Augmented reality postcards tackle environmental education

What happens to our waste when we throw it away? The Nature and Technology Park “URDA” and Daibe Sustainability Center are utilizing augmented reality in its latest campaign to answer this question, and educate adolescents on circular economy and the environment.

Steps

1. Get Overly app for mobile

2. Scan this image with the Overly app

3. Experience magic

Scan this image with the free Overly app

Project overview

“Create without creating waste” (“Radi, lieku neradot!”)is a campaign aimed at educating teens about the circular economy and its competencies, as well as inspiring the new generation to take an active role in reducing or transforming waste materials. The three-dimensional (3D) AR learning postcards have joined various project initiatives to engage its tech-savvy audience with the topic interactively.

Results

The AR postcards are styled to resemble a pirate treasure map. Allowing people to follow in the footsteps of waste, the cards showcase a product’s journey from warehouse-to-trash. Once they reach the destination on the map, they can look inside by opening a virtual world via the Overly app. The AR 3D layer reveals an illustrated bird’s eye view of the Landfill Daibe. Clickable location markers allow the users to explore what takes place once waste arrives at the landfill and features online links to drive further interaction.

Speaking the audience’s language

The augmented reality postcards are just a fraction of the campaign team’s efforts, having been launched alongside educational comics, online lectures,  and computer games. However, augmented reality was implemented as a thoroughly considered step, shares the public relations lead at “Create without creating waste”, Liena Kreismane. “We gave a lot of thought to all campaign materials because teens are a very specific audience, and it is vital to target them with the right materials. A press pack would not do anything here. Augmented reality is a cool way to speak to the youngsters in a language they understand.”

 

Liena also shares that once the organization opens for group visits, staff will hand out the scannable augmented reality postcards to all visitors regardless of age. “Although the card was born alongside other campaign ideas for teens, we see that the novelty of AR will give it a long lifespan even after the campaign is over. It may be of interest to other visitors so we designed it completely differently from other materials so it can remain as an independent handout hereafter.”

Quality engagement key measurable in education

Although the number of postcard scans would be the most fundamental metric for many businesses, quality of individual interactions are more important in this educational project, emphasizes Liena. “Yes, of course, we will be tracking scans, but the purpose of the augmented reality card is to capture those interested and demonstrate the waste journey to them, educate people on how the landfill operates, and how many processes occur here. The clickable location markers also encourage users to visit our website or play games created for the campaign. This provides multiple virtual access points for people to engage with the topic and helps us to cross-promote other avenues of information.”

 

The team is currently sharing the postcard during online lectures, but they expect to derive the most value of AR functionality when the lockdown is complete and all visitors get physical cards. “It’s not the same effect when you scan a computer screen. The fact that the printed card comes to life in someone’s hands is what makes it a wonderful project. Once the world is back in order, AR postcards will serve as a great tool to capture attention and educate people on how the landfill operates,” Liena adds.

 

The educational augmented reality postcards are part of a wider campaign “Create without creating waste” (Radi, lieku neradot!”), in which Daibe Sustainability Center and Nature and Technology Park “URDA” have joined forces to allow young people to learn about the circular economy and its connection to the environment. Project implementation no. 1-08/76/2020. Funded by Latvian Environmental Protection Fund.

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