Exploring dual screen augmented reality social viewing

Co-created with Alexander Bladh, Mats Gunnarsson, Sckanda Ipour, Raheb Naisen, Malin Olofsson and Hampus Söderberg

The Dinosaur Planet tablet app represents a next-generation home entertainment concept for social, interactive engagement in a tablet-controlled, smart-TV system in the home environment. It implements innovative features such as timed social interaction, sharing and messaging for on-demand content, access to additional, web-based information directly related to the show’s content, gamification to engage the viewer by testing and rewarding their knowledge, and deploys augmented reality technology to meaningfully bring the content into their homes in a fun and engaging way.

Programmed for Android-powered devices, the working, high-fidelity prototype has four main sections: Guide, with more information about featured species and “Dinovision” viewing mode that brings an augmented reality dinosaur into your living room; Social, which allows you to chat with and exchange timed messages with friends as you watch; Share, which allows you select stills, gifs and video clips to share with your social networks; and Quiz, which tests your knowledge and offers an unlocakable dinovision dinosaur as a reward.

Research and conceptualizing

The initial phase of research involved broad scenario conceptualizing on how a tablet application with augmented reality might be applied to a variety of social, dual screen situations, including:

1. Cinema in the park, which included a map feature to find your friends, and trivia related to the actors.

2. A public screening of a major sports event, which included statistics, multilingual play-by-play, an ability to socially ‘tag’ players with comments based on their performance, and an ability to vote for man of the match and have the results displayed in real-time as AR statues.

3. A café/pub quiz, which involves each team using the tablet to answer the questions, to select an animated AR mascot, having the leading team mascot being rewarded with a crown, and having a mini game-within-a-game which would have the AR mascots compete directly.

4. A family enjoying an educational programme in their living room, which would involve access to further information, directions to relevant local museums, and mini-games rewarded with unlockable and collectable AR content.

The next stage of the project had the focus narrow to address on-demand content in a near-future smart TV living room environment. Research began with a survey to collect information on user habits regarding dual screening, including how social media is involved in the process. Team conceptualizing continued with ‘fast pitch’ brainstorms on how a tablet app could be used with various genres of TV shows, as well as a broader consideration of the social aspect of the app: Actant diagrams were created to investigate who would be involved in the app, locally and remotely, directly and indirectly.

In order to allow for a more detailed investigation and implementation, the decision was made to create a working Android application for one specific TV programme: a historically accurate educational show called Dinosaur Planet, modelled on the BBC series Planet Dinosaur. A focus group was assembled to research how users would imagine their ideal app. Soon afterwards, a third user research session was held with paper prototypes to test if the app structure and wireframes matched with user expectations.

Rapidly implementing a high-fidelity prototype

Using the results of the conceptual brainstorming and user research sessions, and in order to test the feasibility of developing the project in the Android mobile OS environment and to explore how augmented reality could be technically implemented, a high-fidelity working prototype was created.

The project was managed using Scrum methodology, with week-long sprints to ensure rapid prototyping, a quick turn-around and a results-based team dynamic.

Targeting a youthful demographic, a variety of graphic styles were explored before before a successful direction was achieved. The final graphic standard was then applied across all the screens in pixel-perfect precision.

In conclusion, the Dinosaur Planet tablet app explores how your dual-screen viewing experience of your favourite on-demand TV show could be enhanced through a variety of smart features: social viewing and sharing, an episode-based character/location guide with an augmented reality mode, and a knowledge-testing quiz with unlockable rewards.