NASA Flywheel is an augmented reality application intended to highlight NASA Glenn’s research efforts in the area of flywheel energy storage systems. The app utilizes a printed optical target, available on the GRC Flywheel Program brochure and through the NASA Glenn Web portal, to present users with 3D views of flywheel hardware and space applications. Additional video and imagery are also included in the application package. The software has been compiled and bundled as an iOS app for the iPad, and is intended for release through the Apple App Store.
The app provides a digital enhancement to GRC publications about newer technology and research efforts at the Center, and provides greater public recognition and awareness of GRC research through newer digital delivery technologies.
The app provides interesting solutions to information distribution and user experience. First, it ties GRC publications to digital content by introducing an optical target and download URL to the printed piece. The app becomes an adjunct to the material presented in the publication. Second, the app utilizes augmented reality to present some of the content in a unique way. Augmented reality allows users to view 3D content by pointing their mobile device camera at the optical target on the printed piece. The 3D content appears in the camera as if it were part of the physical world being viewed. Users can then view the three-dimensional content from any angle or distance. The app also provides some video and image content to provide additional context to the technology. Last, the distribution mechanism of Apple’s App Store provides a cost-free mechanism to disseminate educational and informational NASA material to the general public.