Forget designer explanations and architectural theory for a moment, skip augmented reality buzz art and over-hyped augmented reality gaming … then take a look at the ‘reality’ on the ‘ground’ as it is: move around this series of white cubes and create your own shadowy wonderland at the intersection of art and architecture.
This light table looks like it is somehow casting shadows, and the result is an interactive illusion that puts you in the design-driving seat. Shadow-puppet structures emerge as you move around the blank boxes. Master’s of design student Joon Moon made this as her final project – and hopefully will plan on playing with it for years to come.
“In this installation, the shadows exist both in a real and a virtual environment simultaneously. It thus brings augmented reality to the tabletop by way of a tangible interface. The shadow is an interface metaphor connecting the virtual world and users. Second, the unexpected user experience results from manipulating the users? visual perceptions, expectations, and imagination to inspire re-perception and new understanding. Therefore, users can play with the shadows lying on the boundary between the real, virtual, and fantasy.”
So how does it work? Light is actually cast from above – projected down in response to a program that follows the movements you make with the objects on the table. Having seen behind the curtain, the question is: does it spoil the surprise or make the ‘magic’ all that more engaging?
“Augmented Shadow is a design experiment producing an artificial shadow effect through the use of tangible objects, blocks, on a displayable tabletop interface. Its goal is to offer a new type of user-experience. The project plays on the fact that shadows present distorted silhouettes depending on the light. Augmented Shadows take the distortion effect into the realm of fantasy. Shadows display below the objects according to the physics of the real world. However, the shadows themselves transform the objects into houses, occupied by shadow creatures.”
“The shadow is an interface metaphor connecting the virtual world and users. Second, the unexpected user experience results from manipulating the users’ visual perceptions, expectations, and imagination to inspire re-perception and new understanding. Therefore, users can play with the shadows lying on the boundary between the real, virtual, and fantasy.Augmented Shadow utilizes this unique interface metaphor for interactive storytelling. Maximizing the magical amusement of AR, it is embedding an ecosystem where imaginary objects and organic beings co-exist while each of them influences on each other’s life-cycle, even though it is not in use by users. Light and shadow play critical roles in this world’s functions causing chain reactions between virtual people, trees, birds, and houses. A set of tangible blocks allows users to participate in the ecosystem. Users can influence on the system by playing with the blocks or observe the changes of the shadows as if kids were playing with an ant farm.”