The “Voices of Oakland” uses Augmented Reality (AR) technology to introduce visitors to the history and architecture of Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta’s oldest cemetery. Wearing headphones and carrying a portable computer and tracking devices, visitors walk among the graves and listen to the voices of various historical figures. Visitors can tailor the experience to suit their interests through a hand-held interface. The Voices of Oakland is a prototype created using DART (the Designer’s Augmented Reality Toolkit) and evaluated using the “Wizard of Oz” approach with volunteer participants.The Voices of Oakland was conceived and implemented in the GVU Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, with audio production assistance from the Digital Arts Entertainment Lab (DAEL) at Georgia State University.
In this prototype of The Voices of Oakland, the experience is controlled from a second portable computer communicating with the visitors’ computer over a wireless network. This second computer acts as a kind of “Wizard of Oz” interface, allowing the tour guide to monitor which buttons the visitors have pressed on their hand-held and to decide what audio segment should be delivered next. In the final version of the experience, the visitors’ position will also be tracked using a GPS (Global Positioning System) device, allowing the experience to work without a human “wizard.”The visitors walk through the cemetery and approach graves pointed out by the narrator, or any other grave they find interesting. In our current prototype, they can use the hand-held device to select audio segments concerning: the life of the figure buried there, the historical context, or the art and architecture of the cemetery.