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I'm glad I don't have to do a poster for a conference any time soon

Better Posters is a helpful site for poster design, but every so often I'll see something that makes me glad I'm not competing for attention in a conference poster session. In this case there's a poster with augmented reality. At the moment I think it's more gimmick than must-have, but it's certainly something that's worth keeping an eye on.

One of the factors that does bother me slightly is the expense. In my case when I had a poster I wanted to tour I was looking at the problem of animation. Animated sections for parts of the poster would have helped. For example it could explain how I was measuring stuff over time by allowing an image to have 2D + time dimensions instead of just 2D and a lot of text. I looked seriously at lenticular printing and decided that was insanely expensive and not good enough.

Now, with cheap-ish sub £70 tablets available it becomes more of a problem about whether you can incorporate film in a poster. It is expensive, but printing is around £50 for an academic poster. Adding mounted video displays now doubles or trebles the cost of a poster, but it's no longer in the region of a magnitude more expensive. When you add travel and accommodation costs for big conferences, video display is now cheap enough that it's a sane expense, but expensive enough that it's a big hit for self-funded students.

The answer isn't to ban augmented features to posters. That makes as much sense as banning laptops above a certain specification because not everyone can afford them, but maybe enlightened departments could be putting together reusable components for poster displays for their students. This may be boards and supports in some cases and, if so, cheap tablet displays that can also be re-used at successive conferences.

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Better Posters: An augmented reality poster
I've talked about various ways to make posters more interactive, from using QR codes to showing video. This is another step in making posters more dynamic: using augmented reality. Jump to the 4 minut…

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