'Autovation' uses augmented reality to bring car shell to life

'Autovation' uses augmented reality to bring car shell to life
Autovation is a collaboration between OMSI, Dick Hannah Dealerships and Washington State University. The project is designed to highlight how advances in automobile technology have improved safety and increased fuel efficiency. - 6/11 - (Kai Hayashi / KATU.com)

PORTLAND, Ore. - A new display was unveiled at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry this week, one that features an auto body shell hanging from the ceiling and uses augmented reality technology to bring the vehicle's inner workings to life.

Autovation was a collaboration by OMSI, Dick Hannah Dealerships and Washington State University Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture Program. The idea was to design something that would highlight how advances in automobile technology have improved safety and increased fuel efficiency.

"We are delighted to play the role of hub between industry and academia and display their work for the benefit of the general public," Mark Patel, OMSI's vice president of marketing, retail and sales, said in a news release. "This innovative showpiece will allow visitors to see the automobile in a whole new way."

"I am so proud of these students who worked tirelessly to deliver such an amazing piece to be enjoyed by OMSI visitors for years to come," Dene Grigar, program director of WSU Vancouver's Creative Media and Digital Culture Program. "This experience will be invaluable as these students pursue related careers."

So how does this augmented reality thing work?

You just point one of the built-in iPad viewers - or even your own smartphone - at the car and it'll come to life. For example, if you point it at the hood, you'll see an animated, 3-D engine that appears to float in space. Prompts on the screen give you more detailed views and additional information.

Autovation will be a permanent feature at OMSI. It's housed in the museum's engineering -themed Turbine Hall.