Page 1




Head of department

Gijs Bakker

Thesis supervisor

Ted Noten


Barbara Visser Chris Kabel Herman Verkerk Joost Grootens Louise Schouwenberg Maarten Baas Ni Haifeng Samira Boon

Masters Coordinator IM Masters Program Coordinator Writing Mentor

Anna Crosetti Agata Jaworska Koen Klein
















= 07


According to psychologists and sociologists, kids and teenagers claim the real world is more complicated than the technological virtual world. They also find it more boring and less stimulating. This research presents the study of how we could use technology, to actually promote more social and physical activity in the real world to make it more interesting and engaging, whereby it could use a language that speaks to the virtual interaction that is increasingly present in our daily life. The starting point for this research was to understand the use of the Internet and it’s social implications in contemporary society. Through this research there was three main parameters: serendipity, constant supply and demand, and need for expression. The design direction of this research was to find technologies that could bring these social dynamics to the streets. The first phase Quick Response (QR) Codes were transformed into interactive kites and fences for community participation. In the second phase augmented reality, ubiquitous computing and web-mash up were merged in a cell-phone, resulting in three different concepts: “People Mash-up” which is a short movie in which serendipity is depicted by an augmented love story, “Augmented Tools” which is supply and demand illustrated by tools that virtually float on the sidewalk of your neighbours, and “City twittering”: augmented buildings turned into the latest trend in expression. All projects are scenarios preparing the ground for disruptive technologies to meet society, creating the awareness that the future is not sitting behind a computer, but on the streets experiencing more details, senses and human interaction.

Figure 1. Countdown to Singularity. Source: The Singularity is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology. Ray Kurzweil, 2005

“Virtualization as the one path. This invalidation of reality, the dematerialization is taking its course. Paralleling it, and drawing on the same resources, is a strand of enlightenment. It is becoming ever more important and its radicality is not underestimated, but prejudicially and polemically exaggerated -- either positively or negatively. The issue is the apparently seamless experience resulting from the synthesis of television, advertising, consumption, technology, and knowledge. And the issue is precisely the content that, from the beginning, critical theory has fulminantly if unsuccessfully criticized as an aberration of modernity.”

Urs Jaeggi (Morandi’s Bottles, Duchamp’s ‘Fresh Widows’, and the Tower of Babel, XXIInd International Art History Colloquium of the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, 1998 in Queretaro

= 09


The acceleration of change in technology in our time has personal and psychological, as well as sociological, consequences. Distant “prophecies” from movies that featured future scenarios, actually are closer to what we experience today. Internet is becoming more than never part of our lives, with 1 billion users in the world (20% of the population), and so it’s digital and virtual domains. What will be the true impacts of this co-dependency when it reaches to a point that we cannot live without it? The actual paradigm shift rate of adopting new ideas is doubling every decade, and they can be seen in algorithym graphs. It took us half a century to adopt the telephone (the first virtual technology), cell-phones were adopted in eight years. Television, radio, telephone were adopted in decades. Recent technologies like the pc, the web, cell-phones were under a decade. Regarding this evolutionary observation scheme, I concentrated on the last part of the chart which is virtualization, or dematerialization - digitalization of resources. Primarily, it had only scientific and economic purposes, but after even social activities were virtualized. So I will focus my observation and analysis on the latest impacts of this area of technology in our daily life. Two main turning points in technology can be pointed out regarding digitalization: 1) The first one, so called the “First Digital Revolution” was captured most succinctly by Nicholas Negroponte, the Director of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in his seminal 1995 book Being Digital. Within, Negroponte argued that a transformation was occurring away from an “atom-based” economy, and towards one focused around the creation, manipulation, communication and storage of electronic binary digits or “bits”. Changes in the business and consumer marketplace strongly supported Negroponte’s proposition that digital bits were starting to become more valued than physical products made from atoms. For a start, personal computers were already firmly established as mainstream home and office appliances. In the mid-1990s, millions of individuals and organizations were also joining research scientists and fantasy gaming enthusiasts as new citizens of the Internet.

