Our Digital R&D Fund for the Arts project 'Taking the Artwork Home' is exploring how digital technologies can facilitate engagement with the arts and unveil new curatorial strategies. After further development and testing, we have just launched the second prototype of the mobile augmented reality application. In much of this development period we have been ensuring that the application will work across a wide range of phones and tablets. However, the most significant aspect is the move from on device processing and storage of images, to a cloud based service. The use of cloud based services offers the potential of using more complex, user defined markers alongside storing the images, but comes at the expense of requiring the user to have a good data connection. Whilst this may be considered a limitation and storing images within the application would be preferable, the cloud approach is highly relevant to galleries and museums because it potentially alleviates issues of copyright; e.g. users being provided with a copy of a particular image on their device, opening up the possibility of it being copied or shared. This presents an interesting question when developing such applications of the extent to which rights management of images overrides user experience. As a final note you will also see we have added a spotlight feature which we have found users really enjoy, as it keeps the marker as a point of reference. A video of the current prototype is available on YouTube.
7th of November 2013