Cannonball

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American Civil War Augmented Reality Project

Reenactors clash at the 2010 Whitehall Civil War Days near Allentown, Pa. Photo by Prof. Scott L. Mingus, Jr.


New Cumberland, Pa.-based Jeff Mummert is an educator associated with Hershey High School and York College of Pennsylvania. He and some partners have an ambitious plan to develop a new cutting edge, high tech way of presenting the Civil War to this generation of techno-savvy consumers. Jeff is a Yorker, and one of his colleagues is a teacher in the local Red Lion school district.
The idea is to develop a virtual software-based viewing system that can help transport the viewer back in time to what the battlefields may have looked like to help augment the experience. It’s a very cool idea that needs some very modest capital to get started. Have a look!

Click here
to view their website.
Here is some commentary from Jeff explaining the project.


“This Augmented Reality application will allow users with iPhones and Android devices (digital compass required) to view the relative locations of points of interest when holding their device in any particular direction. It is also possible to view 3D models and images projected on the landscape, and possible to track the arrival of users in particular locations. This tracking is quite useful in creating interactive contests, and can also be used to give rewards to the user (coupons, images and models that can only be viewed after completing a task). If, for example, a user completes a task and is rewarded with the ability to view a 3D model, the user can snap a picture of the model with his or her device (even including his or herself in the picture). Users may also be able to unlock “secret” sites and collect images of them for bragging rights.”The Civil War Augmented Reality Project was conceived by several public educators with technology experience and a desire to offer more interactivity to students and the general public visiting historic sites.”
The objective of the project is to develop and implement augmented reality services related to the American Civil War in Pennsylvania, and to modify soon to be released tablet personal computers to allow the general public a chance to experience the applications. The project’s inception is planned to give ample development time in the run up to the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, beginning in 2011. It is hoped that early support could generate interest in Maryland and Virginia.
We also propose to construct stationary devices patterned after the “pay binoculars” often found at scenic overlooks. These devices will offer a virtual geographic view from a few hundred yards above the user. Physically swiveling the viewer left and right changes the direction of the view in real time, just as swiveling up and down changes the view. The intuitive nature of the device is intended to invite “non-tech oriented” persons to try the experience, and learn more about AR and the Civil War. We propose that these binoculars be set up at locations across the region touched by fighting in the war. In order to give the user a sense of the historical connections between each location, a nearby screen will project realtime webcam images of people using the devices at other locations.
Rather than offering a view of the nearby scenery, the devices will offer a virtual geographic view from a few hundred yards above the user. Physically swiveling the viewer left and right changes the direction of the view in real time, just as swiveling up and down changes the view. The intuitive nature of the device is intended to invite “non-tech oriented” persons to try the experience, and learn more about the Civil War experience in PA. It is proposed that these stationary binoculars be set up at locations across the region, at major locations touched by fighting in the war: Greencastle, Mercersburg, Chambersburg, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg, York, Wrightsville, Columbia, Hanover, and Gettysburg. In order to give the user a sense of the historical and transportational interconnectedness of each location, a nearby screen will project realtime webcam images of people using the devices at other locations (audio communication also a possibility).
We have brainstormed all sorts of cool ways to teach the Battle of Gettysburg using Augmented Reality such as virtual first-person reenactments for gamers, video based walking tour guides for the Volksmarch clubs, and interactive biographies at the graves and memorials for living ancestors who visit. I have seen lots of people run with this example, as it is a good one to point out the instant value of augmented reality on smart phones, but I do have to give credit to Bill for thinking it first.(http://www.mindgrub.com/made-you-look—augmented-reality)
..Or imagine walking onto a battlefield and being able to see a panoramic, 360 degree simulation of the battle of Gettysburg, complete with overhead maps of troop movement and the ability to hit “pause” at any time. (http://amusesmile.blogspot.com/2010/01/3-virtual-reenactment.html)