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Page history last edited by Karyn Narramore 4 years, 7 months ago

Aurasma Review

by Karyn Narramore


Presentation Link




Augmented reality is a technology that layers a computer-generated virtual scene over the user's real-time scene, creating a more content-rich, interactive experience. 


Aurasma is a combination mobile app and drag-and-drop online studio that uses visual/pattern recognition to generate augmented reality experiences. The AR experiences, called Auras, are made up of two basic parts: Trigger images and overlays. 


All Auras are contained within Channels. You classify your channels as public or private. If they're public, other users can follow them and see your Auras. If they're private, only you can see them unless you give someone the link to share it. 


The cost of the tool and where to find it.


Both the mobile app and online studio are free. Aurasma is compatible with both iOS and Android and available for download in the App Store and Google Play. 


It's pretty much all free. You can create, publish, and view unlimited AR content for free. Paid subscriptions are available and include analytics, branded app experiences, and a front-of-the-line pass for tech support issues. A subscription will also get you creative support and Universal Aura status for your projects. Subscription prices are tailored to each individual project, so to find out what it will cost you, you're required to submit a request for a quote. 


***Universals differ from Channels in that they are automatically shown to all Aurasma users with no following necessary.*** 



Sample Usage 


Aura - In-app with Overlay Library

Aurasma/Hype Video



Tips, tricks, and tutorials


Aurasma's mobile app and online studio accounts are meant to be used in tandem. The studio provides a repository for your trigger images, overlays, and Auras. The mobile app provides a means for viewing Auras. 


In-studio created Auras are available in both accounts, provided you're using the same login credentials for both. Auras you create in-app aren't visible to you in the studio unless you follow them, so if you want full access to all of your created content, create it in the studio. 


Use folders when you upload trigger images and overlays. It makes for easier organization. 


Use a sharp, clear trigger image. Avoid using dark colors or images that lack detail. The app needs to be able to recognize your trigger image in order to pair it with the right Aura. It's best to avoid repetitive images for this reason as well. 


Your best bet for video overlays is the MPEG4 (H.264 codec). A .mov will upload and play but the size is off and the app will tell you that every single time. Aurasma recommends the MPEG Streamclip converter. It's free and works pretty well. 


Aurasma supports location-based trigger images. You can set your trigger image to be recognizable in a specific location by clicking the map open when you're setting your trigger image. The functionality of this is pretty limited, though. Setting your Aura to launch in a specific location makes it vulnerable to the previously mentioned visual pattern recognition issues. 



What the Tool Does Well


Simple AR projects, interactive infographics and visualizations, especially for educational purposes. Creating Auras in-app using the Overlay Library presented no issues, even when I used the same trigger image with different overlays. 


What it Does Poorly


Trigger images have to be unique so that the app can pinpoint which Auras to launch. Lighting, slight color differences, and other common photographic mishaps will keep your Aura from launching. Overlay actions seem like they get confused from one to the next if you've added more than one.  My relative inexperience with Aurasma most likely played a significant part in the difficulties I encountered, though. Adding more than one overlay to an Aura wasn't a problem, but convincing them to perform the actions I requested was harder.


What happens when you...


  • Take projects from Tumult Hype and Aurasma and swap them back and forth between the two apps? 


    • Not much, actually. You can still get the same interactivity in both apps. The Hype project sill images made good triggers because they were distinctive. After I figured out that you have to covert any video for an overlay to .mpeg4, the clips from the Hype project worked okay too. 


    • Since when you view an Aura on your phone you can get little ten-second video clips of the AR experience, it was easy enough to import into a Hype scene. So far there haven't been compatibility issues, even when I added a few little Hype animations around the Aurasma video in the scene. 


  • Just to see what would happen, though, I uploaded a trigger image that the app advised against. Too sparse. The first time I attempted to launch it, it worked fine. Even the action that jumped from overlay to URL worked. 


    • Only the one time, though. Every other time I've tried it, the app doesn't recognize the Aura. 


  • That location-based trigger image capability gave me all sorts of ideas. Could Aurasma be used to create a location-specific Aura to find your car when you lose it in parking lots? (Like the iOS AR car finding app?) 


    • Unfortunately, no. Locations can't be pinpointed that specifically using location-based triggers. Also, once you've set the image of your vehicle as a trigger, the same Aura is launched every time. 


Additional Resources


Aurasma isn't the only mobile AR app out there, but its capabilities set it apart from most. Mobile augmented reality apps tend to be more recreational and less educational. Aurasma is fun to play with, but it's an educational and marketing tool as well. 






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