Figure 2. Mass Use of Inventions. Source: The Singularity is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology. Ray Kurzweil, 2005

Figure 3. Virtualization of music media. Source: Davide Dulcetti

= 11


Meanwhile in the high street, analogue media -- such as vinyl records and cassette tapes -- were also increasingly being replaced with “improved” digital substitutes, such as compact disks. And later on, completely digitalized, or, dematerialized. 2) The second one digital revolution is the next phase of virtualization, where the virtual content goes back to materiality. According to Christopher Barnatt, Associate Professor of Computing and Organizations in Nottingham University Business School: “ (...) whereas a decade ago the drive was to push things and people into the computer realm of cyberspace, today far more effort is being directed into pulling digital content back into reality. Or in other words, no longer is the intent to build new worlds within computers, but rather to build new computing and communications devices into the real world. The Second Digital Revolution subsequently reflects an age in which an increasing number of computing-enabled devices are permitting the everyday development of ubiquitous computing, with Internet-access and other digital technology almost constantly available.” Virtualization spread on many areas of human activity. On arts, economy, and the more complex social virtualization, virtualization of reality, virtualization of identity, of community, psychosocial activity. In this thesis, I will focus more on the social and personal aspects of virtualization.

Figure 4. Concept for keyboard. Hella Jongerius

= 13



During my analysis, I tried to identify the human behaviour when using computer, what our needs when using it, regarding internet and social connections and it’s downsides. Regarding the physical use of the computer, I researched how we are stationary towards the computer. We are able to spend hours in front of a screen, just typing and clicking, and the rest of our body is in a sitting position. Virtual activities are:

• • • •

e-shopping and e-consumption e-gambling, including variants using virtual funds e-gaming, notably to the point of engaging individuals for many hours per day e-socializing, notably through chat rooms and including e-dating

By using the computer for many “e-” tasks, without actually going outdoors to do any of this activity, our waistline has increased 4cm if compared to 20 years ago. That was pointed out by a research of Dr Mary Rudolf, of East Leeds Primary Care Trust, in the British Medical Journal. Waist size is seen as an important indicator because of the link between this in adulthood and an increased risk of heart disease. The creation of all those “e-“ are seen as an advantage by many, since maybe you can find what you want faster. The demand could exist, and the supply is always there. In the real world, it would take somebody longer to find an item he is looking if just by walking on the streets. Another advantage is that they can go from link to link, and serendipitously, find things is good for them, but they were not looking for. Again, this could happen in the streets, but it would be just a lot more slow.

Figure 5. Scheme showing virtual and real contact within social networking websites


Mostly known for music artists. If you are an artist and you want to share your music, to let people know you, or if you are a fan of an artist, and want to know what is going on with your band. From there maybe you can make connection to other people. Used a lot for professional contact. The publisher will be seen by anonymous viewers, which can easily comment on his website.


Similar to Myspace, but not so much used as a professional tool. The publisher will share his photos with anonymous viewers, which can easily comment on them.


Same as Flickr, but instead of photos, text. The publisher will share his text with anonymous viewers, which can easily comment on them.


Social networking. One of the biggest in the world, and when joined, you add people that are or have been part of your real social life. There you share photos, send message to others, and most recently, you share your feelings and thoughts through short sentences where people comment on them. The publisher’s photo’s and texts will onlye be seen by people who he knows.


The latest website, that works as a miniblogger. The publisher writes a short text of up to 140 words. Instead of being read by anonymous people, like in Blogger, the publisher knows who is reading his texts, but only virtually, not in real person. It’s a very fast growing publishing system, and the news can be spread fast and easily. Figure 6. Table showing social networking websites

= 15


A BBC article from May 26th, 2006 points out: “ (...)The potential for serendipity emerges from the nature of linking, it was not a design goal. On the web, every link and every page of search results can lead to the same sort of serendipitous discoveries that used to be the province of library shelves or conversations in musty common rooms. And those links are available to all, not just the privileged few granted access to the university library or the academic world. (…) ...the potential for accidental discovery is greatly enhanced by the net and the web.” Bill Thompson, journalist also from BBC commented: “(...) But every time I do a search, every time I read someone’s blog, and every time I engage in an online conversation with a friend, I’m entering a space where the possibility for a serendipitous discovery exists, and to a far greater degree than in most other areas of my life.” Regarding social activity, the advantages are many and well known, since you can easily make new contacts, or keep in touch with old ones. You can be part of communities which share the one thing in common, or you can share something with others. In the table on the left page I made short and succint list of most important websites or tools, and their rules of privacy. I will call “publisher” the name of the person the joins one of the websites.

