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USC Dornsife Magazine debuts augmented reality app

The USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is one of the world’s first educational institutions to implement an augmented reality app. (Photo/Courtesy of USC Dornsife)

The USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences has announced the debut of its branded augmented reality (AR) application with the Fall 2012/Winter 2013 issue of USC Dornsife Magazine.

At a time when several university alumni magazines as well as mass publications, such as Newsweek, are transitioning to online-only editions, AR technology allows USC Dornsife Magazine to rejuvenate the printed page through the seamless integration of print and virtual technologies.

Using the free USC Dornsife AR app, readers of the print publication can now view videos, see slideshows, listen to music and even access a recipe by simply holding their smartphone or tablet over the printed page of the magazine. Cardinal icons throughout the magazine prompt readers to “Scan for Extras,” pointing to available bonus materials to unlock.

USC Dornsife is one of the world’s first educational institutions to implement an AR app, which was produced in collaboration with Metaio, a global leader in AR technology. USC Dornsife Magazine joins major publications including The Atlantic Monthly, Time and USA Today in offering additional sensory elements to enhance the reading experience.

Using Metaio’s cloud-based Junaio platform, the USC Dornsife AR app integrates multimedia content into the publication using image-recognition software. No QR codes are used to call up bonus materials.

By integrating AR into USC Dornsife Magazine, written features in the magazine take on a whole new life — bonus features add new dimensions to storytelling and make use of content that has already been produced for the publication and for USC Dornsife’s website.

For example, using the app a story about a summer program in Taiwan is supplemented with a video about students’ learning experiences abroad; coverage of a USC Dornsife sociology class is accompanied by a 60-second seminar on a key concept from the course; and an article on an alumna’s cookbook calls up a recipe from it. All together 14 bonus features are included in the Fall 2012/Winter 2013 issue of USC Dornsife Magazine.

“The USC Dornsife AR app is a unique and innovative way to highlight the incredible work being done at USC Dornsife,” said Dean Steve A. Kay. “Whether it’s unlocking a clip of testimony from the archive of the USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education, or a video about students investigating climate change in the Arctic, our readers get a substantive additional layer of content.”

The USC Dornsife AR app also engages readers in a fun, easily accessible way, according to Emily Cavalcanti, executive director of communications at USC Dornsife.
“This easy-to-use, cutting-edge technology seamlessly integrates with the printed page to bring stories to life right before our readers’ eyes,” Cavalcanti said. “In addition to our biannual magazine, we look forward to introducing AR technology into other key USC Dornsife publications.”

Readers can access magazine extras in three easy steps:

1. Download the free USC Dornsife AR application on an Android or iOS (iPhone/iPad) smartphone or tablet through the Google Play or Apple stores

2. Look for the “Scan for Extras” buttons throughout the magazine to identify which pages have elements to discover. Download a PDF of the magazine or print out a page with bonus features to unlock.

3. Open the USC Dornsife AR app on your mobile device holding it 8 to 12 inches over the page, and the multimedia elements will appear on the screen.

If you’re interested in receiving a hard copy of the Fall 2012/Winter 2013 issue of USC Dornsife Magazine, send your request including your mailing address to msalzman@dornsife.usc.edu.

USC Dornsife Magazine debuts augmented reality app

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