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Unit information: Augmenting the Real World in 2022/23

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Augmenting the Real World
Unit code COMSM0129
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Aaron Zhang
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)

Introduction to Immersive Technologies and Arts (TB1)

Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department School of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Unit Information

As one of the principal types of immersive technologies, Augmented Reality (AR) provide a direct link between the physical reality and virtual information, generating an interactive experience with computer-generated objects residing in the enhanced real environment. It has been used in many applications such as training, tourism, games, marketing and healthcare. This unit, Augmenting the Real World, is designed to enable students on the MSc to gain critical skill and knowledge in AR that will allow them to succeed in developing engaging immersive experiences.

This unit is a core disciplinary competency of the MSc Immersive Technologies (Augmented and Virtual Reality) programme. It introduces how augmented reality is achieved, giving students an understanding of how camera and real-world alignment occurs with students being taught how to use professional augmentation devices and Software Developer Kits (SDK) such as Vuforia or Google’s Core. This unit is a mandatory unit.

Your learning on this unit

Overview of Content

This unit will introduce how augmented reality is achieved through various application examples of this powerful real-world user interface technology. It will cover the core techniques used in augmented reality, based on which the students will be taught to use professional AR devices and Development Kits, which will improve their practical experience and understanding of typical AR system architectures. Specifically, the unit will cover the following theoretical topics:

  • Introduction to Augmented Reality
  • AR Displays
  • Tracking
  • Calibration and Registration
  • Interaction
  • Visualisation
  • Modelling and Annotation
  • Software Architectures
  • AR Applications

We will demonstrate a couple of AR application examples based on existing software development kits. These cases will help the student to accumulate practical skills required by AR project development.

In this unit, the students are expected to obtain theoretical knowledge and practical skills of AR technology. By the end of the unit, the students will be able to use the professional AR devices and Software Development Kits offered by this unit to build their own AR applications, and gain experience required for planning, delivering, and communicating project in an academic or commercial environment.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Design, develop and implement an AR prototype through an iterative agile process.
  2. Communicate and evaluate different AR solutions positioning their practice within the field.
  3. Identify, analyse and critically reflect upon the ethical and safety aspects which need to be considered when developing an AR experience.
  4. Develop a professional degree of proficiency of the technologies required in designing, developing and implementing an AR experience including AR devices and Software Development Kits.
  5. Professionally plan, deliver and communicate their AR production process.
  6. Critically reflect upon effective collaboration within an AR production team.

How you will learn

  • Practical & teacher supported hands-on development using commercial AR devices and Software Development Kits.
  • Examples and guidance will be given by experienced researchers.
  • Case studies on primary AR applications.
  • Group-based coursework is suited to the unit in order to simulate the format of real-world immersive interaction development norms of industry.
  • Weekly group-based lab exercises grant the students the opportunity to socially construct their knowledge – reconstructing and discussing ideas together as a team to develop shared mental models of the course content, while staff support can contribute to these discussions and provide regular, incremental feedback.

How you will be assessed

100% coursework submission

  • A group produced AR experience. Students will work in small teams (5-6) to create an AR prototype. Students will report regularly on their individual contributions which will be used to award individual marks if the contribution of team members is not even: ILOs 1-6

Tasks which help you learn and prepare for summative tasks (formative)

Practical sessions run in parallel with theory sessions. These practical sessions will follow a lab format, comprised of a lab tutorial with an activity which helps support the students on their learning trajectory towards completion of their AR prototype experience. As part of their formative assessment, this activity will be validated by one of the unit coordinators or teaching assistants so students get regular feedback on their development process.

Tasks which count towards your unit mark (summative)

The coursework will include the following tasks for assessment:

  • The AR Pitch (group presentation + working demonstration) (40%) - Group Submission
  • AR Design and Development document (60%) - Group Submission

When assessment does not go to plan

For students who will be required to undertake a re-assessment if there are enough students a new group will be formed in order to undertake the creation of an AR prototype. If there are not enough students requiring a reassessment to form a new team or forming a new team is deemed not possible then the student will be required to individually undertake a pro-rata contribution to a creation of an AR prototype, this may mean that a student only completes a specific stage of a full AR prototype development.

  • Game Pitch (individual presentation + working demonstration) (40%) - Individual or group submission
  • Game Design and Development Document (60%) - Individual or group submission


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. COMSM0129).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.