Day 9: Learning the Tools
Today started like most weekdays on this trip seem to: an alarm invades my personal space at 6:45, I choose to ignore it, and at 7:00 I begrudgingly drag myself out the comforts of a warm bed and into the normal routine. Shower-dress-breakfast-walk: all in a habitually sluggish attitude. In my mind, the day doesn’t start until I make it out to some cute lil’ local coffee shop and get a caffeine-encouraged jump start. Today, Farenheit Coffee was the pick.
Luckily, today’s class was one to look forward to- we were finally getting a chance to explore the tools to make Augmented Reality! After a personal email to Hoverlay’s creator Nicolas Robbe, who has been kind enough to work with us on our project, we were individually granted beta access to creative tools available through the app. (Try it yourself here!) The app is still quite new and has its quirks, but we were definitely able to start making some interesting things in a very short amount of time. Finally, we’re starting to feel like real developers instead of just awestruck fans.
Next up, our very own Cindy Bishop gave us a demonstration on developing in ARKit– with a much more complex backend take to design. I was initially very excited to take part in this lecture, to finally have a chance to bring my own coding experience to the table, until I was informed that the software is only available on Mac. The toolkit allows the developer to work in C++ to create an AR experience, and the demo that Cindy gave us was very interactive and easy to follow; I only wish I had the time, and the right operating system, to really have the opportunity to play with the software myself.
Our very short day ended with an exercise in user profiles: each of our groups considered how a certain, imagined user might interact with our AR projects. What would attract them to use it? How would they be engaged? What would be the extended effect? And how would the program respond to their inputs throughout each of these stages? Asking these questions really helped us to focus our projects. This small exercise was the end to our very short class day ending at noon, giving us the option to escape Northeastern territory and find ways to be productive in our own space and schedule.
The Bentwood Skateboard group took this self-directed time to do some project planning in the comfort of Ryerson’s common room, followed by, in my case, a wonderful nap timed perfectly with our natural circadian rhythm. I personally really enjoyed having a chance for some extended downtime, and felt incredibly rejuvenated. Also, it gave me a chance to revise my profile video!
After a lovely, relaxing evening, myself and Jason decided to make a late dusky trip over to the Toronto Islands in search of photographs which ended up turning out amazingly. Even had they not, getting out away from the city to enjoy a quiet warm summer night in nature was an experience in itself that I wouldn’t have passed up.