The legendary Maple Leaf Gardens has been digitally recreated through the use of AR technology.
A team of five students from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, have used an augmented reality app in order to recreate the experience of the former Maple Leaf Gardens and its best moments throughout history, for the visitors of its current location.
The building is the site of the previous home to the city’s NHL and NBA teams, among others.
The base of the experience was constructed using Aurasma, the British photo recognition software that is used for augmented reality around the world. It was the foundation of the Mattamy AC Interactive application. It works by creating a historic audio and video footage overlay, over top of images at the Mattamy Athletic Centre, which was previously known as Maple Leaf Gardens.
Aurasma was involved in previous similar augmented reality projects, such as one for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.
This most recent augmented reality project was started in September as a thesis project for the group, which included 21 year old Shaun Ono. He stated that the team was seeking to push the current boundaries and develop something that could change the experience that media could provide in 2013.
Ono stated that “So we decided that we wanted to do some sort of digital media project and what we were all very interested in was history,” and went on to add that “We asked ourselves, how could we mesh the two of the together?”
The app was applied in order to allow its users to aim their smartphones at any of the many images lining the walls of the Mattamy Athletic Centre. These pictures include everything from top moments in music history to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and other sporting events that were historically notable. For instance, when the app is aimed at an image of Tim Horton, the legendary hockey player for the Maple Leafs (and namesake of the international coffee chain), the image morphs into an interactive hockey card.
The augmented reality project was funded by a $4,000 grant from the university that allowed the team to purchase the rights to the photos and footage that they required. Ono noted that it was obtaining the rights, and not developing and using the technology, that was “probably our biggest hurdle”. The rest of the team included Ryan Bertram, Dylan McFadyen, Marshall Jeskie, and Josh Nieman.