Figure 7. Scheme showing virtual contacts becoming real (left) and the virtualization of real contacts (right).

“The democratizing progress of technology has lowered the barrier for mere mortals to communicate. Weblogs and wikis are the next steps in this progression. They facilitate social interaction among people online. This is yet another milestone in the evolution of the Internet’s role in virtualizing relationships between people....Social software changes the nature of people’s communication. Today, a fundamental paradigm shift is in progress.”

Alolita Sharma (Social Software, Technetra, May 2003

= 17


Apart from Facebook, all the other social connections always stay in the realm of the virtual, hardly entering the realm of the real. But in Facebook it can start in the real world, goes to the virtual, getting “virtualized”, and never goes back to the real. According to my research, I found out that one of the negative ways in which technology affects our life is that we become to stationary within our homes. We end up having many contacts through all kind of means (Skype, Facebook, etc), but always isolated in our homes. Contact is done not even more by phone or cell phone, but mainly by typing, bringing faster and more efficient communication, but having also a loss in details and senses in social relationships, which end up becoming shallower. The need for expression A good example is the creation of a simple narrative that is the daily life of many nowadays: You wake up and didn’t receive one of those warming “good morning”. Nobody asked how are you, how was your night before, an, even worst, commented on the loss of your team on soccer. Not even that cheap joke. There’s nobody home. And at work, everyone is busy. But you. It’s your moment. To connect to one of this instant message program and write a calculated, spiritual, or hopeful phrases. “Things are getting worse”, “Go AJAX, let’s beat them!”, “What a marriage”. Our the most strange things like “dislexians are also humans”. Fast, like in a magic spell, the solitude and the silence goes away. Curious people, friends, well known or not so much are online, comment the sentence, and a dialogue starts – puerile or not. A world trend in nowadays behaviour, this resource of survival, in a planet dressed by stress. By means of sentences, part of song lyrics, or just drawings, people want to share feelings, state of spirit or an outstanding event.

“People don’t define their existence int the world like 50 years ago. To show sentences is a way to show a trace that consolidates a person. It’s not a matter of loneliness, but a necessity of self expression, to mark your territory in a world with not so much space for it.”

Psychiatrist and therapist Geraldo Massaro

= 19


Mirian Goldenberg, anthropologist author of the book “Looking closely nobody is normal” (Record Publishing), believes that the accelerated rythym of our daily life, leads us to a existential superficiality: “The virtual world is the real world for million and million of people. It’s where they find friends, cheer, protection, and can relate more easily. People put virtual sentences up because they want to say to their friends what they are feeling, and so receive from them what they need. In a moment where there is so much difficulty of comunication, the virtual world is gratifying.” If internet works out on change of our social pattern behaviour, it also contributes to many other needs of our daily life. The most well known aspect of computers and digitalization, is the way in which services were digitalized. No more we need to get our cars, and drive miles to reach something we are looking for. We have everything in the click of our mouses. From shopping, to medicine, all range of necesseties can basically be reachen by our computers. There’s a supply and demand in the internet. But what are the downsize of this easyness? Summary of the analysis According to my research, I found out that one of the negative ways in which technology affects our life is that we become to stationary within our homes. We end up having many contacts through all kind of means (Skype, Facebook, etc). Personal human contact though is diminished, and people end experiencing less social interaction in the streets. Communication is done not even more by phone or cell phone, but mainly by typing, bringing faster and more efficient communication, but having also a loss in details and senses in social relationships, which end up becoming shallower. If sitting on the computer reduces our social dynamic skills, it also contributes to a change in our physical body.


