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Augmented Reality App Brings Penn State’s Obelisk Monument To Life

An augmented reality mobile app will serve as an educational tool for the oldest monument on Penn State’s main campus.

Developers in Penn State’s Department of Geography created an AR app to give users information about every little detail of the Obelisk — a 33-foot tall structure nestled in between the Willard and Sackett Buildings alongside Pattee Mall.

“There’s a database connected to each stone,” Arif Masrur, a doctoral student in the Department of Geography, said in a release. “So whenever you touch any stone in the app, you can see where it came from, how old it is, and other information.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of augmented reality, it is an interactive method of giving users information about a certain item or structure. Users can point their phone’s camera at anything and an interactive 3D rendering of the subject shows up on their screen. In this case, information about specific rocks and materials used in the construction of the Obelisk pop up on either side of the rendering, giving some brief background on the stone type and where it originated.

The Department of Geography offered a visual demonstration of the app in use on Friday.

The app gives tons of detailed information, but Masrur — who worked on the project with geography professor Alexander Klippel and senior research associate for the Department of Geography Jan Oliver Wallgrün — has big plans to expand the app’s features in the future.

“Eventually our goal is to also include 360-degree photos of the actual environment from where each rock was excavated,” Masrur said.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

Mikey is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's Assistant Sports Editor. He grew up in Bedminster, NJ and is way too obnoxious about all the best things his home state has to offer. He likes to play golf, but he isn't very good at it because golf is hard. If you're dying to see more hockey/golf content on your timeline, you can follow Mikey on Twitter @mikey_mandarino. Send all hate mail/death threats to [email protected]

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