The 3 Laws of Augmented Reality Design – Talk at ISTAS 2013

Folks, here is my talk from ISTAS 2013 in Toronto on 29 July 2013. Following an intro to augmented reality I review a collection of AR experiences and test them against Lex Ardez’ “3 laws of augmented reality design”.

3 laws of AR Design-Cover

1. Augmentation must emerge from the real world and/or relate to it

2. Augmentation must not distract from reality, but make you more aware of it

3. Augmented interaction must deliver a superior experience to alternatives, or better yet – there’s no alternative.

These rules are very logical and simple and yet most AR implementations fail to meet these laws. When it comes to defining an AR experience, the #3 is the most important: do not implement AR only for a cool factor; if a traditional interaction technique (on computers, mobile devices etc.) does a good job – do not try to do recreate it with AR. Look for the specific experiences that can only be achieved with AR, even if it’s very niche.

The talk is based on my experience in the last 6 years building AR applications and reviewing practically every AR app that was published in that time frame. I have seen many applications that have a wow factor that lasts for 2 minutes – but most applications are not used more than once. Designers and producers need to look at it in a very different way than traditional user experiences. It’s important to understand that AR is about digitizing our interacting with the physical world. It should not be viewed as a traditional form of Human Machine Interaction (HMI). But rather be thought of as Human-World-Interaction, which requires a new thinking, new rules, and new experiences.

I believe that in the next few years we’ll see AR becoming an integral part of any aspect of our work and life. And it will completely change the way we interact with people, places and things. Of course traditional approaches (PCs, mobile touch) will still be best for certain things – and AR shouldn’t be forced for things that it’s not intended for – but it’ll create new categories of things that we can’t even imagine. AR has the power to enable us to do things and feel things we couldn’t otherwise. It can help us learn, and master skills instantly. AR Technology has reached a “good enough” level; it is up to designers to bring it to the masses in a meaningful way.

Enjoy!

(and let me know what you think!)

Early Registration for ARE 2012 is Open! Join The World’s Largest Augmented Reality Event

Friends, colleagues, and augmented reality enthusiasts at large – the early registration for ARE 2012 is open!

We are just 3 and a half months away from another Augmented Reality Event, the world’s largest AR event, and I can’t wait. As one of the event chairs, I can share with you a secret – ARE 2012 is going to be even bigger and better than before!

ARE 2012 will take place on May 8, 9 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California.

ARE is where the people working on, and using, Augmented Reality technologies come together to explore best practices and innovations in software development, tools, business strategies, design and marketing. Developers, technologists, marketers, hardware manufacturers, mobile operators, researchers, designers, startups, business developers, and entrepreneurs gather to share their experiences and learn from their peers.

In 2011, over 530 buyers and builders of AR in entertainment, media, education, healthcare, government, tourism, automotive, sports and other vertical markets, united in the 2 day must-attend event in Silicon Valley.

With this proven track record and the tremendous momentum in the Augmented Reality industry, ARE 2012 will set a new record and draw attendees that seek to leverage augmented reality into a productive, sustainable and entertaining new medium. ARE 2012 will spotlight inspiring keynotes by industry luminaries, and feature more than a 100 speakers from leading AR companies in more than 30 sessions. Organized into business, technology and production tracks, the conference program is designed to address topics such as:

  • current augmented reality market scope and what’s expected in the next 5 years,
  • latest augmented reality innovations, engines and tools,
  • showcases and postmortems of landmark augmented reality projects
  • how to leverage AR to advance your brand, attract and keep your customers
  • and how to build successful campaigns and products that will delight users.

The exhibition floor unites all the leading providers of Augmented Reality services and products, and offers a fantastic opportunity to witness demonstrations, speak with the architects of these experiences and network with all participants in this exciting industry. Last year’s successful activities such as the ARt Gala, AR Start up launch pad, and The Auggies (best AR demo award) will return to delight attendees. The new Augmented Future plenary session will feature 5 ground breaking augmented reality ideas that will change the world.

Submissions

Awareness for augmented reality (AR) is building up and getting stronger and broader all over the world. I can see it by the number of submission for talks pouring in, covering all aspects of augmented reality and venturing into new topics and uncharted industries. Thank you for your fantastic contributions!

If you have an idea for the event, there is still time to submit your proposal for a talk, demo, or become a sponsor and exhibitor.

Schedule

We have published a first glimpse into ARE 2012 schedule to give you a sense of the event structure and the topics that will be tackled. Check out the preliminary schedule. This may still shift a little, but will certainly remain the event backbone. Would love to hear your feedback.

Registration discounts

Make sure to take advantage of the early bird registration. It will save you a $100 (or 20%) from the standard price. But you have to act before March 21st.

If you have ever attended an ARE event before – you are eligible for the Alumni rate. But that offer will only last until February 21 – so act really fast!

Become a member

We have added this year a new membership option. With a mere $49 you can become an official member of the Augmented Reality Event. What is that? A new ploy to extract more from attendees?

Well, first you should know that ARE is a non-profit organization, initiated for the sole purpose of helping to advance the Augmented Reality industry. The new membership has several purposes:

First, it is a new approach to gauge the interest and help fund the video recording and distribution of all event sessions. It has always been the achilles heel of the event. We never found the time and funds to properly edit and distribute the content. So if you are in favor of ARE videos – this is your opportunity to vote. The value of these videos extends way beyond the mere $49.

The second purpose is more strategic in nature. ARE has always been about raising awareness to AR and helping advance the industry. And yet, although it established itself as the largest global AR event, it only takes place once a year. But when you think about it, each year, key players across the industry see the value in taking the time and uniting with their peers for 2 days in Santa Clara; they extract tremendous value from this get together which persists for many subsequent months. So, how about we use this opportunity to build a formal community that will join forces in helping promote awareness to augmented reality on a global and local basis? How about we extend the magic for the entire year?