Living in a society and in a community has always been part of our human existence, and it’s well known that the main advantage of this type of organisation is survival needs. And nowadays, survival means not only to have a shelter, or to eat or run away from the predator, but it goes to the extent of having simple communication with others, to share feelings and thoughts, otherwise we will feel the side effects of not having them. During the war in Vietnam one of the main torture methods used was depriving people of communication, where soldiers would be kept in chambers isolated from others, and thus affecting their mental health. As pointed out in the analysis, we are being shaped by technology, and it defines a kind of new format of living and how we complete our daily tasks. In a way, we created a new method of interacting with others or with situations, a new social language, a new dynamic. But as also shown in the analysis, it brings a downside to it. If the young generation claim that the real world is way more complicated than the virtual world, how can we then adapt the exterior, street, architecture, to this new perception and interaction? How can we use this “old platforms” as a canvas for new platforms? How can be bring the “easiness” of using the internet regarding serendipity, supply and demand, and need of expression to the “complicated” real life? The main goal of this project is to make use of the latest advances in technology to bring the user more human contact within themselves, and also to experience more the street and the city that one lives. In other words, to use technology itself to keep us more physically and socially active.

= 21

By using this same language or interface, where everything is faster, multi-tasked, and easily customized, combined with technology, this could give the possibility of extending our interaction from desktop computers to the outdoors. This technology will be available for the mass soon, and I will point them out in the next chapter of this thesis project. I will work with technology as a self-referential tool and develop ideas that will combine virtuality and physicality into daily situations. Having in mind that I belong to the generation between the analogue and the digital, this could be a very interesting moment to merge together present past with future present in a holistic way.

“It’s a world where everything moves fast and changes all the time, where relationships are quickly disposed at the click of a mouse, where you can delete your profile if you don’t like it, and swap an unacceptable identity in the blink of an eye for one that is more acceptable. People used to the quick pace of online social networking may soon find the real world boring and unstimulating. It may be possible that young people who have no experience of a world without online societies put less value on their real world identities and can therefore be at risk in their real lives, perhaps more vulnerable to impulsive behaviour.” Dr Himanshu Tyagi, from the London Mental Health NHS Trust

= 23


I concentrated my research on technologies that could be portable and ubiquitous. A trend that will be part of everybody’s life in some years. This led to the recent series of mobile phones, called “smart phones”. It would be the starting point to reach the main goal. As part of the process and method, I developed a concept which I called it “spring site”. This concept then led to the latest technology available and still in development, which is called augmented reality. All of them were try-outs to bring the user outdoors and promote more human interaction. I will divide this chapter in 3 different sections, which are:

1- Mobile phones and Ubiquity 2- QR coding: the process of creating the “spring site”. 3- Conclusive method: Augmented Reality or Virtuality on Physicality – the spring revised.

Figure 8. Average Transistor Price. Source: The Singularity is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology. Ray Kurzweil, 2005

= 25

1:\ _[Mobile phones and ubiquity]

Mobile phones are already an integrated part of our lifes. When we go out of our homes without our mobiles, we have the feeling of being amputated. It’s part of our survival tools. Key means shelter, our access to our homes. Money is food, in case we need. And cell-phone means safety, contact, the new “wild scream” in the concrete jungle. With technological advances, our activities are being brought from desktop computers to cell-phones. Even if we didn’t reach it’s full replication capability, I didn’t focus on this concern. So basically I am assuming, according to scientific curves or laws, like the Moore’s Law, that this technology will arrive to this point. According to Ray Kurzweil, technology goes in an exponential growth; could be seen as the 7th kingdom of life, and is accelerating evolution. The technological advances in the cell-phone leaded then to the concept of ubiquity. Ubiquitous computing is where computing hardware is so widely integrated into our lives that software functionality and online connection become constantly available. As part of my method, I acquired a cell-phone that could be ubiquitous, and could have a interface which would be more close to the interface used on desktop computers. That lead to the iPhone, pioneer in it’s graphical interface, and now copied by all the other cell-phone companies. Some one could argue that many people would not shift to this kind of technology; but even if being in small numbers and keeping the same cell-phone for years, the moment they brake, they will be forced to migrate to this kind of technological device, which will be the only type available let’s say, in 5 years. Information-technology doubles their capacity every year. And that’s a very profound explosion of exponential growth. The price of all technological devices tends to go down, as seen on the chart bellow. It goes in an average of 50% deflation. Price performance makes new applications feasible.

