Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Augmented Reality, Virtuality and Design

Virtuality and augmented reality has changed the way we can interact with an environment and this can be used to push the design industry forward. We have seen many improvements in many areas thanks to improvements in virtual reality, such improvements include surgeons, pilots and soldiers, "For example, doctors can see virtual ultrasound images overlaid on a patients body, giving them the equivalent of x-ray vision during a needle biopsy, while soldiers on the battlefield have a personal head-up display [HUD] overlaying targeting information on the world around them" (Billinghurst & Kato, 2002) . Where they are able to practice tasks in a simulated environment without causing harm to themselves or others if a mistake is made.

Virtual reality has many applications and the one I am most interested is the applications it has in design. Many car companies have moved on from stencil drawings and clay onto 3D programs such as CAD (computer aided design). Such programs have allowed designers and engineers to create components and test their applications with very little cost. This has a great benefit to us as a society, this allows companies to try many applications of ideas with very little waste or cost to the company and allows the company to turn over ideas more quickly.

In terms of augmented reality designers have many new applications available, an application such as DART (Designers Augmented Reality Toolkit) allows the user to freely interact with the environment around them without actually physically changing this environment. This programs crosses over into citizen designer as the software is free and has a community aspect. The program is not as obviously polished as the ones professionals use or the more expensive programs but it does allow the regular person to experiment in the field of augmented reality. 

Augmented reality has many practical real world applications, but there are also many other applications that are not so much necessary but showcase the ability of augmented reality and the power of social media. This video showcases that, a combination of augmented reality and social media allowed users to comment and give feedback as the tattoo was being done and the artist could see in real time the feedback he was receiving. The leads to the possibility of tattoo designers having the chance to get real time feedback from artists across the world and can also help tattoo apprentices learn more from artists around the world and receive the feedback with out intermittent stopping. This has many potential possibilities for people to train others while in another location, allowing them to transcend time and reality. 

Since there is many facets of the design industry such as web design, product design, book design, graphic design and poster design there are just as many applications available to use augmented reality to their advantage, making there designs more interactive and immersive. This has the possibility to enhance educational aspects for example text books are pretty boring but through augmented reality there is the possibility to actual interact with the book and the chance to understand concepts more. "AR [Augmented Reality] has strong potential to provide both powerful contextual onsite learning experiences and serendipitous exploration and discovery of the connected nature of information in the real world" (Johnson, Levine, Smith & Stone, 2010). 
And since that the design industry is one of the fastest growing industry you need to set yourself out from the rest and what better way to do that then to incorporate a form of augmented reality into your business card. This type of application is freely available to the public and can be done easily with nothing more than your house hold computer. 

Augmented reality has not reached its peak yet and is still in the workings of becoming an everyday occurrence with big names working on the idea of augmented reality, the biggest being google glass. Augmented reality has the ability to enhance the activities we do everyday and also has the ability to change the way in which products and engineering feats are designed. Through using augmented reality in design we can reduce waste and trial error is not as prone to become expensive.  There is great potential to be seen in augmented reality and hopefully we will see it reach that potential and not become an unfulfilling disappointment. 


Billinghurst, M. and Kato, H. (2002). COLLABORATIVE AUGMENTED REALITY. Communications of the ACM, 45 (7).

Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R. and Stone, S. (2010). Simple augmented reality. The New Media Consortium, pp. 21-24.

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