People think of education simply as the encoding of knowledge, but most people don't realize that the hard part about learning is the recall. Our focus was to use Augmented Reality to enhance recall by mapping concepts and knowledge onto spatial objects on a path–a popular recalling technique called the Method of Loci. This idea, inspired from the Mind Palace technique in the tv show Sherlock, helps enhance association of knowledge using paths that we are familiar with - for instance, those we walk as we go through our daily routine.
What it does
LociAR is an iOS App that helps users improve recall by enabling them to create virtual "mind palaces" based on routes they are familiar with. This is done through Augmented Reality - the user can create nodes corresponding to spatial objects on the path they choose to travel by, such as trees, lampposts, etc. Each node can store a title (visible through the camera), and a more detailed description that appears if the node is selected. The user can also store and load different paths, with each corresponding to any particular category.
How we built it
We used ARKit along with the SceneKit framework to build the iOS App. Since none of us were familiar with Swift, we first learned the basics of iOS App Development and then created a flowchart for all the functions in the project. We each implemented various functions, such as focusing on the persistence of AR Sessions, creation of nodes, detection of nodes, etc.
Challenges we ran into
There wasn't much detailed information about the technicalities of using ARKit with Xcode and as such, initial research was laborious. Moreover, AR technology is still very much in development and the tracking and placement aren't as refined as we would have liked it to be. Certain other specific challenges included AR persistence to save and load paths.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
In less than 36 hours, we managed to familiarize ourselves with the workings of Xcode, ARKit, and Swift and created a working app that accomplished the task we set out to do.
What we learned
We learnt the basics of a relatively new field of computer science and how it could be used to aid education and recollection capabilities. Moreover, we learnt the importance of time management and allocating specific tasks within a group.
What's next for LociAR
Introducing additional forms of spatial representations and mapping colours to spatial objects