ASBURY PARK, NJ - The Asbury Park Boardwalk has been experiencing an upswing recently. The restaurant, entertainment, and tourism industries have all helped this revival. But like many American urban zones, the boardwalk has changed significantly in its 100 year history – many structures that once contributed to its fame are no longer standing. Monmouth University professors Mike Richison and Marina Vujnovic and Kean University professor Ed Johnston spent two years researching this history.
This summer, the trio launched Asbury Park’s first historical augmented reality tour – Augmented Asbury Park. The project is an augmented reality reconstruction of several key landmarks that once populated the boardwalk. Participants can expect to see full-scale computer-generated 3D models of famous landmarks such as Palace Amusements, the SS Morro Castle, and the Boardwalk Carousel on their smart phones. Augmented Asbury Park will be live for at least a year. To demonstrate and promote the project, Richison and Johnston are conducting boardwalk walking tours every Sunday in July at 2:30 pm. Tours start in the grand arcade of Convention Hall.
Boardwalk enthusiasts do not have to attend these tours to participate in the augmented experience. The augmented content is available at any time. This project is completely free and accessible to anyone with an iPhone, Android device, or tablet with a wireless connection. Augmented reality allows people to see a three-dimensional image on the screens of their mobile devices as an overlay on top of their normal camera view. The 3D imagery can interact with a flat image called a marker or it can exist out in the open at a specific geographic location. Augmented Asbury Park uses both methods.
To take part in this free digital experience, you must first download the free mobile app Junaio, created by developer Metaio. Once Junaio is loaded, you can load the augmented content by searching for “Augmented Asbury Park” in the app’s search feature or by using the app to scan the special QR code on free postcards that will be distributed on the. Seeing it onsite is the best way to experience the project, but it also works in the comfort of your own home. The project website www.augmentedasburypark.com provides free downloadable markers that serve as portable sites for the 3D content. This enables the project to be distributed to the public off-site in the local community and schools. (Please see attached images.)
The project started with the digital reconstruction of the carousel that once stood inside the Carousel House on the boardwalk. The team was given a grant from Monmouth University to research and document the boardwalk carousel. In the 1990s, the Asbury Park boardwalk carousel was sold to Family Kingdom, an amusement park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The team traveled to Myrtle Beach to collect reference images. The carousel was photographed and reconstructed as a digital model.
Last fall, the team conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign which gave them the capital to digitally rebuild other key landmarks. Asbury Park library’s large postcard collection was instrumental for gathering images of such landmark structures as Palace Amusements, The SS Morro Castle, the Natatorium, the Casino, and the Monterey Hotel. Johnston, Richison, and Vujnovic also presented the project at TEDx Navesink in Red Bank, NJ last May. They plan to work with other local businesses and schools and spread this project as a free educational resource.
Augmented Asbury Park is fully operational and tours will be available every Sunday at 2:30 PM. The 3D models are visible via the free mobile app Junaio onsite on the boardwalk and on augmented reality markers, available on the project’s website www.augmentedasburypark.com. More information on this project can also be found at the project website:www.augmentedasburypark.com, on Facebook: Augmented Asbury Park, and Instagram and Twitter: @augmentedasbury