Augmented Reality: Where Art and Technology Collide
There’s a new kind of magic happening in the Visual Communication and Design studios of the IPFW campus.
Assistant Professor of Computer Animation Andres Montenegro is using his decades of experience in modeling and animation to change the way we interact with art, technology, data, and stories. His research into augmented reality and haptic technologies has the potential to completely upend the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined.
Your Everyday Life. Plus a Little More.
Augmented reality works by superimposing digital images or animation over a view of a physical environment—for example, showing turn-by-turn directions superimposed on the road ahead of you or the yellow line of a first down on a football field. These images augment or supplement the world we can already see, granting us greater insight or perspective than our eyes alone can see.
Augmented reality is sort of like virtual reality, except instead of simulating an environment these technologies build upon the one we already live in.
The real-world applications are almost limitless. Imagine if your surgeon could monitor your vitals without breaking eye contact with the incision; if your front windshield displayed traffic data for the journey ahead; if you could reach inside your tablet and touch the information you’re viewing.
If this sounds like a faraway future, it’s not.
The smartphone in your pocket is already capable of instantly translating signs and road markers through its camera. Gamers have reached whole new levels of immersion and interactivity through consumer products like Microsoft’s Kinect and the upcoming Oculus Rift headset. And with the release and adoption of new personal electronic devices—such as Google Glass or the Apple Watch—the ways with which we view, perceive, organize, and react to data are constantly evolving.
Industry giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Google are investing millions of dollars into R&D to find and hone new applications for augmented reality in our homes, offices, and pockets.
Coming into Contact with our Stories.
Montenegro’s research is focused on bringing stories to life through haptic technologies—bringing the narrative up off the page and “into” the audience’s hands.
This kind of tactile storytelling has incredible implications well beyond entertainment purposes; Montenegro is particularly interested in partnering with regional and community business leaders to find creative implementations for his work.
Reducing the distance between our physical world and the worlds we create—even in an age when so much of ourselves are kept behind touchscreen glass—could profoundly reshape how we live, work, and play.
And IPFW Professor Andres Montenegro is right at the forefront of this revolution, encouraging us to reach out and touch what used to seem impossible.
PROGRAM SNAPSHOT: DEPARTMENT OF VISUAL COMMUNICATION AND DESIGN
It takes a skilled eye and a steady hand to design jaw-dropping print and digital assets. The Department of Visual Communication and Design can help you find exciting new applications for your unique sense of style. We graduate designers, artists, photographers, and more. Our programs include graphic design, imaging and photography, modeling and animation, and interior design. Learn more.