“This is the most comprehensive and useful guide into Augmented Reality I have ever seen. Not only did I learn a lot, I will apply it to our work.”
Let’s design for the best of humanity and the best of technology.
Augmented Reality (AR) blurs the boundary between the physical and digital worlds. In AR’s current exploration phase, innovators are beginning to create compelling and contextually rich applications that enhance a user’s everyday experiences. In this book, Dr. Helen Papagiannis — a world-leading expert in the field — introduces you to AR: how it’s evolving, where the opportunities are, and where it’s headed.
If you’re a designer, developer, entrepreneur, student, educator, business leader, artist, or simply curious about AR’s possibilities, this insightful guide explains how you can become involved with this exciting, fast-moving technology.
— STEFAN SAGMEISTER, DESIGNER AND COFOUNDER SAGMEISTER & WALSH INC.
About the author
Dr. Helen Papagiannis is internationally recognized as a leading expert in Augmented Reality (AR). Her work spans over a decade in the field as a researcher, designer, and technology evangelist. She is the former Chief Innovation Officer at Infinity Augmented Reality Inc. (New York and Tel Aviv), and was a Senior Research Associate at York University’s Augmented Reality Lab (Toronto).
Dr. Papagiannis’s presentations and exhibitions include TEDx (Technology, Entertainment, Design), ISMAR (International Society for Mixed and Augmented Reality), and ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Art). Her TEDx 2011 talk was featured among the Top 10 Talks on AR, and in 2016 she was a finalist for the prestigious World Technology Award. Prior to her augmented life, Dr. Papagiannis was a member of Bruce Mau Design where she was project lead on “Massive Change: The Future of Global Design”, a groundbreaking exhibition and best-selling book (Phaidon, 2004) examining the new inventions and technologies changing the world.
We don’t actually celebrate Halloween here in Greece. But, in a clear case of culture seepage from Hollywood, we do have Halloween parties!
Even though we don’t actually have a festival of the dead, the roots of such celebrations are from the ancient Anthesteria, which was a 3-day festival honouring Dionysos. On the third day, the Feast of Pots, cooked meat and fruit were left outside for the souls of the dead. No one dared touched them, they weren’t for the living. And when the day ended, they called out loud for the spirits to begone, that the Anthesteria was over.
In modern times, the only thing close to trick or treating is kids going for Christmas Carols. And we dress up in our Carnival, or Mardi Gras, which is another Dionysian leftover. People dress up in either silly or scary costumes during that celebration.
So yeah, we don’t actually have Halloween but there has been cultural cross-pollination, and we do have scary events and parties on October 31st. Any excuse for a party, really.
But the trick or treating is left to the ghosts.
Here’s a short story set in the God Complex Universe. It takes place on Halloween night, at a party, in Athens.
Wear the mask. It will come off in the morning
When a young man from a village comes to the big city to study, he finds himself overwhelmed by the urban lifestyle. But will he manage to blend in by going to a Halloween party, when his crush asks him to help decorate the place, when the abandoned villa becomes all too spooky for him and when the illusory masks everyone wears seem to never come off?
It gets a bit academic, and I think the subject doesn’t need that much analysis but I like some of the points. I’ve even had a realization:
A kitsch self-parody
For all its outward cynicism, cyberpunk is often wilfully naive; conspiracies are unravelled, the lone maverick is redeemed, the lone aberration at the head of the system is taken out and all is well again. For all its gritty imagery, this dissonantly contradicts reality. Indeed it is questionable whether cyberpunk is an entirely dystopian genre. For the oligarch-villains occupying the luxury penthouses and boardrooms in which boss battles occur, this is utopia. The ubiquity of scaffolding in the genre’s platform games suggests there is even a building boom. It is a great time to be an engineer. Even for the average citizen, perhaps things aren’t that bad; there are plenty of exotic street-food outlets and sports to enjoy (you can follow the blood and chrome progress of Brutal Deluxe in the Bitmap Brothers’ 2007 Speedball series). Escape to off-world colonies, as we are told repeatedly by advertising neo-blimps, is an option for the rich and genetically sound. Some of the tyrannies are fairly relative. In X-Kaliber 2097 (1994), the reign of the warlord Raptor means “there are no more jobs to go to,” echoing the current fear that automation might render us all unemployable. “Well,” we might say, “thank god for that.” Even when the apocalypse beckons or has already happened (the release of the planet-decimating biochemical Lucifer-Alpha in 1988’s Snatcher, for example), it is survivable.
I like that. Yes, deep down cyberpunk is wish fulfillment, does have a happy ending, the corporations do lose. Vices are plentiful, humanity has far-out options for life extension and survival, heroes are cool and larger-than-life.
My kind of cyberpunk is rather light. All the tropes are there, but they are a backdrop to character and plot. Mega corporations crush people and effectively become worshiped, but we see the casual interactions and the family issues. Not the sweeping socio-economic ones, which frankly, would make a boring read.
Following the maxim of its baptist William Gibson that “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed,” cyberpunk has always been a scrapyard, with pieces of what is to come scattered through the past and present. Indeed, its saving grace is that it recognizes, as other futurology often fails to, that the future will be a collage and it will be considerably older than the present.
That scrapyard is what I try to put in my own stories. A bit of Greek mythology, a bit of plausible technology, a narrative that draws you in, and some action to keep it exciting. Because, make no mistake, violence is at the cybernetic heart of cyberpunk.
The fear and power of plugging in and losing our humanity in the process, continually evident in cyberpunk, is again not new; we find precedents in Descartes’ Demon and Plato’s Cave. There is also a certain guilty pleasure in immersing yourself in a videogame world that warns you of the dangers of immersing yourself in videogame worlds. The early game Interphase (1989), by The Assembly Line, deftly equates virtual reality with dream-space, a crossover we will no doubt increasingly see with advances in VR, AI and augmented reality. At that time such developments seemed the stuff of dreams, but they are incrementally becoming more real. In Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs (2014), the hacking abilities of the lead character Aiden Pearce suggest that the human brain, the city and cyberspace are now interwoven networks. To accumulate great power in the latter two is to potentially wield power over the first.
When the daughter of Greece’s premier singer fails to sing as expected, she finds out about a biker group of women. But will she manage to find the elusive Orosa, the bikers’ motovlogger, when all she has to go on are random street-sightings of criminal behaviour, when her family is opposed to her following this path and when her dad’s employer wants to keep her as she was for marketing purposes?
Do you want to know what’s next for the voiceless Aura? Do you wanna meet the Amazons? Then read this coming of age story in a world where fate is quite literal.