Owner and Manager of Fintastic Aquariums, Lorraine McGuinness began her career in business and animal care in 1998 by opening her very first pet store in Eglinton, Co. Derry. Following the success of this store she opened her second store in Ballykelly in 2004. With years of helping people with their pet cares, Lorraine developed a keen interest and passion for aquariums and the benefits they can bring to people and their businesses. In 2006 Lorraine founded Fintastic Aquarium Services and offered a unique opportunity for homes, businesses, schools and healthcare to experience everything that an aquarium has to offer with all of the hassle removed. Fintastic Aquariums have now installed over 200 aquariums across N. Ireland & Ireland from hair salons to care homes, primary schools to colleges. Offering a complete package from design consultation to installation and regular cleaning and maintenance.
The company wanted to design and test an interactive fish tank using augmented reality to educate and entertain primary and secondary school pupils. They also wanted to create multiple characters and animations about aquatic wildlife to provide a visual and engaging experience to students.
To assist with the development of their concept, Fintastic Aquariums was supported by North West Regional College (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) through the InnovateUs programme which is funded by the Department for the Economy.
NWRC Creative and Digital Media Technical Consultant, Aaron McKeever, provided 60 hours of upskilling support in creating characters and bespoke animations, using motion capture technology, using augmented reality to test motion captured data, providing documentation on best workflow for motion capture and augmented reality.
On completion of the project the company was able to develop an interactive fish tank using augmented reality which enables teachers and students to scan the image on the tank using their mobile phones and see the characters and animations come to life.
Lorraine McGuinness, Owner and Manager of Fintastic Aquariums described the benefits of working with NWRC’S Business Support Centre via the InnovateUs programme: “Aaron was fully committed to helping me design interactive artwork and QR codes for our Interactive Fish tank range. He guided me through using the ARloopa app from beginning to end. He was interested in finding out what help I required and how to create a solution. With Aaron’s help and guidance I was able to develop educational Interactive animations which now appear when you scan a tank on location. Aaron was great to communicate with, he was always on hand to ask questions and exchange information with during our up-skilling sessions. This new product has attracted more interest and customers for Fintastic allowing us to target the educational sector and add value to our existing product to view the aquariums and add a unique selling point for education, adding modern interactive technology. The Augmented Reality app used for hosting these experiences is straight forward and easy to use, allowing customers to view the content by following three simple steps. I am very grateful for the support received through the InnovateUs programme for Fintastic.”