SIGGRAPH Showcases Hybrid Crafts, Virtual Reality, Immersive Environments

SIGGRAPHThe annual SIGGRAPH conference is a five-day interdisciplinary education experience and conference on the latest computer graphics and interactive techniques. The 42nd annual SIGGRAPH takes place August 9-13, 2015 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.  Highlights include: an art gallery of hybrid crafts; a VR (Virtual Reality Village; and demonstrations of how emerging technologies will affect how we work and live.

Art Gallery: Hybrid Crafts

In the display of “Hybrid Crafts” in the SIGGRAPH Art Gallery, visitors will see how skilled artists are using computational design tools in conjunction with traditional crafts. The show will emphasize the importance of craft heritage in contemporary digital design.  Gallery visitors will see how beautiful and meaningful artifacts are being produced by a machine and craftsperson working together, not by a machine or craftsperson alone.

The featured creations come from skilled makers who use computational design tools in conjunction with traditional crafts such as jewelry, bowl-making, wallpapers, and instruments.


The Hunt for Butterflies
“The Hunt for Butterflies,” by Peter Schmitt

For artworks included in the display entitled “The Hunt for Butterflies,” independent artist Peter Schmitt uses CAD, CNC machine tools, wood, plastic, metal, electronics, and mechanics “to explore the questions of how computational methods, machine tools, and fabrication resources can be used outside the paradigm of application, function, purpose and profit.”

In another display, independent artist Yael Friedman displays 3D-printed puzzle rings that are not only meant to be seen, but also be touched and played with.

VR Village

In the 2015 VR Village, attendees can explore the fascinating potential of virutal reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and immersive environments for telling stories, engaging audiences, and powering real-world applications in health, education, design, and gaming.

The 2015 VR Village at SIGGRAPH 2015 will feature real-time immersion in the latest virutal and augmented realities, including Nomadic Virtual Reality (VR), Tabletop Augmented Reality (AR), Full-Dome Cinema, and live performances and demonstrations in a 360-degree immersion dome.  The VR Village is a screening room for cutting -edge VR, AR, and Immersive Media programming.

For example, in the walk-about space of the Nomadic VR Arena, participants will use untethered headsets to freely explore immersive virtual environments. During the Immersive Explorers program, multiple visitors can explore the recreated interior of a pharoah’s tomb while interacting with 3D objects and other users.

In the “Holojam” program visitors will share a virtual space and see each other as stylized avatars, draw shapes in the air with a magic wand, and contribute to 3D sculptural artwork.

At the sit-down or stand-up Head-Mounted Display Stations, attendees can experience the latest in VR and AR programming. “Neuro” provides a VR journey through the brain of world-renowned musician Reuben Wu. “LovR” is a story of love told through neural activity captured over four seconds. Experience what happens when two lovers see each other for the first time.

Occulus Rift in Virtual Reality: Immersive Explorers
Real Virtuality: Immersive Explorers. Copyright: 2015 Artanim Foundation, Kenzan Technologies. (Photo: Business Wire)

In the Immersion Dome, visitors can follow energy from the sun to the Earth and explore the atmosphere and oceans. Immersive visualizations from the California Academy of Sciences will enable visitors to experience the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and explore the Earth’s ecosystems over the millennia.

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Immersive Environments are pat of a fast-growing, emerging market,” said Ed Lantz, SIGGRAPH 2015 VR Village Program Co-Chair. “As it grows, there will be room for alternative and independent producers, developers, distributors, and manufacturers to make important and original contributions to consumer products and programming. For the debut of SIGGRAPH’S VR Village, my co-chair Denise Quensel and I wanted to ensure that attendees have the chance to see amazing applications that have been developed by the world’s best programmers, cinematographers, artists, and game developers that are currently out there. We also hope to inspire and bring together the larger VR community.”

