Dedicated to building
and expanding the ARA sector

The OARN Collaboration

The Ontario Augmented Reality Network (OARN) is a collaboration of universities, private-sector developers, cultural agencies, trade associations, local government, and business generators dedicated to building and expanding the Augmented Reality sector.  A gap currently exists in AR development; no one location yet dominates this young sector, giving Ontario the opportunity to take the lead in AR development rather than being left behind.

Supporting the AR Sector

The OARN collaboration is supporting the development of the AR sector in Ontario through three types of activities: training; knowledge-sharing (through conferences, workshops and an online community); and research.  Sharing and expanding our understanding of how to use these technologies more effectively and in more situations will translate into new products, a more highly qualified personnel pool, and eventually job creation and the long-term growth of the entertainment and creative cluster in Ontario. 

By Lian Chang from New York City, via Wikimedia Commons

Core Researchers

Kevin Kee, Ph.D.

Project Director

Kevin Kee is the Canada Research Chair in Humanities Computing and Associate Professor at the Centre for Digital Humanities at Brock University.  He has been a Director and Project Director of History New Media at the National Film Board of Canada, and the principal investigator of numerous projects researching and developing computer simulations and games for history.  He has written a book and articles on history computing and Canadian cultural history, and developed history web sites, simulations and games.  He also leads a company that develops interactive media for learning and entertainment.

William J. Turkel, Ph.D.

Research Faculty

William Turkel is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Western Ontario. He is the Director of Digital Infrastructure for NiCHE: Network in Canadian History & Environment, a SSHRC-funded strategic knowledge cluster. He was also the primary investigator for “Place-Based Computing for Environmental and Public History” (funded by a SSHRC RDI grant) and “Interactive, Ambient, and Tangible Devices for Knowledge Mobilization” (funded by a SSHRC ITST research grant).  He has been programming for about 30 years and received his Ph.D. from M.I.T.

Robert MacDougall, Ph.D.

Research Faculty

Robert MaDougall is a historian of the United States and Canada with a special interest in digital history, information and communication technology.  He is the Associate Director of  the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for American Studies. He was offered a Cabot Fellowship for Innovation in Teaching at Harvard University in 2004-2005 for a proposal to integrate digital technologies into education at Harvard. Dr. MacDougall has been collaborating with Drs. Kee and Turkel on a small-scale exploratory research project related to augmented reality. He is also an award-winning game designer.

Mike Duncan, Ph.D.


Mike Duncan is the Chair of Visualization Sciences at Niagara College. Dr. Duncan founded the Centre for Advanced Visualization and the Augmented Reality Research Centre. In 2004, he was the recipient of one of six NSERC Community College Innovation Pilot Program grants awarded across Canada.  In 2009 Niagara College received one of the first Community College Innovation grants (administered by NSERC) of $2.3 million for the development of the Land Use Technology centre.  He is currently funded by OMAFRA, OCE, and CONII for work applying Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality techniques to precision agriculture.

Cross-disciplinary multi-location collaboration

OARN’s cross-disciplinary, multi-location collaboration will speed the knowledge-sharing and knowledge-generation process and produce results more quickly than previous initiatives.

This is crucial because a gap currently exists in ARA development; no one location yet dominates this young sector, giving Ontario the opportunity to take the lead in ARA development rather than being left behind.

This will provide opportunities for exchange among the participants, build and expand the network of ARA developers.

The developers will also conduct companion research, where most appropriate to their needs. They will be aided by the researchers and their students, working in their labs, who will generate best practices for the design, development and testing of augmented reality application technologies, models and processes.

The researchers and educators will, in concert with developers, research and create recommendations for interactive media training for present and future generations of developers in Ontario. Cultural agencies will provide content, such as films, that can be repurposed and used in fundamentally new ways.

OARN is made possible by a grant from the Ontario Media Development Corporation.