Figure9. Map showing rivers in Brazil and it’s springs. Water flows from “points” into more complex and collective systems, until it reaches the ocean.

Figure 10. Map of Eindhoven showing how could information belong to a specific site in the city, and would only be modified if someone goes actually to that specific location, and the reachin a bigger system, the internet.

= 27

2:\ _[QR coding and the process of the “spring site” concept]

Having in hand a cell-phone which could give me the right interface, I concentrated then my research on further possibilities that could give me new insights on how to bring the user to the outdoors and interact with his surroundings in a new way. When you think about the internet as a massive information data center, you lose a bit of reference of site specification if we speak of content place. From your computer desktop, sitting on your chair, you can have access to everything. All kind of information, entertainment, and other activities. It’s a way of mimicing our real activities, but condensed in a format that fit’s within our 17” computer screen and in a more faster an easy way. Content is reachable in one click. But why not then create content which belongs or will be part of the internet, but is an integrated part of a specific site? Information could flow from specific place, and then go to a more complex system, like the internet. Instead of website, a siteweb. I called it “spring site” because it would work like a river that is born in a spring, then spread, dividing itself, and further reaches a bigger and collective environment, the ocean. If someone wants to see where does that water comes from, this person has to reach the spring. If it’s a bar, a train station, or a public park for your dog, they could be “connected” and give information to the user, which the himself would then interact in this “new format”, so that the cellphone would recognize the site or place, and then open new possibilities for the user. Research direction: how could cell-phones interact with recognize location. Given the goal of combining technology and site specific, I faced the well studied field of GPS system location. This could be used, but it doesn’t give a visual interface on the real world. Interaction is constrained to be popping out only in the screen of the cell-phone, being then only two-dimensional.

Figure 11. QR Code in a physical location. Through the camera, the cell-phone recognizes visually the pattern and links to the internet. Source: Davide Dulcetti 2009

= 29


Researching on technologies that combined physicality with virtuality on cell phones led me to to Quick Response Coding – or QR Coding. This is a system similar the bar-code system, where the cell-phone recognizes a specific graphic pattern, and translates it to a digital content. The difference is that a bar-code system is translated into numbers only, and the QR codes can hold up to 4,000 words in a text format, it can give contact information of a person, or it could give a link to a specific website with any kind of content (photo, music, etc.).This system is used often in magazines and newspapers in Japan, a country well-known for being some steps ahead of the rest of the world in terms of technology.

Figure 12. QR Code

The QR code could then work for the spring concept, which is comparable to hyperlinking a text in a website. But then hyperlinking a physical site or object. Digital content is only reachable, and futher shared and spread if seen and interacted in a specific site. The downside of QR coding is it’s restrictions of the graphical patterns. It’s a fixed system of black and white squares, that arranged in grids of 24 x 24 squares (it varies to bigger grids), gives the chance for the cell-phone to recognize it.

Figure 13. QR code kite. Davide Dulcetti, 2009

= 31


When looking back to my analysis, I thought it would be interesting to take the need of expression as a parameter and try to apply it to the QR Code. The inspiration came when studying “pixadores”, graffiti gangs from the suburbs of Sao Paulo. The way in which they express themselves is also with words, and the taller the building they climb (illegally) to put their messages the more visibility they get. In a way, this is similar to the need of expression pointed out in the analysis, where people want to show their sentences to a broad audience. Since it could work for the concept, I tried to give a new aesthetics and appeal to this coding. Instead of being restricted to a “graphic on a paper”, I tried to first use to print it on a white kite, so when the kite would be flying, people could point their cell-phones to it, and therefore reaching a further content. The highest the kite would go, the more number of people could reach the content.

