Innovation That Matters

Augmented reality app helps libraries keep track of books

Work & Lifestyle

Library books that have been shelved incorrectly are a constant cause of frustration for those searching for a specific text, and rearranging them is constant chore for library staff. Hoping to make the task a little easier for librarians everywhere, ShelvAR is an augmented reality app for Android devices that’s designed to help library workers scan books to identify and re-shelve those that were put in the wrong spot. Developed by Miami University’s Augmented Reality Research Group, ShelvAR was created to speed up the process of shelf-reading, whereby library staff check to make sure books are filed in the right place. Staffers simply launch the software on an Android tablet or phone and then point the device’s camera at a section of shelf. Tags placed on books’ spines ahead of time are encoded with each book’s call number, allowing ShelvAR to recognize multiple books individually and “see” if they’re in the right place. A green check mark appears over the tag of books that were shelved correctly while a red “x” flags those that weren’t. When the user zooms in on those problematic books, a large green arrow appears to indicate where the book should go. ShelvAR can also be used for inventory purposes by generating a list of the books it has scanned so far. A video on YouTube demonstrates the app in action. Whether it’s guiding tourists through a new city or helping road warriors find a place to work, augmented reality offers possibilities that have only just begun to be explored. App-minded entrepreneurs: Be inspired! (Related: T-shirt uses augmented reality for virtual webcam gameSocial shopping site adds an augmented reality twistMobile app brings augmented reality to music festival.) Spotted by: Katharina Kieck



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