We are not yet sure where this will go, but thought we should give it a go. If people sign up and show solidarity, it will be a great motivator to keep it going even after we all leave Santa Clara.

At the event, ARE members will bear a distinguishable badge, so you will be able to spot them from afar. So make your choice: do you want to be that guy with the plain-looking badge? ;)

Seriously, if you care about raising awareness to AR, and want to contribute as well as benefit from this program, join the ARE membership this year. The videos alone are worth the cost. The free T-shirt makes it a steal. Helping spread the word about AR is…priceless.

Register for ARE 2012 here

Augmented Reality Pop-Up Book

Helen Papagiannis is a designer specializing in augmented reality.  She’s spoken at TEDx about the creative side of AR, which was highlighted as one of the top talks about AR and the gamification of life and worked for the internationally renown Bruce Mau Design.

And now she’s putting out a Augmented Reality Pop-Up Book for mobile devices using image recognition.  The book can be enjoyed alone or with the enhanced graphics using an iPad2 or iPhone4.

What I like most about her Pop-Up book is that Helen gets what AR is all about.  Or really what it is–a medium to transfer information.  If you handed the book and the iPad2 to a child and told them to play around, you wouldn’t have to worry that they wouldn’t “get” augmented reality.  They wouldn’t require an explanation or that “AR is that thing on the first down line in football.”  They would just play.

Helen is a natural storyteller, as seen by TEDx talk.  Even her twitter account is called @ARStories (I wish I’d thought of that one.)  She gets that AR is all about telling stories in new and interesting ways, whatever the level of technology.  She used the tools at hand, in this case the AR browser Junaio, to make her Pop-Up book.

And as the technology advances, so too will the level of stories being told.  I expect from this simple Pop-Up book, that we’ll be seeing more of Helen for quite some time.

You can find Helen at her blog – Augmented Stories.

GoldRun and Flavorpill Partner for Internet Week Secret Party Hunt

NEW YORK, NEW YORK June 9, 2011– Flavorpill, known for curating the best cultural events in cities across the country, will launch their New York City Culture Hunt during the culmination of Internet Week New York. Part of Flavorpill’s social mission is to get people away from their computers and out exploring their city, and that’s precisely the intention behind their collaboration with GoldRun.

To participate in the NYC Culture Hunt campaign, users download the free GoldRun application from the Apple iTunes Store, and select the NYC Culture Hunt “run” to follow it.

The GoldRun campaign challenges Flavorpill readers to find and visit 10 of the most influential venues in New York City’s entertainment, arts, and education scene. Participants will visit each location, in teams of five, where they will capture an interactive virtual object using the GoldRun app. Capturing all 10 objects will lead players to a secret Flavorpill party, followed by an afterparty conceived by local artist collective, CHERYL.

“GoldRun was able to seamlessly tie into their promotion, adding a unique layer of engagement so participants could experience the event on a deeper level,” says Alex Poole, GoldRun’s Director of Strategy & Engagement. “We worked closely with Flavorpill to creatively integrate their partners into GoldRun’s built-in technology and create this dynamic experience.”

Marco Tempest – iPod Magic – Deceptions

The brilliance of Marco Tempest is not his magic or the technology he uses but his story telling.  Art is a medium for communication and magic (especially the way he does it) is an art form that’s too often lost on gimmicks.  Marco shows us how AR in its best form is forgotten as the audience falls into the story.

Its about the message, not the medium.

Raving Rabbids Alive & Kicking (Some AR)

Yes, I still exist.  Sorry, I’ve been out of the country for the last few weeks.  But my travels did give me a glimpse into a fantastic game sporting the A and the R — Raving Rabbids.  If you’re not familiar with the series, Raving Rabbids are the insanity pills of the gaming industry.  Nothing like jerking your carrot juice in front of a bar full of people, laughing and pointing the whole time (yes, this is a game, not an obscene act.)

The game is for the Microsoft Kinect only and utilizes the characters to immerse you into their insanity.  What I love about the Rabbids and AR is that it gets you out of the gimmick and into AR.  Right now what holds most applications of AR back is that they’re focused on the trick and not telling a good story.  Rabbids are weird and at times, unexplainable, but playing their games helps you forget there’s a thing called AR at all.  And that’s a good thing.

Looking forward to when this game comes out.

Virtual Fitting Room for Topshop

** Nice to see the Kinect out in the working world, rather than just slaving away in hacker space.  The video is instructive as it shows real customers using the product.  Personally, I wouldn’t look good in any of those dresses, but that’s just me.  *cough*

Virtual Fitting Room for Topshop

AR Door, a Russian agency specialized in Augmented Reality solutions, teamed up with Topshop, a woman and man clothes retailer, to create a virtual fitting room for a new collection of dresses Dress up.

A special kiosk for the fitting room was installed at the flagman Topshop store in Moscow at the shopping centre European, 5-8 May 2011.

The virtual fitting room is built on the most sophisticated technologies: augmented reality and Microsoft Kinect. Augmented reality allows the customers to select a garment off the rack without having to try it on physically.  As a customer, you see yourself onscreen with a 3D copy of a dress. Kinect allows the user to control the program by simple gestures pushing virtual buttons right in the air.

To activate the program you don’t need special markers: the built-in camera tracks a person’s body and superimposes over it a 3D model of the dress.

A unique feature that allows the customers to watch both the front and the back parts of the dress was deployed in the Topshop fitting room for the first time in the world practice.