Figure 14. QR code kite process

Figure 15. Graffiti on a building in Sao Paulo

Figure 16. Lady interacting with the QR code. Davide Dulcetti, 2009

= 33


The second try-out of modifying the QR code was to give it a more three-dimensional look. Walking around the city of Eindhoven I faced myself with many grids which could be used to mount a threedimensional QR code. They were construction site fences, and other fences that had a squared grid. By placing white duct tape on the smaller grids, or by placing squared polystyrene blocks on fences with bigger gaps, a code could be created. Users could then have access to the content, and furthermore, they could interact with the pattern itself.

Figrue 17. Interactive QR Code. People can modify the QR Code “in situ”. Source: Davide Dulcetti 2009

Figure 18. Kid interacting with the QR code. Davide Dulcetti, 2009

Figure 19. Fence installation: QR code in a dog “poopoo� area. Davide Dulcetti, 2009

= 35


The results of this process were satisfying. The software that recognizes the pattern can be used by any mobile phone that has internet connection and a camera. And it is also free. With this remarks done, I concluded that this method was entirely feasible. There is an interaction between people, but still, that would remain on the virtual sphere (although connected to an outdoor design). So I was still missing a more human centered interaction, where users could interact in a more direct method, but starting in a subtle way.

Figure 20. Arrows showing a missing interaction, where it could be more direct, but being subtle like interaction that happens already in the internet.

Gartner Consulting’s 10 Disruptive technologies 1.

Multicore and hybrid systems


Virtualization and fabric computing


Social networking


Cloud computing


Web mashups


User interface


Ubiquitous computing




Augmented reality


Contextual computing

= 37

3\: _[Conclusive method: Augmented Reality – the ‘spring concept’ revised]

Studying an article from Gartner Consulting (a world’s leading information technology research and advisory company) I came across the 10 disruptive technologies for 2009.

From this 10 technologies, the one that deals with virtual overlaping on the real is Augmented reality. It’s a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time. With Augmented Reality, I could try to combine the site specific data, or spring concept, with a interface that could be attractive to the user, and that it would be familiar to them. This gave me a new vision on architecture and street. When we walk on the streets, we see houses, and buildings, but we never know what is the content behind the physical walls. Not that I wanted to create a “superman eye vision” that could see through walls. But use the virtual activity on the internet of the people that occupy houses and buildings. Trying to envision this concept, I created a video of someone biking on the streets, and that looks constantly to the houses on one side of the street. Above the houses, floating, I pasted what could be the range of activities done by who is inside the house. From MySpace to Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and others.

Figure 21. Screenshot of the video “Visible Internet”. Davide Dulcetti 2009

Figure 22. Screenshot of the video “Visible Internet”. Davide Dulcetti 2009


= 39

Looking back at Gartner’s list of disruptive technologies, actually what I was trying to do was to combine many latest technologies. High-lighted in bold are the technologies which I’m referring to. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Multicore and hybrid systems Virtualization and fabric computing Social networking Cloud computing Web mashups User interface Ubiquitous computing Semantics Augmented reality Contextual computing

There’s is this “internet cloud” which is invisible to the human eye, and with Augmented Reality, people walking on the street could react on what they see. The rule of “seeing” and “reacting”, or privacy, already exists in the virtual world. There would be no trespassing of the boundaries, but the same interaction on a completely new context. With this kind of interactivity, people would know each other better, and so promoting further contact between them. I used as study-case my street in the Netherlands, where I don’t know anyone leaving in any of the houses. As a designer, could be interesting to know let’s say, if a very good photographer lives just two houses away from me, but there’s no way for me to know unless I ring everybody’s house. With this kind of concept, I could have access maybe to his online portfolio, send him a message online, and that could lead us to meet each other in person and probably work together.

