Image source: Virtual Reality by Ketan for Mindinventory

As technology becomes an indispensable part of our lives, we are gradually moving closer to a future where there is seamless integration between technology and reality.

Augmented Reality

Experiencing IKEA Place
Image source: Screengrab off IKEA’s YouTube

Augmented reality (AR) breaks down the borders between the digital and physical world through integrating digital interfaces. From Instagram filters to Pokémon Go, AR is taking on more forms than we can imagine.

Apple users on iOS 11 has access to Apple’s ARKit that brings them “unparalleled Augmented Reality experiences”. It allows for experiences such as the AR+ mode in Pokémon Go, and the IKEA ‘Place’ – an app that allows users to virtually place IKEA furniture in a space.

In response to Apple’s ARKit, Google launched their very own mobile AR framework, ARCore. There are already hundreds of apps on the Google Play Store that were built on ARCore, such as ARuler and Jenga AR.

AR Ruler – A virtual ruler that you can place anywhere to take measurements with
Image source: Screengrab off Android Play Store
Jenga AR – Play the classic game anywhere without the need for space, or clean-up afterwards!
Image source: Screengrab off Jason Piloti’s YouTube video


AR also plays an imperative role in social media platforms. Snapchat, a multimedia messaging application enables users to manipulate their facial features with special effects such as dog ears and flower crowns through their pre-loaded filters, and even play games with each other by sharing lenses, competing in dance-offs or egg-catching competitions.

Users can create a cartoon-like character of themselves with the Bitmoji feature, and project their Bitmoji selves into the real world, accomplishing “challenges” like walking across hot coals or doing yoga – giving AR an integral role in storytelling.


On the surface, these applications of AR may seem superficial. But the underlying reason behind the rationale of introducing AR on a leisurely platform is that when people use AR to play games and socialise, they adopt it into their natural everyday behaviour. This introduces them to the concept of the technology, and may help ease transition if and when they are reintroduced to it in a more academic or professional setting. 


Virtual Reality

Thanks to virtual reality (VR), everyone can play golf, visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or even swim alongside dolphins from the comforts of wherever they are, with the right equipment. VR allows us to dive into a simulated environment crafted by technology.

Applications of VR were previously very much limited to the video game industry, enabling players to freely explore the virtual worlds. However, VR is proving beneficial far beyond the gaming industry, with programmes now designed for those with mobility problems, patients with cognitive behavioural issues, or even budding criminologists.

VR exercises replacing traditional physical therapy
Image source:
VR Therapy to fight Arachnophobia
Image source:


There is also incredible potential for cultural institutes; many museums are already tapping on VR to offer virtual tours across space and time to provide visitors an unforgettable experience.

New York, April 15th, 2015 – Museum of the Moving Image and the Future of StoryTelling present “Sensory Stories: An Exhibition of New Narrative Experience,” on view April 18–July 26, 2015. Shown: Visitors immersed in new virtual reality experiences.
Image source: Thanassi Karageorgiou / Museum of the Moving Image.


Experience VR and AR for yourself!

Image source: Marina Bay Sands

VR and AR technologies are more accessible than ever with projects such as the Google cardboard (you can create your very own VR headset out of cardboard!). They are also present in Singapore’s Art Science Museum and Science Centre, so feel free to check them out! Current exhibits include:

1. Into the Wild: An Immersive Virtual Adventure (Art Science Museum, Permanent, Free)
2. E-mmersive Experiential Environments (Science Centre Singapore, Permanent, General Admission)

Allow state-of-the-art technologies to bring you on a journey beyond the exhibition walls!

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NTUsgLibrary, and our hashtag #NTUsgLibraryDS to keep yourself updated on new developments within the field!

This post was written by Digital Scholarship team’s preceding student assistant Chua Yi Lin Jolene, and contributed to by Queenie TanSam Wen Xin and Digital Scholarship executive Nursyafiqah..