to complete.
Suggestions from our discussions:

  • Good for demonstrating how things work – i.e. point your photo at a printer, and it will play a video of how to retrieve your printing.

  • Get learners to create auras to show learning.

  • No need to be online to view previously viewed auras.
  • Good to have a poster with a QR code, aura and url, so that as many people as possible can access the extra information.
Things to note:
  • A non-developer account only lets you forward auras to Facebook, email and Twitter friends.
  • Anyone can request a developer account for free.
  • To view auras, either:
  1. Get the app, and then subscribe to the channel, e.g. CCN
  2. Get the skinned app, view the auras straight away. However, this could mean a different app for every channel you are interested in.
  3. Can set time restrictions on how long an aura can be viewed.
  4. Aurasma are working on connecting to live freeds, e.g. Twitter
Any questions – just ask,


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