Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Augmented Reality: An Eye-Popping New e-Learning Tool

Augmented Reality: An Eye-Popping New e-Learning Tool

Documentation and e-Learning (Part 5): Augmented Reality: An Eye-Popping New e-Learning Tool

Author: Dave Boggs


As I described last time, dynamic web data and web-cam feeds are marvelous ways to hold learners' interest, by exposing them to live real-world resources. This is especially true in subjects like astronomy, geology, and marine biology. But how can an e-Learning system teach people to repair a car, run a factory-floor machine, or do some other complex real life activity? Computer simulations can demonstrate such things, but real interactive learning experiences would be better.

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That's where a powerful new training technology called Augmented Reality (AR) can help. What you are about to see may seem unbelievable, but people are doing it now with available software on regular PCs. And their AR-based content can be delivered today on the SyberWorks Training Center or any other LMS that supports web-based courses.

Mixing Real and Virtual

Augmented Reality is the mixing of live web-cam feeds with computer-generated data, images, UI elements, and text. This is NOT the same as the pre-packaged special effects that Hollywood has been feeding us for decades. AR mixes dynamic computer-generated images with real-time feeds from PC web-cams.

Companies have been developing this technology since the early 1990s. And you can discover more about it by Googling "augmented reality" PLUS:

• microsoft
• google
• adobe
• flash
• toolkit
• e-learning

You'll discover a lot. At this writing, for example, YouTube hosted some 8,000 videos about AR. And when I did those searches, here are four of the best AR demos that I found (be sure to turn your PC speakers on):

• Here's a popular demo from GE (click the "See How It Works" link in the window that opens): ge.ecomagination.com/smartgrid/?c_id=googaugreal&gclid=CPP14ZXW-Z4CFag65QodPGAWJA#/augmented_reality

• This BMW video may be the best example I found of using AR to teach users a real-life process (car repair), and then guide trained repairmen on the shop floor:    youtube.com/watch?v=P9KPJlA5yds&feature=related

• Imagine how you might apply the technique shown in this next video to the printed materials that your students use, or that instructors display on monitor screens:    youtube.com/watch?v=iT2ek8N0VlY&NR=1

• Homeland Security even has this high-end firefighting/haz-mat application, which trains professionals realistically, but without exposing them to harm:        fdnntv.com/review.asp_Q_reviewID_E_6_A_title_E_Augmented_Reality_Training_Unit

And if you want to see more, here you go:

















Many AR applications use available software and web cams. Some (such as the Homeland Security and car-repair examples) involve special goggles. But many more let people view AR content directly on PC screens. In most of these, users hold black-and-white pattern cards (called "markers") in front of their PC web cams. These markers tell PCs which images to display, the data to show about them, and how this "virtual content" should change as students move the markers in front of the web cams.

But while viewing AR videos, please think about how the underlying capabilities shown might work in your training projects. This video of virtual water bouncing off a poor researcher

(  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NAH5vlkgkk&feature=related ) brings a smile, but its important point is the "physical" real-time interaction between the man and the dynamic computer-generated objects.

So instead of bouncing virtual water off students' heads, your next AR project might let automobile designers see how air flows around a car model that they hold in their hands... and to explore how this flow changes as they move the model within its virtual AR wind-tunnel. And without any extra development effort, it could also reveal the differing aerodynamics of alternative car designs. All without actually building wind-tunnels or testing full-sized vehicles in special labs.

Ready to Try?

If you'd like to explore AR more deeply, this site:  youtube.com/watch?v=jU6PcBS1pWw&NR=1&feature=fvwp  describes one way to create AR applications using Adobe Flex and a 3D-graphics program like Google SketchUp, Maya, or Blender. The presentation is fast and you must be familiar with web coding. But if you're technically minded and seriously interested, go for it!

And at the end, it mentions how to incorporate AR material into web sites and online e-Learning screens. This hints that AR content could be used today on the SyberWorks Training Center or any other LMS that handles web-based courses.

Born in research labs, AR has been migrating into commercial, advertising, and training applications... and even to individual content-creators' desktops. You would do well to follow its progress if your e-Learning products would be more effective with:

• Computer-generated content displayed above instructor's class notes when students view them on classroom monitors, or above students' printed training materials on their own PC screens.
• Online course controls, navigation buttons, and other informative images overlaid on real-world videos (like our car-repair example).

Whether teaching "book topics" or the most complex real-time processes, your users might benefit from AR's ability to help:

• Teach learners and hold their interest.
• Certify their competency (including in "real-time test-bed" environments).
• Guide them through related tasks on-the-job, after training.

