We all know what it's like to be reading a classic story, and some characters have been sentimental in our childhood. Our team wanted to revision and recreated this experience to elevate how children interact with the characters in these books. AlauraAR envisions a world where these exciting characters are no longer contained within the bounds of a book! And so, our goal became to provide children an opportunity to see tangible renditions of iconic characters from classic tales.
What it does
AlauraAR is built upon the Unity engine's AR Foundation framework, allowing for robust real-time image tracking and AR. Currently, AlauraAR uses the RIT Ritchie icon as a marker and displays a 2D sprite of a classical tale character in AR space over the marker. We have also set up a PostgreSQL server on the Google Cloud Platform and a RESTful API developed with Flask in python, which can interface between our SQL server and the Unity application.
How we built it
We built AlauraAR using the AR Foundation framework that the Unity Engine provides. Along with that, we have a basic networking setup within Unity that should be able to send get requests to our RESTful API in the cloud, along with a component-based procedural animation system. Through this, we can host the relevant book information, pages, text, sprite textures, and the animations associated with them on our database -- and the client-side application should be able to get that data.
Challenges we ran into
The primary challenge we faced was time management, which particularly stemmed from our lack of experience with hackathons as well as the lack of familiarity with the technologies we chose to implement our project with.
What we learned
We learned a lot about how AR works -- the native APIs like ARCore and ARKit; Setting up and working with databases on the Google cloud platform as well as deploying our server-side application to the Google app engine.
What's next for AlauraAR
If time permits, we hope to go further with our idea of modularity and develop a web-based editor tool for people to create their own versions of these interactive stories. We also weren't able to completely implement our project, and so, we hope to keep working on it even after BrickHack ends.