Figure 23. Moore’s Law. Computer industry technology “road maps” predict (as of 2001[update]) that Moore’s law will continue for several chip generations Source: Universidad Complutense Madrid

= 41


After a meeting with James Auger, PhD researcher at the Royal College of Arts in London, specialized in the interaction of man and technology, I decided to envision this technology some years ahead from now, and after bring it back to our reality. Statistics shows that it will be feasible in the future. The chart on the left shows Moore’s law and the long-term trend in the history of computing hardware. Since the invention of the integrated circuit in 1958, the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years. The future possibility of this new technology is that it could be applied not only to architecture, but to also to people. So apart from people being the carrier of this “virtual data”, they could also have three-dimensional virtual elements that would be incorporated on their physical body to enhance things like identity of themselves. Or, in another words, a new kind of clothing, a “aural” clothing which is could be an extention of our own identity. An interactive and virtual identity already connects people on the internet, so why not try to think about it on the physical real world, where people can have a better experience of socialization? To try to really make this vision working, I decided to research on institutes specialized on augmented reality for mobile phones.

Figure 24. Location of augmented reality research centers that work n the world. Source: Davide Dulcetti 2009

Figure 25. Location of augmented reality research centers in the Netherlands. Source: Davide Dulcetti 2009

= 43


The main institutes dealing with augmented reality for mobiles in the world, are basically 2: HitLabNZ: A research centre based at the University of Canterbury. New Zealand ICG: Institute for Computer Graphics and Vision, Graz University of Technology. Austria The first contact was with Institute for Computer Graphics and Vision, Graz University of Technology. Unfortunately they were unwilling to collaborate with my project, claiming it didn’t give them any financial return. “Don’t get me wrong, but you being a regular student (with no benefit for the university or the people working here) does not motivate people here (including me) a lot to invest part of their precious working time.” Daniel Wagner, researcher at the ICG Graz by email. The HITLab NZ has a partner company, ARTool, which deals commercially with augmented reality. They told they were working on a version for mobile phones, but still to be released. In the Netherlands, I made contact with the two main research centers for augmented reality: TU/E - Technische Universiteit Eindhoven and the AR+RFID Lab, in The Hague. In the TU/E, I interviewed Dr. Jun HU, assistant professor from the Designed Intelligence group that works with augmented reality. They explore different fields connect to this technology, but they are not working yet with mobile phones.

Figure 26. Augmented reality headset at AR+RFID Lab, The Hague, Netherlands. Source: www.

Figure 27. Path done by the Beta test software of HITLab (Research center in New Zealand) to HITLab (Research center in Washington), to ARTool Works (Commercial partner of HITLab, Washington) to Davide Dulcetti (The Netherlands).

= 45


In the AR+RFID Lab, I interviewed Yolande Kolstee. She is the project leader of the laboratory. They have knowledge on augmented reality, with projects on different areas. In the laboratory I had the chance there to experiment myself immersive virtuality, by wearing a headset and a computer on my body. When looking to a black and white marker on the ground, I could see a virtual chair. Making contact with all this institutions was like reaching the core of augmented reality research. And I knew that if I stayed “on the crest of this wave”, keeping my eyes wide open on what would come out from one of this institutes, would be the best way to reach my goal of experimenting with augmented reality for mobile phones. I kept in touch with all of them until finally ARTool Works, the commercial partner of HINT Lab from New Zealend contacted me to be a beta-test of their augmented reality developing tool for iPhone. They were releasing it to people around the world interested on this technology. I received the beta test, which was a virtual park on a A4 sheet, where you could create your own park by adding different kind of trees and urban furniture. Since I was envisioning this technology to a bigger scale, I used one part of this A4 sheet, and replicated in a 2.40m by 2.40m piece. I placed then this “marker” on a big area outdoors, and the result was actually a scale 1/1 park that could be seen and interacted through the “eyes” of the iPhone. Immediately I discussed with Dutch designer and my mentor on this thesis, Ted Noten, the possibilities of how two people could interact using this park as a new media. And so, reaching the goal of using old platforms for new virtual platforms to bring real connection between people. Later I received the SDK package from ARToolworks. The SDK is the acronym for Software Development Kit. It’s a software package for software developers to make new softwares.

set `wc -lwc objc-sample/Node.h <<’@EOF’ #import @interface Node : Object { id next; id data; } -init: anItem; // create a Node and store anItem in it -free; // free a Node and return the item in it -next; // report the id of the next node after this one -setNext: aNode; // make the next node be aNode @end @EOF set `wc -lwc objc-sample/Node.m <<’@EOF’ #import #import “Node.h” @implementation

Node: Object

-init: anItem { self = [super init]; next = 0; data = anItem; return self; } -free { id tmp = data; [super free]; return tmp; } -setNext: aNode { next = aNode; return self; } @end

Figure 28. Sampla code of computer language programming. In this case, a sample program of a “Hello World”, using the language Objective C, which I will be working on.

