To this day, the best use of augmented reality has been running around the parks trying to catch virtual Pokémon. But as the mania has (hopefully) disappeared, a company called AstroReality has come up with a more convincing use of the AR technology that works with an amazingly detailed replica of the moon, who is as much a work of art because it is a learning tool.
Using an incredibly sharp and detailed topographic data capture and the digitization by the NASA Lunar Orbiter team, AstroReality has created a base-ball sized replica of the moon that takes advantage of some of the best 3D printers on the market recreate all latest functionality of our nearest neighbor in heaven. The replica is hand painted, but because the surface is printed in 3D, you can feel all the craters of the moon as you hold it in your hand. It is also made from a heavy polyresin, and feels deliciously heavy when you pick it up.
This is probably enough to convince the astronomy and space exploration enthusiasts to cough up $219 to put one of these replicas on their desktop. (It is also available in the smaller of $89 and $39 versions.) But AstroReality has created an accompanying iOS and Android, augmented reality app that lets you explore areas of interest on the moon, including the names of countless other sites, and the locations of all the moon landings that we have made.
To use the AstroReality application of augmented reality with the moon replica all you need to do is point your smartphone camera to the thumbnail of the moon and you will see all the added details and descriptions via the screen of your smartphone. When you move, all of the labels and pop-up video-esque tidbits moving in real time. He follows and works amazingly well, and up until yesterday I really had no idea of the place where Apollo 11 had actually touched down on the lunar surface. As a teaching tool, this is a great use of AR.
AstroReality is also the creation of replicas of other celestial objects of our solar system, including Earth, in nine parts, which will cost you $129. They are much smaller and less detailed than the moon replica (slightly smaller than a golf ball) and require the use of a special display stand for the augmented reality functions. Whether or not the company is producing larger versions of the planets remains to be seen, but I hope that one day you will be able to put the solar system on your desktop.
Source: gizmodo.com Image: gizmodo.com