The Clock

For the final clock Will implemented a circular bar around the observing body, the Earth. An idea conceived weeks earlier, but I ignored as I thought animating elements attached to animating elements would be overwhelming. Nonetheless, the more this circle is filled in (the longer the line) the greater the velocity of the shuttle and this the dilation in time. Coloured in navy, with a virtual stream off the shuttle in orange, both have corresponding key elements attached to the device viewport with the associated data.

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Screen recording of final clock • Will Cottrell

Below is how the UI is structured in Unity. The final clock retains the single static object attached to the marker (Earth) and an orbiting object attached.

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Final clock design, screenshot from Unity • Will Cottrell

The UI is built to scale to the size of the marker. We completed the project using an A3 size marker. This worked well. The size of the objects and the response from movement provided clear feedback to the user taking footsteps back and forth.

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Screenshot of final clock in use • Will Cottrell

Plus, at a comfortable distance the user could view the whole UI and be able to still view the Earth up close without the UI disappearing as a result the marker disappearing from the cameras viewport.

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Photograph of final clock in use • David Valente

The final implementation of this illustration of time dilation is designed to be used as part of a physics exhibition to aid the understanding and engagement of the display pieces and environment. Where current exhibition pieces typically consist of a display piece as the subject and a corresponding plaque to explain the significance of it; the addition of this medium both can dynamically manipulate the physical space and add to it.

In this case we have played of the idea of adding a digital experience as an extension to the reading off a plaque. This concept could be applied to any number of objects to provide a dynamically responsive interaction to many exhibits that enclose much of their significance, untouchable behind glass.

We currently have many interactions that try to play off physical interactions, take the sliding toilet door and a toggle in the UI of an iPhone. But these, by their very digital nature, cannot have the same interaction experience as what they mimic. AR Allows people to comprehend the physical object and then have an appreciation for the additive technology. Thus rather than introducing the strengths of digital by playing off the physical world through metaphors, often poorly, this has the potential to only play to its strengths, without the need for metaphors.

 

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