Dance and Technology

There are many technologies that may interest artists but augmented reality is the one that I find most interesting. Augmented reality is a live view of a physical environment, whose elements are augmented through sound, video, graphics or gps (global positioning system) data. This technology enhances one’s perception. It must not be mistaken with virtual reality, that aims to replace real world with a simulated one. Augmented reality may be associated with augmentation of locations (geo-located) that are called POIs (points of interest), or might be marker based.

Smartphones like android and iphone provide the user with AR (augmented reality) apps (applications) and browsers. There are several AR browsers but the one that seems to be most interesting is Layar, because it can augment through all the means mentioned above, while other browsers use only some means of augmentation like text and graphics.

I shall now speak about how Layar browser can enhance an artists’ work. Each Layar application can have several POIs and each POI can have several actions associated with it. I can for example spot an app geo-located in a museum and watch an exhibition’s movie, ask for information by sms or e-mail, call to book a ticket, hear an exposure’s advertising, or go to the museum’s web page.

These are the most immediate actions but there are other features that I consider more interesting. Layar can trigger events when the user is within a certain range of a POI or when the app is launched. For example when the user is within 50 meters of the museum’s range, he can automatically hear a sound or see a video. All the actions can be triggered except making a call. The user is always asked to authorize or decline the automatic trigger.

Imagine that the artist is enhancing a treasure hunt. When the user is within a 100 meters range he can hear a hint to the treasure. The hint could be on a website or taken through a video. Or he would have to send an e-mail somewhere to get it. However there are certain limitations. Different mobiles can spot the POI at different distances, which means that, in the example given, some users can hear the hint in more advance than others.

Layar can also augment images in magazines, books or in any printed format. And what is more interesting is that it can be done by anyone, even those with no programming skills. Layar’s website has a step by step tutorial for printed AR. You can start your own AR app today, with no programming needed.