Speakers who will participate in moderated talks about “VR: Creating at the Edge” include executives from Walt Disney Imagineering R&D, Sony’s PlayStation Magic Lab, Emblematic Group, and Jaunt Studios.

Emerging Technologies

The Emerging Technologies program will feature projects from various industries that demonstrate how evolving technologies and techniques impact the way we live and work. Each project and installation exhibits how innovation can improve work environments, make everyday tasks easier, or help make leisure time more enjoyable.

“As technology builds upon itself and becomes cheaper and wider spread, it’s important to see the beginnings of how see the beginnings of how it it was developed,” said Kristy Pron, SIGGRAPH 2015 Emerging Technologies Program Chair. “For this year’s conference, we wanted to find technologies that can be applied to daily life, whether it will be tomorrow or in a few
to daily life,  It’s exciting to see firsthand a technology that you can follow the development of and know that it will be relevant to you in the near future. Also, we wanted to uncover practical applications of emerging technology from various industries, such as automotive or assistive. I believe we’ve done that with the wide range of interactive installations that will be showcased.”

SIGGRAPH 2015 Emerging Technologies demonstration highlights include:

An Auto-Multiscopic Projector Array for Interactive Digital Humans
Presented by Linkoping University and the University of Southern California

With this installation, users interact with life-size 3D digital human subjects displayed via a dense array of 216 video projectors to generate images with high angular density over a wide field of view. As users move around the display, their eyes transition from one view to the next, making it ideal for displaying life-size subjects and it allows for natural personal interactions with 3D cues, such as eye-gaze and spatial hand gestures. Automultiscopic 3D displays allow a large number of people to experience 3D content simultaneously without the need for special glasses or headgear.

Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment
Presented by the Ford Motor Company

The Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment (FiVE) is a highly realistic immersive virtual reality system that addresses the unique challenges of automotive  design, engineering and ergonomics. FiVE enables a collaborative approach that allows its program teams to see and understand complex engineering issues from any customer’s perspective; while, considering aesthetic design, fit and finish, manufacturability and maintenance of a vehicle’s system.

Christie Digital Sandbox
Presented by Christie Digital

Christie Digital’s latest technology expands the capabilities of today’s automatic projection-calibration systems. This demonstration uses this technology  application to seamlessly calibrate projection-mapped displays automatically on any surface, smooth or complex, and even 3D. Christie Digital’s Sandbox presents an automatic alignment of a projection display in less than 30 seconds, even after the projector and/or surface is moved.

Semantic Paint: Interactive Segmentation and Learning of 3D Worlds
Presented by Stanford University, Nankai University, University of Oxford and Microsoft Research

This installation is a real-time system, interactive system for geometric reconstruction and object class segmentation of 3D worlds. With this system, a user can walk into a room wearing a consumer-depth camera and a virtual reality headset, and reconstruct the 3D scene and interactively segment it into object classes. The user physically interacts with the scene in the real world, touching objects and using voice commands to assign appropriate labels to
these objects.

MidAir Touch Display
Presented by Keio University and the University of Tokyo

The MidAir Touch Display integrates technology for tactile feedback, acoustic energy distribution, planer phased arrays, ultrasonic fields and aerial images through the Aerial Imaging Plate to provide visuo-tactile interaction with bare hands. This project enables users to see and touch virtually floating objects with the naked eye and their hands for true interaction. This presentation is a SIGGRAPH pick from the DC Expo in Japan.




Augmented Reality Conference To Be Held in San Francisco

InsideAR, the epicenter of the rapidly growing world of Augmented Reality, is coming to San Francisco for the first time May 20-21, 2015.

The event is hosted by Metaio, the worldwide leader in Augmented Reality software, research and technology. With over 10 years of experience in Augmented Reality and Computer Vision, Metaio serves over 130,000 developers with over 1,000 published apps.  Metaio’s AR software reaches over 30 million consumers around the world.


Metaio products have been used to develop AR apps for everything from publishing, retailing, and  marketing to industrial engineering,maintenance,and manufacturing.

