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

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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When he's not tired, fixing his car or caught in train delays, Alun Salt works part-time for the Annals of Botany weblog. His PhD was in ancient science at the University of Leicester, but he doesn't know Richard III.