When it came time for Mike Owens and Jody McFarlen to begin their senior thesis, they knew that they wanted to work with a local museum.
The two electronic arts majors at Missouri State University were intrigued by the Discovery Center’s ability to teach, inspire and even stir up a little bit of curiosity within its visitors. So they approached the museum with the idea of using augmented reality to enhance an exhibit.
“We knew we wanted to do something with mobile interactivity and discussed augmented reality as a fun, exciting method to explore,” McFarlen said.
Throughout the semester, the two senior electronic artists worked diligently on the Discovery Center’s World Wise exhibit, which showcases cultural information about six different countries, to incorporate new technology.
“With our work, a visitor will be able to bring in a smart phone or tablet and scan different parts of the exhibit with the device’s camera and see video clips,” Owens said. “They can listen to native speakers and learn that country’s language, learn about native foods and view 3D models of different elements in each exhibit.”
As the spring semester ended, the two seniors believed they had reaped great rewards from the experience, helping both of them grow as students and as artists.
“It’s been a great experience that has allowed me to step outside of the classroom,” said Owens. “I was able to do work that is not only academically satisfying but also allowed me to get some real world experience that I might not of been able to gain until after I had finished my degree.”
Owens and McFarlen agree that a great deal of their artistic inspiration has derived from partner collaboration.
“This field of work is highly collaborative and I have been able to work with some awesome people,” said McFarlen. “There are great things that become possible when working with others who have different skill sets and ideas.”
Both Owens and McFarlen are now looking forward to encountering new opportunities after their graduation last month.
Written by Monica Smith, student writer at Missouri State University. This story first appeared in the Springfield News-Leader.