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Canberra start-up bringing new life to augmented reality

Date

Matthew Raggatt

Amber Standley, 30 at the Think. Create. Innovate. Canberra exhibition with her augmented reality app.

Amber Standley, 30 at the Think. Create. Innovate. Canberra exhibition with her augmented reality app. Photo: Melissa Adams

In a digital-dominated world it can take more than a pretty picture to attract people to a display or a product.

Amber Standley knew this, and when the chance to take a redundancy from the University of Canberra presented in April, she invested her payout in the emerging commercial area of augmented reality.

From alumni portraits to rocks and even a baby Skywhale, Ms Standley, 30, is now a leader in bringing a range of objects to life. In her latest exhibition – part of the second Festival of Ambitious Ideas in Canberra on Wednesday – she used portrait photos and her new augmented reality app to promote some of her fellow entrepreneurs. Glowing spires displayed each portrait. 

"When you download the free app and hover your device's camera over the portrait, a 'hologram' of a mini entrepreneur pops up and tells you about their secrets to success," Ms Standley said.

Her company-of-one APositive, contracts people to film the three-dimensional videos that appear on people's tablets or smartphones when overlaid on the physical object or image used.

While Google continues to test its Glass eyeware computer and augmented apps provide the option of virtual tours, Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre chief executive Anna Pino – who connected Ms Standley to the government funders of the spires project – said Ms Standley's use of  augmented reality technology was unique.

"When we put that [spires] Think. Create. Innovate ACT project together, she was the only one we could find in Canberra using that technology in that way," Ms Pino said.

Ms Standley worked for several years making ads for the University of Canberra and has deferred her study of a Master of Digital Design to start the business.

The Bruce resident said she was finding new uses for augmented reality, a technology that has been around for about four years, and there was a wide scope for growth in helping spread business messages.

"AR appeals to technical and non-technical audiences," she said.

"It can be extremely engaging and create massive social buzz.

"Content is still king, there are a lot of gimmicky AR experiences that rely too heavily on the wow factor of the technology and as a result the intended message is lost."

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