Manned space programs from around the world have led to hundreds of spin-off inventions used to improve our everyday lives. Science education is absolutely vital to continuing this progress. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and the lockdowns used to combat it have closed science centers, museums, and schools all over the world, depriving millions of children of valuable (and potentially life-changing) educational experiences.

That’s why I built InterstellAR. I wanted to encourage today’s students to grow into the scientists of tomorrow. I wanted to show them the majesty and grandeur of the cosmos in a way they can’t get from books and ordinary videos. So I created InterstellAR to fuel students’ imaginations by bringing astronomy to life with augmented reality!

What it does

InterstellAR provides users of all ages with an interactive way to learn more about space from the comfort and safety of their own homes. By combining pictures, text, and 3D models, InterstellAR lets users experience a unique learning experience that can’t be recreated with traditional media like articles, books, and videos.

How I built it

I wanted to make sure that anyone could access InterstellAR without needing to acquire specialized hardware or software, so I decided to make InterstellAR as a web app. Also, I figured that most of InterstellAR’s users would be on phones or other mobile devices, so I decided to make my website using React and Material UI because they already have many responsive features built in. I also used EchoAR to store and deliver the 3D models.

Challenges I ran into

This was my first time using AR, so one of the hardest parts for me was determining which platform I could use with my device. I wanted the end product to be a simple website app so that anyone could use InterstellAR without needing to download any specialized software. I spent a lot of time trying different AR solutions to find the one that was the easiest to use, was rendered in large scale, and was the most accessible.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I’m really proud of how the end product turned out! I’m not super experienced with React, so this was the first “real” website I’ve ever built with it, and I really like the end result! I’m also super proud of how the AR turned out! I think it looks really cool, and creates a great experience for the user.

What's next for InterstellAR

In the future, I would like to expand the 3D model library by adding more planets, spaceships, shuttles, etc. I would also like to add interactive learning activities, such as Trivia Fun Facts, quizzes, etc.

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