App brings artwork to life

Have you ever taken a long look at a painting, wondering what was going through the artist?s head?

Maybe you?d like to know what inspired the work of art, or what message they were attempting to convey. With a new smartphone app, all you have to do is point your phone at the picture, and a pre-recorded video will begin to play. The Fairfield High School is using this technology to link pieces of art to videos of the students who created them. Residents can see and hear from the area?s young Picassos and Van Goghs as they stroll through their art galleries, even when the students aren?t there.

The app responsible for this is called Aurasma. The district?s technology director John Grunwald heard about Aurasma two years ago during a tech conference. He told Fairfield High School art teacher David Kraemer about it last year, but Kraemer was too busy to worry about it.

Kraemer approached Grunwald earlier this year to tell him he wanted to incorporate the app into his class?s art projects. Kraemer, Grunwald and the art students created videos the first week of November, just in time to show them off during parent-teacher conferences Nov. 7 and 9.

Grunwald said the technology is actually quite simple. A user picks an image to use as the target picture, or trigger. The trigger is what prompts the overlay to appear on the user?s smart phone or tablet screen. The overlay can be a still frame, an audio file or a video. Hover your device?s camera over a trigger, and the overlay will appear.

The students in Kraemer?s 2-D art class filmed themselves talking about their artwork, what it means, and why they chose to create it. They linked these videos to images of their projects.


How do I know what will prompt a video?

The school district has placed a purple ?A? that stands for ?Aurasma? next to images that trigger videos or other overlays. Users have to download the free app, sign up with a username, and follow the channel ?fhstrojans.? Only accounts that have been certified with the school district can create ?auras? and have them show up on the ?fhstrojans? channel.

Grunwald sees a multitude of uses for this technology. The district could include ?auras? in printed sports programs. Hover your smartphone over a player?s picture, and a video featuring that player will play. That?s just an idea ... at least for now.

?I?d love to see it on senior night, where we?d get to watch bios on each of the seniors listed in the program,? Grunwald said. ?There?s still time to do it for wrestling and basketball season.?

The school could do the same thing with the yearbook, or even on homework assignments.

?A teacher could take a picture of their education plan, and then create a video to go with it that students or parents could play anytime,? Grunwald said. ?Using this technology is not costing the district anything.?

One teacher mentioned to Grunwald how the app could be used to create book reviews. Hover your smartphone over the book?s cover, and watch a video review from a fellow student or teacher telling you if it?s worth picking up.