Someday, perhaps, your learners could be as lucky as that BMW repairman we saw earlier. I believe that we'll all soon include at least some AR content in our training programs and user documentation... either because we want to, or because our competitors beat us to it.

About the Author:

Dave Powell is Documentation Manager for SyberWorks, Inc., a privately-held supplier of e-Learning software and training. For the past 15 years, he has written award-winning marketing collateral and user documentation for hardware/software companies like PictureTel, 3Com, Philips Medical Systems, Polaroid, and SyberWorks. Prior to that, he edited and wrote for publications like Computerworld, Infosecurity News, Networking Management, Digital Design, LightWave, Popular Computing, Harvard Business Review, and Leaders. (During that time, he also served as an author and Editorial Advisor for Sesame Street.)

About SyberWorks, Inc.

SyberWorks, Inc. is a leader in the custom e-Learning Solutions and Learning Management System/Learning Content Management System (LMS/LCMS) industries for Fortune 1000 corporations, law enforcement, healthcare, and other industries. Located in Waltham, Massachusetts, the company serves the multi-billion-dollar e-Learning market. Since 1995, SyberWorks has developed and delivered unique and economical solutions to create, manage, measure, and improve e-Learning programs at companies and organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and around the world.

Occupation: CEO of SyberWorks

About the Author: Dave Boggs is the founder and CEO of SyberWorks, Inc (www.syberworks.com). He has been involved with computer-based and web-based training for more than twelve years. Before founding SyberWorks, Dave was the VP of Sales and Business Development for Relational Courseware. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. The Boggs e-Learning Chronicle Dave Boggs also writes the Boggs e-Learning Chronicle, which reports on trends, provides observations, and information about e-learning and web-based training.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Android 4.0 VS iPhone iOS 5

Android 4.0 VS iOS 5 Let You Know Which You Want


After the release of iOS 5 and Android 4.0, people always talk about which is better. It is really difficult to say that iOS 5 is better than Android 4.0 or Android 4.0 is better than iOS 5. Today I will compare the features, advantage, disadvantage, hardware and other features from the two most popular mobile operation systems. I believe that you will know more about them after read my article.

[caption id="attachment_242" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Android 4.0 VS iPhone iOS 5 Augmented-Reality-Technology-021 Android 4.0 VS iPhone iOS 5[/caption]

From iOS 4 to iOS 5, we can not find big surprise, instead we can see the perfect in details, such as drop-down menu and other new features borrow from Android. That maybe because iOS is already powerful and perfect. People can not find any big disadvantage on it.

In contrast, Android 4.0 has more improvement than the previous version. We not only see the redesigned interface and many upgrades in details, but also we notice the integration of Android mobile phone and Android Tablet in the brand new Android 4.0. Of course, you can understand this as the integration of Android and this is a good news for developers and hardware producers. However, in today's mobile phone area, all the customers care about the apps more than hardware, a well-developed platform can attract more app developers. This will brings more business to them.

As we talking about above, apps is now more important than hardware and game plays a big role in app. In iOS 5 and Android 4.0, which one provides a better game experience for users? I think iOS 5 is better than Android 4.0 now. The game experience in iOS is absolutely better than Android. This is not only because iOS has its own Game Center, but also because the hardware of the devices. For example, the new iPhone 4s has dual-core Graphics processor, while in Android phones, only Samsung Galaxy nexus is comparable. In Android 4.0, we only find the new 3D driver. Now I can not say how much it can improve the game experience.

In the new iOS 5 and iPhone 4s, Apple's iCloud becomes a highlights. In fact, it is developed from MobileMe service, which aims to keep the consistency of data from different platform. In addition to the new features, such as photos, bookmarks, presentation's sync, it also can sync your apps from iOS 5 to Cloud.

Although Android 4.0 does not provide this kind of service, users can also enjoy the convenient brought by cloud services. Now Android users can update and sync data with multi devices in 24 hours and Android also provides Gmail contact backup and other services.

Though there are many rumors about the NFC in the new generation of iPhone, Apple still choose Bluetooth 4.0 as the way of its data exchange in close distance. While in the Android 4.0, Google brings us Android Beam function. It can help users to share app, webpage, map and video with NFC tech. It is definitely the trends in future.

That is not only because google published its Google Wallet Service, but also many producers from different area add NFC tech to their products, especially Nokia, the biggest mobile phone producer, add NFC as a standard function to their mobile phones. We can see clearly that NFC is becoming the trends in future. So, even though iPhone 4s does not add NFC, Apple will use NFC in their next generation of iPhone for sure, just as the rumor. What is different is that Apple may show his creative and use it to give users a different experience.

