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VotAR user guide

First of all


VotAR is an Augmented Reality audience Voting or audience survey system. Your audience hold some papers with a special printed symbol to vote, and as the speaker you take a photo of it with this app, it will analyze the photo to count the votes.

Why ?

  • You want to get your audience feedback for a course or a conference ?
  • You want to add something fun, high-tech, low-tech, simple and geeky to your presentation ?
  • You don't want to spend thousands on clickers ?

How does it work ?

  1. Prepare a list of "single choice questions" with 2 to 4 possible choice to pick from, to use during a presentation
  2. Print and distribute one VotAR paper for each student on a color printer (double sided front and back ; back side can be hand-written). Can be downloaded here http://poinsart.com/ftp/ste/votar/
  3. Present a question you want to your audience
  4. Ask your audience to hold the colored side facing you and rotate it to see on their side the letter of their choice right side up
  5. Take a photo of your audience
  6. Wait until the results are displayed

With a video-projector

If you want live display on a laptop + video-projector, which is recommended :

  1. Put your two devices on the same network
    • Join the same pre-existing wifi network from your smartphone and your laptop
    • OR...
    • Create your own wifi network on your smartphone (wifi hotspot or access point...) and connect to it from your laptop
  2. An URL is displayed on your smartphone, use it on your laptop with the latest version Firefox or Google Chrome (Internet Explorer not supported !)

If there are some connection problems : university or corporate networks often limit wifi usage to internet browsing only. They do not always allow 2 devices to communicate directly. VotAR does not send your data over the internet, so it needs this kind of direct connection

  • Create your own wifi network, like explained above. It will work around the problem completely.
  • If your web-browser on the laptop is configured to use an internet proxy, disable it temporarily or exclude the ip range used by your smartphone. A proxy is often required to browse the internet but it has more chance to succeed without one for direct connection on the same network.
  • Contact your IT crowd, explain them your needs. (By default VotAR use the port 51285 TCP, if this information is of any assistance)

Making the best of VotAR

Explaining to your audience how it works

90% of the public will understand immediately how to use VotAR. But dont give up on the remaining 10% !

  • Write down the informations on the slide before the first question
  • Explain orally, and demonstrate the procedure by holding the paper yourself
  • Create a test question, ask a trivial question first, with an obvious answer. It will also allow you to measure the maximum participant count and the error margin.
  • Display the question on the video-projector, it will be a lot easier for your audience not to have to memorize it.
  • Knowing when to lift the paper allow the participants to avoid many mistakes. Give a warning just before taking the picture. As a visual indicator, activate the flash on the camera settings, even when not required.

For a good detection

  • Test : test before the event, preferably in the same room, to avoid bad surprises
  • Increase the lighting : a powerful enough lightning without an hue shift, natural if possible, improve the contrast and sharpness of the photo.
  • If very few symbols are detected : if lightning can't be brought to an acceptable level, the photo could have a yellow hue, which mess up the color selection. In that case, try to change the camera "white balance" settings to "incandescent".
  • If the photo is not wide enough : when the angle does not cover all the room
    • Try to reposition yourself at the best place in the room
    • Alternate on every photo to take a different part of the public with each question so that everybody can participate.
    • Consider buying a smartphone wide-angle lense (the suggested link is just an example amongst many similar product, please check the compatibility with your device).
  • Avoid bad photo quality devices : VotAR require at least a half-decent quality smartphone camera, it's usually what you get when buying most of them. But for some models, it's just not good enough (to give you some popular example of what you should avoid : Galaxy Y, Galaxy Tab 2 et 3). Please review the camera benchmarks to know more.

Risks and limitations

  • While VotAR usually get an impressively accurate result, there is still an error margin. Don't use it for "official votes" (i.e. voting on a strategic decision...). Those votes could be contested and you could be put in a delicate situation.
  • Taking a photo of an audience, and making it available is often subjected to legal regulation (usually an individual can forbid his photo to be taken, used or redistributed). Make sure you are in compliance with laws in your country and have all the required authorizations to proceed.
  • If connected to a WiFi network, anyone on the same network can access your last photo and it's statistics (even if you put the VotAR application in the background). Create your own secure WiFi network if you want to prevent those accesses.
  • For extended respect of your privacy, VotAR does not use any internet server to handle the photo, they are processed locally on your phone.
  • If your smartphone use google services (google play...), thise services send statistical data to google about VotAR usage. This is not specific to VotAR but affect every application handled by google services.
  • Classic disclaimer : to the maximum extent permitted by the law, VotAR developers can't be held responsible for any error, problem or inconvenience resulting from its use (including possible bugs, reliability issues, overexcited audience...).