Tag Archives: AR

Is Augmented Reality the next design tool?

What role Augmented Reality (AR) will be playing in the architecture practice and the design of our built environment? How will companies use this technology to attract more consumers? Lets look at those two very different ways to use the power of AR:  as a design tool and as a consumerism device.

Looks like Microsoft is taking the first route with the Hololens. With a variety of polished video presentations, they are showing the Hololens as this amazing new tool to help design interiors, buildings or even a whole new world. It even let you communicate in real time with your teammates from another continent. As an architect, Greg Lynn seems enthusiastic after having use the HoloLens at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 (interview from Dezeen here).   For interior designer lacking of vision, this video shows the potential. And to be be really blown away and transported in the future, check out this TED talk from the visionary Alex Kipman.

Of course, I can’t agree more with him on the fact that all those 2D interfaces, displays and screens that have invades our life are born obsolete. We are moving creatures always exploring around us, using our whole body with all our senses to interact with our environment. We are not supposed to be locked behind a screen all day. But, I am digressing onto my research topic here. Even though this is very exciting topic,  we still don’t really know how we are actually interacting with those virtual objects embedded in our physical surroundings. I will look into VR and user experience in another post.

In the meantime, looking at the other side of the coin, the consumerism version of AR, perhaps Keiichi Matsuda vision with his “Hyper-Reality” production is closer to what will happen sooner than later.

HYPER-REALITY from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

If VR is not the answer, AR is not neither. What I am really looking forward to is when those two technologies will merged into a Mixed Reality (MR) integrated into some sort of contact lenses.

Gobsmacking VR/AR Event

Smoothly organized event, with drinks and nibbles, Vitamin Clinic was exploring our evolving relationship between our physical and virtual/digital world.

Tilt Brush
 Artwork, 3D printing, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality installations and devices were available to challenge the way we perceive and interact with our environment and the digital realm. Here are just a few of the company demonstrating their expertise:
  • Drawandcode was presenting a maze game using a mixed of AR and VR to make a very social interaction.
  • Virtualumbrella offered the best experience of the event with the HTC Vive and Tilt Brush.
  • Phygital is a pretty exciting company showing different setup for VR and AR: VR chair for the roler coaster experience using Oculus Rift, a huge touch screen showing many of their different interactive installations.

 Recall of my first experience with the HTC Vive:

During the evening, I had the opportunity to try the HTC Vive with different applications. Upstairs was a relax setting in a corner of the room. A laptop on a coffee table, a couple of chaps sitting in a sofa as spectators, two cameras on their tripot opposite to each other four meters apart.

I placed the headset over my eyes and got the two controllers in my hands. Suddenly, I find myself with a sword in my right hand. Really, moving the sword in the air, to the right, to the left. Then, I took a couple of step forward and started to cut those fruits falling from no where into pieces, not the bombs! Fun!

The second experience with the same settings, transported me on a roof in a futuristic city under drone attack. With a shield in my left hand to protect myself from the drones’ strikes, I was able to choose between different energy field to shoot at them with the gun in my right hand.

Using whole body to move around to avoid being hit and shooting at the same time in all directions, this was full on. A very immersive experience even though, that is not why I am excited by Virtual Reality.

The best experience of the evening with the HTC Vive was the Tilt Brush one. This happened downstairs with more space dedicated between the two cameras. Again, headset on, controllers in the hands, although this time I got in a very different environment: a dark neutral background and a define round surface to walk on.  My left arm was equipped with a bulky futuristic device from which I was able to choose between different colors, tools like paintbrushes and sizes. The brush I choose extended my right hand. I  started by drawing  three feet, then a table top, filled it in. I had to turn around the table to make the fourth feet.  Then I painted leaves on the table, stacked some more, tried another tool and started to sculpt over very bright and colorful shapes of all type. Liberating! No more restriction of the page or the screen. I was creating something with no constraints. It can be small in front of you in the air or on a stand, or it can be big all around you.

The only thing that reminded me the physical world was the bunch of cable hanging from my head to the powerful computer running the software. Otherwise, that was the most immersive and mind blowing VR experience so far. By creating my own environment in real-time, the feeling of freedom and creativity got me in a flow in a snap.

Even from the outside, looking at someone exercising his creativity using the Tilt Brush is fascinating. You can see the person moving around, doing big arm movements, then on the screen appears the painting-sculpture.

I am looking forward to try this again soon.