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ARBlocks: A Projective Augmented Reality Platform for Educational Activities
Rafael Alves Roberto∗ Veronica Teichrieb†
Voxar Labs Informatics Center Federal University of Pernambuco

A BSTRACT This demonstration will allow visitors to use different applications builded for the ARBlocks, a dynamic blocks platform based on projective augmented reality and tangible user interfaces aiming earlychildhood educational activities. Those applications, along with the platform itself, were designed to be useful tools for educators to teach general subjects for children, such as mathematical and language skills, as well as develop important abilities, like motor coordination and collaboration. Keywords: augmented reality; education; tangible user interface Index Terms: K.5.1 [InformationInterfaces and Presentation]: Multimedia Information Systems—Artificial, augmented, and virtual realities; K.3 [Computing Milieux]: Computers and Education 1 ARB LOCKS tangible user interface. Only the teachers will need to use keyboard and mouse to initialize the system and choose the application. Other feature the visitors will have the opportunity to see is that the camera-projector system iscalibrated automatically, so the only concern of the educator is to ensure that the camera is capturing all the projector area.

Figure 1: Positive feedback displayed when the blocks with an image is put together with its correspondent word.

The ARBlocks is a dynamic blocks platform for educational activities based on projective augmented reality and tangible user interfaces. It explores a strongeducational concept called playfulness activities, in which a subject is taught without the child to realize that he/she is learning [4]. The platform uses the enormous potential of augmented reality to improve information visualization for education, which is very important, especially when it comes to children [1]. Since the ARBlocks is based on tangible users interface, it have have all theadvantages of using tangible objects in education [6], among them are sensory engagement, accessibility and group learning. 1.1 Demonstration

During the demonstration the visitors will have the opportunity to use the ARBlocks with at least three different applications. One of them is to develop the language ability, in which the child will manipulate the blocks to combine the letters and form a wordaccording to an image. Depending on the teach needs, they can also put together all the images with its correspondent word. In another application, the students can improve their mathematical skills, since the child is able to count the number of bees inside a block and, through the manipulation of them, learn basic operations, such as sum and subtraction. And finally, there is an application toimprove the child motor coordination, in which the students have to move the blocks with specific movements. All the applications displays feedback to the student, so they can know if the activities were executed correctly, as shown on Figure 1. During the demonstration, the visitor will notice that all the activities are done using only the blocks, showed on Figure 2. Thus, all the interactionperformed by the children are done through this
∗ e-mail:

Figure 2: Close up of one block with an image projected on it.

1.2

Set Up

rar3@cin.ufpe.br † e-mail: vt@cin.ufpe.br

IEEE Virtual Reality 2012 4-8 March, Orange County, CA, USA 978-1-4673-1246-2/12/$31.00 ©2012 IEEE

The set up for the ARBlocks consists of a simple projector facing a table or any planar surface where the visitorcan manipulate the blocks. In order to fulfil this condition, it can be attached to the roof or a tripod. This projector, along with a webcam, will be connected to a computer or notebook. The blocks are made with ethylenevinyl acetate, or EVA, cut with the size of 6 x 6 x 2 centimeters (approximately 2.36 x 2.36 x 0.78 inches).

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VOXAR L ABS

The Voxar Labs is a research group...
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