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Augmented Reality Event, 2011: Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge, Will Wright, and Jaron Lanier to Judge the “Auggies”

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

The prophets of Augmented Reality, Bruce Sterling (best know for his science fiction works, his non-fiction includes “The Hacker Crackdown,” “Tomorrow Now,” and “Shaping Things”), and  Vernor Vinge (author of “Rainbows End” and “The Coming Technological Singularity”) are joining  Will Wright (Legendary game designer of SimCity, The Sims, and Spore), and Jaron Lanier (a computer scientist, composer, visual artist, legend of virtual reality research, and the author of You Are Not A Gadget: A Manifesto) to judge the Auggies at the Second Annual Augmented Reality Event, 2011, Santa Clara, Ca., May 17th, May 18th!  Pictures top row, Bruce Sterling, Vernor Vinge, Will Wright, 2nd row, Jaron Lanier, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, and Frank Cooper III.

Augmented Reality has been prototyped in science fiction writing and films for many years now.  But Augmented Reality Event, the first global event dedicated to the emerging industry of AR,  is your chance to be part of a momentous transformation of science fiction into science fact.   Bruce gave a seminal keynote last year at ARE2010, “At the 9am of the Augmented Reality Industry…” But we are edging closer to high noon this year – see John Markoff’s recent New York Times post, “Augmented Reality Comes Closer to Reality,” and Bruce Sterling’s opening keynote at ARE2011 will raise the bar for us all again.

Bruce Sterling  and Vernor Vinge will wrap up the show with fireside chat.  Jaron Lanier will be keynoting at are2011 for the first time and Blaise Agüera y Arcas (a leader in Microsoft’s mobile strategy), will return to top his Ted talk demonstrating innovations in Bing Maps and Augmented Reality.  Frank Cooper III, who serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Consumer Engagement Officer of PepsiCo, will give, an up to now, missing perspective of  the big brands’ on Augmented Reality (AR).

“The main stage at ARE 2011 will be blessed with science fiction visionaries, ground breaking scientists, mind blowing technologists, and legendary game designers and more!”

Come prepared to Augmented Reality Event.  Read as much Bruce Sterling and Vernor Vinge as you can, and follow @bruces blog on Wired, Beyond the Beyond.  With only a few weeks to go until Augmented Reality Event, myself and co-chairs Ori Inbar, and Chris Grayson, have been working hard on a preliminary schedule ( by the time you click on this link it should be updated again).  You can follow us on twitter for updates as they come in – @tishshute, @comogard, @chrisgrayson,  and please follow @arealityevent and join our ARE facebook posse.  And, of course, don’t forget to register soon while we are still offering discount codes.

Readers of this post can use the code TISH295 for $100 of the already sweet price if $395.

If you joined us for Augmented Reality Event last year, you will know that the”Auggies” – an award for the best AR demo presented live with commentary American idol style,  is a chance to join the best and brightest in AR as they write the next chapter for AR in the sharp and often amusing reparte between judges and contestants.  Submit your demo proposal here under the “Auggies” track.

The picture below is the Auggie Award for the best AR demo designed by Sigal Arad Inbar.  (See, Ivan Franco recounts the team’s ARE 2010 experience, and winning the event’s first-ever Auggie Award, and the video shot at the YDreams booth by Bruce Sterling. “The Hotness” – YDreams rocking it at ARE2010 from brucesflickr)

ARE2011 will include more than 90(!) speakers in 30 sessions organized into 3 tracks: business, technology & programming, and production & design.

It will feature special activities such as a Startup launch pad (submit your proposal here under track: “Startup Launch Pad”), and an ARt Gala with live performances.  There will be displays by top AR artists of AR art projects and live performance art by the world’s best AR artists featuring: Helen Papagiannis, Amir Baradaran, Sander Veenhof, Ina Centaur and more to be announced.

The exhibition area will be open throughout the 2 days of the event and will include the latest product demos by the leading AR companies, as well as a career fair to help grow the fledging industry.  A small number of booths is still available in the exhibition hall ($995 for 10′x10′).Grab them while they last!

A press conference will kick start the event, as a vehicle for AR companies to launch new products and services. Submit your proposal here and add: “Press Conference” in the title. The event wrap up will feature Marco Tempest with a live AR Magic show

I have been so busy working on are2011 (and another project yet to be named -  hint I am focused on social augmentation and the world as a platform for a geo-situated social interest graph), that I have had no time to blog since I was on The Potential for Augmented Reality in Education Panel at SXSW, 2011. But I have posted my slide deck here for my talk, “Enchanted Objects and People: Data Driven AR.”

