Augmented Reality

On my first day of user testing in the space, One of the people passing by commented saying ‘I think its augmented reality’ which is something I never really considered while making it. Augmented Reality takes computer generated information such as images, audio and video, and overlaying them over a real-time environment (Kipper & Rampolla, 2012, p.1). Augmented Reality is often confused with Virtual Reality which immerses the user into synthetic, digital world and can’t see the real world around them. Augmented Reality allows digital objects to be superimposed with or composited with the real world and can be used to supplement and enhance reality.

In the context of my face swapping, an Augmented Reality is created on screen where people have their faces swapped over. It is using a video feed of the space in front of the screen and superimposing the faces it sees into different locations. The faces are digitally altered before they’re placed back down on screen by blurring the edges of them in an attempt to blend them into their new location. The face swapping also managed to keep up with the video in real time, be it a bit jittery due to capturing a new face, resizing and masking it 20 times a second.

A real world implementation of Augmented Reality is the Magic Mirror. The Magic Mirror is a digital screen which allows you to try on different clothes and outfits in an Augmented Reality space. It uses a Kinect sensor to track body movements so it can superimpose 3D clothes onto you and you move and rotate to see how it would look while you’re wearing it. Using the Kinect it is able to recognise gestures in order to change the clothes being modelled by swiping to the sided, or raising a hand to take a photo. Obviously this technology is far more advanced than what I’m doing with my face swapping but it goes to show how it does have real world implementations.

I feel that using Augmented Reality is a good idea for creating an interactive information graphic display as it makes it much harder for people to resist looking at it. I feel that most people are naturally quite narcissistic in that they can’t resist looking at their own reflection, be it in a mirror, shop window or on a screen from a video camera. The Augmented Reality element of this reflection then makes it more engaging for the user/ audience as their appearance and representation has been manipulated without their explicit consent.

Kipper, G., Rampolla, J., 2012. Augmented Reality: An Emerging Technologies Guide to AR. Elsevier.

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