What an amazing opportunity to hear Helen Papagiannis give her keynote on Thursday morning. Her talk was brimming with examples of how Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is being used today to enhance — not supplant — reality. She helpfully divided these cases into 3 categories: visualization, annotation, and storytelling.
A highlight from each of Papagiannis’ categories:
- Visualization use case
The HoloAnatomy application can be used in med schools to highlight anatomical details difficult to access in reality on a cadaver. The holograms can filter visualizations of different parts and systems in the human body, allowing students to see the body from any angle and giving the option to see bodily systems in isolation from one another.
2. Annotation use case
Microsoft created an AR tool to help new employees navigate unfamiliar tasks. Managers can develop step-by-step instructions for tasks for employees and deliver the instructions in real-time: new employees wear a headset that will guide them through the steps using instructions appearing in their actual environment, both written (text) and visual (arrows, simulations of how to position a tool, etc…).
3. Storytelling use case
It’s hard to choose just one of the storytelling use cases to highlight. The #notablewomen project allows users to point their smartphone camera at a note of US currency and replace— on screen— the image of Washington/Lincoln/any of the famed men with an important woman in US history. Users can then learn more about the woman by tapping or swiping through the image on screen.
Papagiannis also highlighted different cases of bringing others of the 5 senses, aside from sight, into AR experiences. My favorite of these examples was touchingmasterpieces.com, which allows visually impaired people to “touch” statues in museums in order to understand their features in ways not possible in braille or spoken descriptions.
One warning she brought to our attention: technology, Papagiannis said, should aim to be invisible in order to enhance reality. I’ll definitely be watching the film by Keichii Matsuda she recommended, called “Hyper-Reality”, which explores sensory overload in AR experiences.