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T. Muilu, N. Nguyen, A. Dirin

Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science (FINLAND)
The use of smart devices such as smartphones has become far more than just answering calls and receiving emails. Instead, the pocket-device creates multiple chances for users to experience the virtual world and its spectrum of technology benefits. It is easier today to see more people around us watching a tutorial video from their phones while experiencing the motions via their virtual reality or VR headsets. There is a noticeable fact that the add-on appliance can be expensive to afford for many. The solution that we have come up is a Mobile Augmented Reality (MAR) (Höllerer & Feiner, 2004) in an educational context.

In contrast to virtual reality, augmented reality does not require the user to have an additional device in order to experience virtual elements (Carmigniani et al., 2011). AR emphasizes on the three-dimensions or the 3D world, which brings out 3D elements in the real-time environment that user interacts. Users can even move the character around and look at them from many angles. AR technology is a means to enhance user's engagement and emotional connection with the application they are using (Dirin, 2018).

Mobile user experience mandates (Dirin, Laine, & Nieminen, 2017) that the user engages with the application while using the application. Imagine if there is an application that has a life-like avatar and has users communicate with it as they would with a normal person. These types of the application results that users use the application for a longer run.

Our MAR solution interacts with an AR 3D avatar through voice commands. Using the Unity game engine with Vuforia AR SDK and IBM Watson SDK allows us to create AR solutions. The application design is aimed to give the Haaga-Helia's University of Applied Science, Business Information technology (BITE) programme’s freshmen a new learning experience to their new university through AR technology. To implement a MAR solution, we start with the Unity game engine. Its flexibility as a game engine is not only for making games but also is used for a plethora of purposes such as augmented reality and virtual reality experiences. Unity has already integrated the Vuforia AR platform into their system, so we prepare the target that Vuforia will recognize and place our model into the virtual world based on that.

The application concept and design are expanded from using AR to create an interactive humanoid to engaging students in serious learning games. Our aim is to emphasize the fun and emotional involvement. The principle of our application design is to deliver the messages to users effectively and efficiently. The main aim of the application design and development has been focused on providing users with delightful experiences that last in their memory as a continuous enjoyment. Following our principles, we have come up with AR element games in which students can play the games while talking or listening to an AR character. The character is based on a real teacher who makes cheering and supportive comments about their game performances.