I believe that many people may think that in future, except better hardware, what\'s the future of smart phone. So Apple released its voice assistant service, siri, which is a really creative thing that provides users a totally different experience, and become the focus of the smartphone field.

While, back to the topic, Apple releases siri is under a certain situation that hardware update can not attract users' attention any more. Just like iPhone 4's facetime, Apple always can find the advantage of the design to show their personality. However, after the first few month's fresh, I don't think people will speak to their smart phone on the street.

Voice assistant appear on Android system long before. But due to the limitation on content, voice assistant on Android is far behind iPhone 4s's Siri. Even though Android's voice assistant also has a nice performance. It can help you to make a call, send SMS, open GPS, play music and take a note and so on.

SNS is now play a big role in all the smart phone producers. In this section, both Android and iOS have their own killer. IOS 5 only built-in Twitter and iMessage function can be used after you turn on the iPhone 4s, do not need to register and it can match your friends automatically.

While in Android 4.0, Google releases new function People, it makes the contact as the focus and it integrates Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and communication tools and it will support custom third party service in future.

I have to say that multitask gestures is used more and more than before in the two operation systems. For example, in iOS 5 you can turn off an app by folding four fingers and without using the home button. So it is possible to cancel the home button in future.

In conclusion, Android 4.0 has more upgrades and update than iOS 5 and it has more powerful hardware. But the two mobile operation system have their own advantage and disadvantage and different user experience. Users will get their own point of view on them. Just as the saying that Android system tells you what you can do, but iOS do that for you. Here I can tell which one is better than the other one and the competition between Android and iOS will becomes more and more intense for sure. So when you choose smart phone yourself, choose the one you like.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/cell-phones-articles/android-40-vs-ios-5-let-you-know-which-you-want-5403969.html

About the Author

Hello everyone, my name is Pele. Hope you like my article. Here i recommend you some software for you to better enjoy your iOS devices. Video Converter for Mac, it can help you to convert videos on your Mac computer for iPhone, iPod, iPad easily and fast. iPhone to Mac, DVD to iPod Converter to help you watch movies on iPod.

Android Activity Classes Explained in Detail

Android Development - Android Activity Classes Explained in Detail

Author:Syed Shahzad

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As a fledgling Android developer one of the first things you'll need to do is get your head around Activity Classes. We can't overstate the importance of this. A sharp, fluid understanding of how each class interacts with each other class, and the end result for end users will not only speed along your project dev time, but open up new possibilities for your programming. So let's take a look at these in some detail.

  • onCreate(): This is called when the activity first starts up. You can use it to perform one-time initialization such as launching the user interface. onCreate() utilizes one parameter that is either null or state information previously saved by the onSaveInstanceState( ) method, discussed below.

  • onStart(): This indicates the activity is about to be displayed to the user.

  • onResume(): This is called when the user can start interacting with the activity. This is a good place to start animations and music.

  • onRestart(): If this is called, it indicates your activity is being redisplayed to the user from a stopped state.

  • onFreeze(): Allows you to save your current state when one activity is being paused and another one resumes to interact with the user. After being paused, the system may at any time need to stop (or even outright kill) your application in order to claim resources for the current foreground activity. If this should happen, the state you supply here will later be recalled with onCreate(), when the user starts a new instance of your activity.

  • onPause(): This runs when the activity is about to go into the background, usually because another activity has been launched in front of it. This is where you should save your program's persistent state, such as a database record being edited.

  • onStop(): This is called when your activity is no longer visible to the user and it won't be needed for a while. If memory is tight, onStop() may never be called (the system may simply terminate your process).

  • onDestroy(): This is called right before your activity is destroyed. If memory is tight, onDestroy( ) may never be called (the system may simply terminate your process).

  • onSaveInstanceState(Bundle): Android calls this method to allow the activity to save per-instance states, such as a cursor position within a text field. Usually you won't need to override it because the default implementation saves the state for user interface controls automatically.

  • onRestoreInstanceState(Bundle): This is called when the activity is being reinitialized from a state previously saved by the onSaveInstanceState() method. The default implementation restores the state of your user interface.

I hope this brings you up to speed on Android Activity Classes. The more familiar you are with Activity Classes and how and they affect the end user experience, the more successful your Android apps development will be.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/programming-articles/android-development-android-activity-classes-explained-in-detail-4122992.html

About the Author

Sourcebits is a professional iPhone, iPad and Android Developer. We have the expertise and unmatched experience in Android Development. We build best-selling applications tailored to client specifications for various platforms like iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, and Palm Pre