A window into Augmented Reality: Q&A with Amplified Robot

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Amplified Robot partnered with Lewisham Libraries to deliver AR and VR experiences on People’s Day.

This is the start of a series of 1-to-1s I am holding with potential partners for the cultural sector, to help you get a handle on what they do and how they could help you deliver your services.

Why did you get into Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality?

We originally got into Virtual Reality and  Augmented Reality six years ago by way of the work we do in Visual Effects (VFX) for Film and Television. We saw AR and VR as a natural extension of this work and of course we could see the enormous potential in the fields of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

How would you describe what you do to someone who knows nothing about it?

That’s always tricky because it is essentially a visual medium, but here goes - An augmented reality system generates a composite view for the user that is the combination of the real scene viewed by the user and the virtual scene overlays generated by the computer/smartphone/tablet that is augmenting the scene with additional visual information. The virtual scene that is generated is designed to enhance the user’s perception of the combination of the real world and virtual world that they are seeing and interacting with. The ultimate goal of Augmented Reality is to create a system in which the user cannot tell the difference between the real world and the virtual augmentation of it.

What’s special about your approach and what are you most proud of?

I think we are primarily a creative company that harnesses technical power and expertise to create compelling work in new media. I am most proud of the team we are building to realise our goal.

What do you see coming up in the future in your field/what are you most excited about? 

We believe that this new media and technology is currently at the beginning of it’s life cycle. If you think of it in terms of the cinema then I feel we are at the black and white film, hand cranked camera, silent  movie stage – so that means there is a long and exciting journey to come! For instance I would very much like to see wearable technologies become integrated into our daily lives as has happened with mobile phones. Ultimately I can see us interacting with Holodecks such as you can see in Star Trek!

How could someone learn to do what you do (e.g. what coding languages are needed, what kind of creative skills)?

For programming, you need basic arithmetic and problem solving skills as this will be your bread and butter. I recommend starting with Java as your first programming language because it has a very clean syntax base. Also training in gaming programing such as Unity.

There is also the more artistic side of visual creation for AR and VR and for that we need people who have skills in painting, drawing, designing and CGI animation. Especially Maya CGI artists.

But most of all you need passion and commitment.

Amplified Robot Team 2(Image: Amplified Robot team)

Why are you keen to work with public libraries (what do they have to offer you, what do you have to offer them)?

We believe that public libraries are ideal places to create hot-spots for people with the right mindset for what Augmented and Virtual Reality has to offer; people who want to learn, broaden their minds and will be encouraged to do so with the help of this new technology. Augmented Reality as a technology hasn’t reached any where near it’s full potential and we’d like people to perceive it as precursor to something even bigger.

photo 3 (Image courtesy of Lewisham Libraries – Amplified Robot in Lewisham Libraries’ Tent on People’s Day)

Where can people find out more about you? 

You can find more information about us from our website www.amplifiedrobot.co.uk. From there we have links to our social media; one of them is our YouTube channel where we showcase most of our projects so please check them out!

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