= 47


//next steps;

Now I had two main tasks: 1) Given the possibility of effectively use this technology, the next step was to create projects based on augmented reality that would stick to the concept discussed on the “Objectives” chapter of this thesis. 2) Find software programmers that could work with the ARToolwork’s SDK and iPhone implementation software.

Picture 29. Screenshot from the movie “People Mash-up”. Davide Dulcetti, 2009

= 49


The outcome: The creation of 3 projects for each of the 3 main points pointed out in the analysis: Serendipity, Supply-demand and Expression. Given the tools, and all the process of trying to match the most suitable technology for my approach, the result was the creation of different projects using augmented reality to promote a new way of interacting with the city and people. Projects that uses the same dynamics of the internet-computer interface, but applied to the physical real world.

“People Mash-up” Serendipity on the streets: I tried to translate this interface to the street using augmented reality. For this concept, I created a narrative about someone walking on the street, and how we cross with so many people that maybe could have something in common with each other. Maybe someone could be a potential friend, a work colleague, or even your soul mate just passing by your side. There are so many possibilities, which could flourish on the streets, but are just not born. The concept then consisted of a software developed for cell-phones, where by someone could look to another person, and would see further information about them. It could be someone’s profile from a social relation network website, like Facebook, or could be other kind of information, music taste, photos, hobby etc that a person is part of on the Internet. For this study-case, a movie/animation was done illustrating the story of a teenager that uses augmented reality to accidently meet someone of romantic interest in the middle of the street.

Picture 30. Concept image for “Augmented Tools”. Davide Dulcetti, 2009

= 51

“Sharing Tools” This project has a concept based on supply and demand. A sharing program is created within a community, where people can borrow tools from their neighbors. The way in which they visualize the tools which are available, is through augmented reality on their mobile phones. By point the phone to the other houses, the user can see 3D models of neighbor’s tools floating on the sidewalk He then selects the tool, and automatically a message is send to the owner. He waits then for a response, and afterwards he could pick up the tool, starting a conversation between them.


Figure 31. Concept image of “City Twittering”. Davide Dulcetti, 2009

= 53


“City Twittering” As pointed out in the analysis, the need of expression is a strong need of the human being when using the internet. Inspired on the Brazilian “pixadores”, as mentioned before in the Method chapter, I used a building as a canvas where people could leave their messages and have feedback from others. The building should be a tall one, so it could bring a bigger visibility. Following the latest trend in expression, on this concept the building is transformed into a maxi blog instead of the mini blog like Twitter. Users can leave their messages, which will be seen by passers by using the augmented reality technology. Other people can react on it, and each message is displayed for a specific time. This could bring more connection of people around the same area, dealing then with expression and communication within a specific locality. It could work even as a public statement.

= 55


Technology is part of our daily life, it exists due to the advantages that it brings to us, but it can be a double sided knife. By creating disruptive strategies and designs, we can envision scenarios, or design fiction, which are tools that speak to a broader audience, therefore creating public engagement. In the case of this work, the main concern was to direct technology, through conceptual design, to make it look at its pitfalls and try to give new visions and solutions. It helps by providing access to others, and constantly seeing what are the social dimensions of this speculations, generating also public debate. Design becomes a mediator between technology and the society. Marshall McLuhan made a good remark on this mediaton: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Inherent in the artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s creative inspiration is the process of subliminally sniffing out environmental change. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always been the artist who perceives the alterations in man caused by a new medium, who recognizes that the future is the present, and uses his work to prepare the ground for it. The end-result was the design of concepts that speaks to both the science community and the rest of the society, creating the awareness that we can have a better balance between our real and virtual lives using technology itself, sharing more information, feelings, and thoughts.

To share, is to gain.

Davide Dulcetti Thesis  

Design Academy Eindhoven, 2009

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you