Metaio defines Augmented Reality (AR) as a technology that blends digital content into our real world. AR seeks to integrate our increasingly digitalized lifestyle with our physical lives in a seamless, natural way.

InsideAR offers a comprehensive introduction to Augmented Reality by bringing together innovators and stakeholders to share technical insights and the latest and greatest AR applications.

Network with futurists, global leaders in AR, and other creatives who are paving the way for an Augmented Reality future  Additional AR events will be held in Munich, Beijing, and Tokyo.


In San Francisco, InsideAR will be presented at The Village at 969 Market Street in the heart of San Francisco.

If you can’t attend the conference, the Metaio website features case studies and white papers about how augmented reality is being used in print, marketing, education, television, sales, and manufacturing.



About Metaio

Metaio Case Studies


Metaio Offers AR Creator Plug-In to InDesign


Will Augmented Reality Be a New Form of Mass Communication?

At the PRINT 13 Conference this month, Julie Shaffer of Printing Industries of America, discussed some of the technologies that will go beyond QR codes to make print more engaging and interactive. She started out the presentation listing seven forms of mass communications that have evolved since the Gutenberg printing press was invented:

  • Printing – (Late 1400s)
  • Recordings (1870s)
  • Cinema (Early 1900s)
  • Radio (Early 1900s)
  • TV (1950s)
  • Internet  (1990s)
  • Mobile smartphones and tablets (2000s)

Julie then suggested that this decade might see the rise of an eighth form of mass media: Augmented Reality (AR).

MetaioAugRealityCarManul.bmpAn augmented reality app on your smartphone can turn a printed ad, sign, or package into a portal to additional video, audio, or textual content. For example: See a poster advertising a concert by a new band, then use your smartphone to hear a sample of their music. Or, see a package for a new toy, then use your smartphone to watch a video of children using the toy.

After hearing Julie’s prediction, I have been looking for additional examples to support her claims. It didn’t take long to find some because it turns out that the InsideAR 2013 Conference is coming up. October 10-11 in Munich, Germany.

Some of the topics that experts will discuss at the InsideAR Conference include:

  • How Augmented Reality and Print Bridge the Physical/Digital Divide
  • Case Studies in Augmented Reality Marketing
  • How Augmented Reality is Affecting the Retail Experience.
  • The Future of AR and Wearable Computing

MetaioAugRealityCarManul2At the Inside AR Conference, Metaio will show a prototype for a hands-free interactive car manual for use with Google Glass and other wearable viewing devices. The interactive car manual might make it easier for the average person to perform some routine maintenance on their own vehicles.

Earlier this year, Metaio worked with McDonald’s Germany to develop the “McMission” AR app. The app takes a playful approach to educating restaurant visitors about McDonald’s commitment to sustainability. The app consists of four “missions” that teach kids about renewable energy, recycling, waste disposal, and product origins. The games are launched by scanning printed items such as a McDonald’s box of French fries or images in McDonald’s “Sustainability Report.”


In her presentation at PRINT 13, Julie Shaffer showed some examples of the different ways that Nellymoser is making print more interactive with mobile-activated campaigns. While some campaigns require prints to include digital watermarks, QR codes, or NFC (near-field communications) codes, augmented reality can be used with any photograph or printed image without altering the prepress process. . 

It seems to me that a lot of creativity will be required to make sure that customers are delighted (not disappointed) by the additional content they access through smartphones. (Otherwise, why bother “augmenting” printed materials at all?)

But once we all start wearing computing devices that don’t even require us to lift a smartphone, it’s easy to imagine that we might expect to see augmented reality everywhere we look.

What do you think? Have you seen any particularly creative applications of augmented reality that make printed pieces more interesting? more meaningful? more useful? 


McMission AR App

Inside AR 2013 Conference




Metaio Develops Augmented Reality for Google Glass

You Tube: McDonald’s McMission Augmented Reality App