When Apple released the iPhone 3GS in the summer of 2009, it brought together a host of technologies that made it possible for consumers to engage with data in a way that had been unimaginable just a few short years before. Augmented Reality, or AR, quickly became one of the most exciting new technologies in consumer electronics, and numerous companies began to integrate AR into their apps.
With the benefit of hindsight it’s easy to look at the initial hype for AR and see parallels to everything from Virtual Reality to consumer 3D printing. But at the time it felt as though a new computing paradigm was just around the corner. While the vision of AR depicted in the video has eluded us, there are aspects that are common place today. Locative media, the association of web-based content to physical space has become quite mundane. In the meantime platforms like Microsoft’s Hololens and the Magic Leap headset continue to work towards a future in which AR is every bit as common as the desktop interface.
As for the video itself, it was shot one windy fall day with one of my student employees. My original actor called out at the last minute and Matt was kind enough to step in. I put together a green screen graphic with tracking points which we used for all the phone shots, and Brian (another highly talented student) added in all the graphics via AfterEffects. I was even fortunate to have future music artist, The Range (James Hinton), score the video using music from the Brown University archive. All told, the video was a very fun project that brought me closer to my students…even if the video is a bit dated after all these years.