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Authoring Tools

In our research, we believe that potential long-term impact of creative applications of AR is immense, especially as a medium for dramatic and narrative experiences in domains such as education and entertainment.

A guiding principle of our work is that we should build tools that allow experienced designers to leverage their existing design practices and tools, rather than expect them to develop new practices using our tools. This belief is based on our experience creating AR systems, and practical and theoretical lessons from the HCI, AR, Media Studies and Experience Design communities.

The history of media teaches us that both the designers and the consumers of a new medium approach it through the lens of those media they currently understand, a process known as remediation. Thus, we are initially adapting design practices (e.g., storyboarding, animatic video, etc.) and tools (e.g., from pencil sketches to programs such as Photoshop) used to design existing media to AR experience design.


We create tools that support common activities, such as rapid prototyping using informal content to promote reflective design, and experience testing using Wizard-of-Oz simulation. We are interested in understanding the computational abstractions necessary to support prototyping in the space between paper storyboards and fully working experiences. We believe that working with “computationally active” informal content in real physical spaces is the key to rapid design of experiential AR systems, and that dealing with the interactions between the physical and virtual worlds is what distinguishes AR design from other interactive system design.

AR Second Life

  Massive Multiplayer Online Worlds (MMO) are persistent virtual environments where people play, experiment and socially interact. In this research project, we demonstrate that MMOs also provide a powerful platform for Augmented Reality (AR) applications. We introduce the notion of  AR Stages, persistent, evolving spaces which encapsulate AR experiences in online three dimensional virtual worlds. Based …

AR SPOT: An Augmented-Reality Programming Environment for Children

AR SPOT is an augmented-reality authoring environment for children. An extension of MIT’s Scratch project, this environment allows children to create experiences that mix real and virtual elements. Children can display virtual objects on a real-world scene observed through a video camera, and they can control the virtual world through interactions between physical objects. This …

DART: The Designer’s Augmented Reality Toolkit

In this four year project, we developed The Designerʼs Augmented Reality Toolkit (DART) to allow for rapid prototyping of augmented reality (AR) applications by designers. DART was built on top of Macromedia (now Adobe) Director, a widely used multimedia development environment. We analyzed the most significant problems faced by designers working with AR in the …

Interactive Trackable

This project explores the interaction techniques made possible by combining a multitouch input modality with trackable markers on a display, i.e, “Interactive Trackables”. An Interactive Trackable can be any multitouch device which can render trackable images on the display. 3D AR is perceived with a secondary display, either on a mobile device, or an HMD. One …

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