ASU grads develop AR app for education

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Arizona State University (ASU) graduates Maureen van Dobben, Amy Rodriguez and Jordan Neel are only a month out of college and are already immersive technologists with a product on the market.

The team has released LeARn, an educational app that uses augmented reality (AR) and is available to download now on Google Play.

The digital culture graduates, from ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering, used $3,000 in funding earned by reaching the final round of the year-long ASU Research Enterprise Virtual Reality Innovation Challenge to put the finishing touches to the app.

Van Dobben explained that the app uses AR to help young learners master fractions. “In this instance, augmented reality helps students understand complex abstract concepts by creating a connection between the numerical form of the fraction and what that number actually represents.”

The team, along with fellow digital culture alumni Ryan Black, spent the preceding 12 months working on the app, which they first demonstrated in December 2018 as part of the School of Arts, Media and Engineering’s Digital Culture Showcase.

It was the help of ASU and the $3,000 in funding that helped to turn the app into a reality. “The ASURE funding was incredibly helpful for our development,” van Dobben said. “With it, we were able to purchase supplementary tools like a MacBook Pro, an iPad and an Android tablet.”

For the VR Innovation Challenge, participants submitted proposals to develop a use case into a novel and innovative system that utilises virtual, cinematic, augmented or mixed reality to address and solve a real world problem.

Through the course of the challenge, the LeARn team collaborated with Betsy Fowler and Leslie Easton of ASU Prep Digital to test the app with sixth, seventh and eight grade students at Garden Lakes Elementary School.

Image credit: Maureen van Dobben