Since we are indie developers with no money we wanted to go from concept to product as quickly as possible. The best way for us to do this was to use a third party solution for augmented reality. Since AR Flashcards version 2.0 we have been using Qualcomm's Vuforia SDK. SDK stands for software development kit. We use the Unity 3D extension for our project. Unity is the development environment that we use to create AR Flashcards. The easy implementation of Vuforia allows us to spend our money and time on things like creating 3d content and graphic design. The Vuforia SDK has several different elements that can be used but we currently only use the Image Target solution. This allows us to choose any image we want to be our marker that triggers the AR. In our case we use our beautifully designed flash cards that our graphic designer Denny has created as our image markers. The process is simple yet complicated. The hard part is creating markers to use that have a lot of contrast and subtle differences in them so that Vuforia can differentiate between all the different markers when you are trying to load your different 3d models. There is a lot of trial and error involved when we test this. The easy part is integrating the images with Vuforia. Once you are a registered developer on their website their is a section called Target Manager. This is where you go to upload your image markers for use with the SDK. The cool thing is once you upload your images (in our case it's our flash cards) Vuforia gives you a star rating for how well they think your image marker will track. 5 stars are the best and is what we shoot for. The better the rating the better you content will track on the marker. Once you upload your markers Vuforia creates a downloadable package to use in your project. I forgot to mention that Vuforia is free!! Other 3rd party AR solutions cost a lot of money to license which is hard to justify when you don't make any money! Qualcomm does a fantastic job updating their SDK with bug fixes and fantastic new features. They offer a ton of solutions that we hope to utilize more of in the future. Examples of this are cloud recognition, text recognition, virtual buttons, user defined…
My New Years resolution this year is to write more updates on arflashcards.com and I thought what better way to do this then to keep a developer diary as we work towards our HUGE 3.0 launch of the original AR Flashcards app. I think a little intro would be best to start off this developer diary. My name is Heath Mitchell and I'm co-founder of Mitchlehan Media. I'm 35 years old and married with three kids. I've been working retail management for my entire adult life. I have an unhealthy obsession with Disney World. I love it. I think it's the best place on this Earth. I've always been a kid at heart and there isn't any place that encourages that more than Disney. I started Mitchlehan Media with my best friend Dave Callahan. Mitchlehan is simply our last names combined except instead of Mitchelhan we decided to make it look French and make it Mitchléhan because we are silly! AR Flashcards came about from Dave who had been playing with augmented reality at his work. He showed me the String Showcase app and I was blown away by the potential of it. We both thought that augmented reality would be a game changer in education. We got together with Jesiey who designs all of our 3d objects and Denny who creates all the graphics and the wonderful flash cards and we put together version 1 of AR Flashcards within a couple months. It debut on the iOS App Store in Feb 2012 to very little fanfare. In another entry I will talk about the pitfalls of being an indie developer in the App Store. It's rough! Since 2012 AR Flashcards has come a long way! We completely overhauled the UI and put Dinosaurs in and launched version 2 this past Spring. This past summer is when the app started to take off. Through the magic of Twitter we have met a lot of amazing educators who have showed us how our app has been integrated in their classrooms and it has been extremely rewarding!! In 2014 we are going to be really aggressive in expanding AR Flashcards. We have three subjects we are adding plus a ton of 3d content! We will hopefully be adding different "packs" for each subject so for example with the Alphabet you could choose between the current models or maybe a "pack" that is…
Yesterday Apple approved our update for AR Flashcards. This is a small update that includes: - Bug Fixes related to iOS 7 - Buttons now react on touch so you know if you tapped them. - We removed the link to our website to be COPPA Compliant. - We added Flurry Restricted analytics. Flurry's restricted analytics are COPPA Compliant. The data we receive are in generalities. How many users have opened the app and how many times. Location is also in generalities as it only shows what country users are from. No personal information or specific location info is collected. If you have any questions regarding this please contact us at email@example.com We have a lot in store for 2014 so stay tuned!!!
We are honored and proud that AR Flashcards has won the Edublog award for Best Mobile App in Education for 2013! This really means a lot to us and we sincerely thank everyone for voting! Make sure you visit the edublog award site to see all the other winners of the other categories plus check out all the other great mobile apps that were nominated alongside of AR Flashcards! 2014 is going to be a BIG year for AR Flashcards as we are working on 3 BIG subjects that we are going to add to the app as well as improvements to Alphabet and Dinosaurs!!
We are honored and excited to be nominated for an Edublog Award for best mobile app for 2013! We would love it if you go and vote for us and for the other great categories. You can vote by going here or we have embedded the list right here or on our site below! Click the up arrow to place your vote for AR Flashcards (You can vote for more than one person in each category). You will then have to log in to Twitter or Facebook. Once you are logged in you may need to click the up arrow once again to place the vote. Thank you for your vote! [listly id="Bos" layout="full"]
This past Tuesday night co-founder, Heath Mitchell, announced that our next content pack for AR Flashcards will be Colors and Shapes! He made the announcement on the awesome educational podcast the 2 Guys Show! He had a blast talking to the guys about augmented reality, Twitter and the fact that Heath doesn't have much time to listen to music anymore due to his three kids! We have been deep into the design of colors and shapes and we decided it would be fun to go with a circus theme. Each shape will have our mascot, Augmonkey or Auggie for short, doing a circus act with one of the shapes. On the top of the screen there will be buttons for six colors (blue, red, green, yellow, orange and violet). When you tap the color not only will you hear the name of the color but you will also see the shape change color before your very eyes!! We wanted to find an interesting and fun way to teach colors and shapes to young kids with the power of augmented reality and we think we have done it!! We will be adding colors and shapes to our original app AR Flashcards, but we haven't decided on how it will be delivered (in-app purchase, back to paid app, etc..). Once we decide we will definitely be letting you know here and on Twitter. If you want to help us test this and future AR Flashcards content then head over to our beta signup page here.
Co-founder Heath Mitchell had a blast talking AR Flashcards and all things augmented reality! If you haven't checked out Drew Minock and Brad Waid's fantastic podcast or their awesome site Two Guys and Some iPads then check them out here. There isn't anyone out there more enthusiastic about augmented reality and edtech in general. Their show is every Tuesday night and it can't be missed! Heath also announced our new content that we are working hard on, colors and shapes!!!
Last night, Co-Founder Heath Mitchell, appeared on Guys in Ties. Guys in Ties is an educational podcast from Kelly Rexine and Jeremy Holkup. Here is a review from Kelly on Edutech. Below is the podcast with Heath Mitchell discussing the inspiration and future of AR Flashcards!
AR Flashcards-Space is now here! Beautifully rendered 3D planets appear magically on wonderfully designed flash cards to help your young one learn the Solar System! AR Flashcards Space is a fun and engaging way to learn the planets and it's available on iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets for only $.99!! There are eleven fantastic flash cards that can be printed for free here. In this edition of AR Flashcards we have an info button that pops up on the bottom for each planet. Press the button to hear an interesting fact about each planet. Our favorite card is the Solar System card. With this you can view the entire solar system! You can move in close to each planet and tap each model to hear the planet name! We also have the screenshot button that users loved about the original AR Flashcards that will save photos right to the camera roll! Check out the app today! Here are some screenshots below!