STAMFORD — DeAndre Rodas and Sean Perry are obsessed with cars.
So it came as no surprise when the 9- and 13-year-olds began drawing and coloring vehicles onto a sheet of acetate overlaid on a photograph at Artscapes, a so-called augmented-reality workshop at the Ferguson Library.
Artscapes is a new library initiative in which users superimpose a computer-generated image of the real world and create their own view, adding whatever elements they wish. The process involves using the free app BlippAR.
The library recently provided photographs of the interior main staircase and a pyramid sculpture outside so participants could devise their own image. The boys both chose the outside view. Using markers, DeAndre colored in a car in the background and added other elements. Sean added a car to his image off to the left side. Their artwork then was scanned into a computer, processed by a technician and — voila — the boys’ view of that small part of the library world was complete.
Alice Knapp, library president, said the Ferguson has been promoting programs in “virtual reality” for about year. “People really enjoy it,” she said. The library offers VR sessions using HTC Vive, which enables users to “paint with light in three dimensions, explore distant locales with Google Earth VR and jam with invisible instruments,” according to a description on its website.
The idea to bring augmented reality to the library came from Hugh Seaton, CEO of the Stamford-based Aquinas, which uses virtual reality to help train or re-train management and its workforce.
“Everyone in tech,” he said, including Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft, is pursuing augmented reality programs. By fall, he added, augmented reality will be “huge” as more and more technology companies get involved.
To add to the fun for DeAndre and Sean, Seaton brought up the boys’ artwork on his smart phone’s screen —which can be done through the app — and took a photo of them standing near the pyramid sculpture so that they were now part of their overall image.
Additional Artscapes sessions will be held Aug. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and July 18 and Aug. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. At the end of the summer, the library will have a contest for the best use of augmented reality.
For information, call 203-351-8231 or visit www.fergusonlibrary.org.