Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

Reality has changed

Helen Papagiannis (Augmented Stories Inc.)
1:15pm–1:55pm Wednesday, 06/24/2015
Location: Herbst Pavilion
Average rating: ***..
(3.14, 14 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

An interest in and basic understanding of: AR, VR, wearable tech, IoT, machine learning


The boundaries of the digital and physical are blurring. New (augmented) realities are emerging that combine multiple technologies to forever change the way we experience the world. With Facebook acquiring VR headset-maker Oculus for $2B and Google leading a $542M investment in AR company Magic Leap, our digital future is a hot topic. How will this next major technological shift shape our lives?

Augmented reality, typically defined as a layering of digital information over the physical world as experienced through smartphones or digital eyewear, is quickly advancing into a new phase of contextually-rich, personalized experiences that combine sensors, wearable computing, big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. This second wave of AR will surpass novelty, and extend our human capacities to better understand and experience our world in new, meaningful ways.

AR presents a brave new digital frontier, where the objects in our world are contextual, shape-shifting, on-demand, and magical. This era will be one of new interaction designs, user behaviours, and experiences. Natural user interfaces with heightened immediacy will lead us to be more deeply immersed with both feet simultaneously rooted in reality. We will have new ways of knowing and being in our world entirely. This presentation seeks to inspire designing for the best of humanity and the best of technology. Helen Papagiannis will provide an overview of the new opportunities this technological shift represents, highlighting and expanding on significant moments, inventions, and concepts including:

More human than human: From software (deep learning) and hardware systems (virtual retina displays) inspired by and mirroring human physiology, to the ability to think your reality by controlling the world around you with your brain signals (EEG technology), and wearable tech extending to sensors implanted in the human body: How does this new era of computing extend human capacity and the human imagination? Will we become superhuman?

See anew, see different: Users will be empowered by digitally filtering and mediating their reality. Our devices will help us to translate the world around us, in real time, interpreting text, voice, images, faces, places, and objects. Computer vision will give us new eyes and perspectives, ranging from novel virtual entertainment experiences and sharing unique POVs, to assisting the visually impaired to interact with the world around them through sensor-equipped wearables.

New stories for new screens and senses: A whole new storytelling medium will emerge. The narrative of the virtual environment will spill into our physical surroundings to create new forms, reorienting our understanding of conventional space and time. Classically ordered space will dissolve, and the user will be at the center of these new experiences where the real and virtual blur. No longer strictly limited to the visual, we will be able to touch, smell, and taste the digital in a full sensorial spectrum of human and digitally-merged experiences.

Adaptive design, on-demand intelligent objects and helpers: Our devices and smart environments will know us intimately, not only sensing the world around us, but combining the data of the history of our actions to interpret our likes and interests. Intelligent assistants will come to anticipate our needs and act on our behalf. The physical world will be dynamically imbued with digital properties on demand, shape-shifting to our context.

Photo of Helen Papagiannis

Helen Papagiannis

Augmented Stories Inc.

Helen Papagiannis is recognized as a global leading expert in the field of augmented reality (AR). She has been working with AR for a decade as a researcher, designer, and technology evangelist with a focus on storytelling and creating compelling experiences. Dr. Papagiannis was named among the NEXT 100 Top Influencers (#16) of the Digital Media Industry in 2013, and is featured as an innovator in the book Augmented Reality: An Emerging Technologies Guide to AR, published in 2013. Her work and research in the field include her past roles as chief innovation officer at Infinity Augmented Reality Inc. (New York and Tel Aviv), and senior research associate at York University’s Augmented Reality Lab in the Department of Film, Faculty of Fine Art (Toronto).

Dr. Papagiannis has presented her interactive work and Ph.D. research at global conferences and invited events including TEDx, ISMAR (International Society for Mixed and Augmented Reality), and ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Art). Her TEDx 2011 talk was featured among the Top 10 Talks on augmented reality and gamified life. Prior to her augmented life, Dr. Papagiannis was a member of the internationally renowned Bruce Mau Design studio, where she was project lead on “Massive Change: The Future of Global Design," an internationally touring exhibition and best-selling book examining the new inventions, technologies, and events changing the world.