We are entering a new era of collective engagement possibilities for augmented reality, consumer to consumer brokerages which could unleash the the visions of the collaborative consumption movement and tap into our collective energies in totally new ways.  As Seth Praebatsch, Scavngr, suggested in his SXSW keynote, The Game Layer on Top of the World, the power of communal game play may even help us address even the most intractable problems like failure in education and global warming!!

One of my favorite new AR ventures exploring the potential of new forms of social engagement through AR is Suwappu.  We are working on how to get them across the pond and a few time zones to are2011.

Dentsu London are developing an original product called Suwappu. Suwappu are woodland creatures that swap pants, toys that come to life in augmented reality. BERG have been brought in as consultant inventors, and we’ve made this film. Have a look!”


Click here or on the image above to watch the video.

“Suwappu is a range of toys, animal characters that live in little digital worlds. The physical toys are canvasses upon which we can paint worlds, through a phone (or tablet) lens we can see into the narratives, games and media in which they live.”

Many new players in Augmented Reality will join the pioneering AR companies, Layar, Metaio, Occipital, Ogmento, Total Immersion, YDreams, and renowned innovators, Mark Billinghurst, Steven Feiner, Blair MacIntyre and the Georgia Tech team and many others will return to surprise and amaze us this year – see the still growing list of speakers here.   Qualcomm, who announced an SDK for vision based augmented reality, and $200,000 developer challenge last year, will also be back with several of their team at are2011!

Visual Search and OCR augmented reality apps have flourished in the last year and they will have a strong presence at are2011.  Long anticipated and oft fretted over face recognition apps are coming to a phone near you soon.  Viewdle, working locally on the phone, is taking a new approach to face recognition.  Google has so far said that they will not use or release the face recognition technology that they apparently already have.  But Shailesh Nalawadi, Google Goggles, will return to are2011 to discuss building out a computer vision search database and 3D Classifiers to solve AR challenges and show us what Google Goggles has been working on recently.  Aurasma, out next month, is perhaps the next big thing in this space, so we are all eager to try it out and see what they bring to ARE2011.

My interview with Anselm Hook, Visual Search, Augmented Reality and a Social Commons for the Physical World Platform: Interview with Anselm Hook, is still a great reference point for important questions in this space.

Wordlens, wowed us all with OCR done locally on the phone, and they will be  showing off new features at ARE2011. Pulling out WordLens to translate at subway poster for the first time is a magic moment, and guaranteed to impress the person sitting next to you too!    Tactical Information Systems, who Fred Wilson said had the potential to be a Shazam for faces at Web 2.0 Expo, NYC, will show us what they have been up to since then. 

Data driven AR is still in the early stages, but it is data that will unlock augmented experiences of the world around us in many powerful ways.   Also, we are seeing exciting new efforts to put people at the center of their data.  Jeremie Miller who ushered in the Twitter era with his invention of XMPP has brought us a new real time protocol, TeleHash and the Locker Project, that will unleash the full potential of communication at the edge of the network.   And don’t miss Ben Cerveny and Bloom,  at ARE2011, with “pop-cultural instruments for data expression and exploration” and “where data visualization meets game design,”  I highly recommend Ben’s talk!

Also I am very excited that Mike Kuniavsky will be speaking at  ARE2011 for the first time.  He  pointed out in 2007 that Magic is a powerful core interaction metphor for Ubiquitous computing [and AR].  Offices. libraries, and the desktop provided us with common metaphors that unleashed the power of the PC through files, desktops and trash cans, browsing, etc.,  but metaphors of magic – “enchanted objects and people,” are keys to augmented reality experiences.   And, if Magic is a core interaction metaphor for AR, kinect hacks have shown us that gesture will be the soul of the AR experience.  Jaron Lanier’s keynote will be a must see and make sure you catch Chris Arkenberg’s presentation on the Future of Hands Free AR.

This post is just a glimpse at some of what will be going on at Augmented Reality Event.  I cannot do justice to everything in a single post, so I hope to see you there!  And, if by any chance you have a few moments to daydream between now and then, feel free to ponder your own script for a Green Lantern movie:  “In brightest day and darkest night, no evil will escape my sight.”  I will too.  As @brendanscully noted, “Green lantern’s power is Augmented Reality!”

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