|When working in task-focused domains, such as equipment maintenance and repair, it is feasible for a team of technology experts to work closely with domain experts to understand a particular problem, and build a solution to the problem using widely accepted HCI techniques such as iterative design. Unfortunately, in experiential domains, this separation between domain experts (e.g., designers and artists in this case) and technologists does not work; designers are most effective when working directly with a medium, and working through an intermediary seriously hinders (or even destroys) the creative process. Most instances of successful design using cutting-edge technologies have been slow, painstaking endeavors carried out by close-knit teams or technically sophisticated individual designers. By making AR more accessible to a wider range of designers, we can begin to achieve its potential to create powerful dramatic and educational experiences.
The primary purpose of DART is to advance the state of the art in AR by enabling designers1 to work directly with AR as a new medium for dramatic experiences. The three main goals of this research program are: 1) identifying and supporting appropriate design activities for AR experiences, 2) creating design tools that support these activities, and 3) solving fundamental technical problems to support the creation of these tools. We believe that these three goals are intimately related, and should not be pursued independently; the requirements of, and progress on, each influence the others. Design tools must support an appropriate set of activities if they are going to be useful to designers. Without knowing how the design tools should work, we do not know what technical problems are important to solve. Conversely, as we solve technical problems, we can enhance the capabilities of the design tools, which can in turn open new possibilities for design activities.
DART research currently focuses on supporting rapid prototyping of AR experiences. DART is built as a collection of extensions to the Macromedia Director multimedia-programming environment, the de-facto standard for multimedia content creation. Our long-term goal is to enable designers to rapidly develop and test their AR experiences, in the same environment that will be used to deploy the final experience. This last point is critical; while we are focused on supporting early design activities, designers can gradually evolve their prototypes as they see fit. Polished content can be mixed with crude content, elaborate narratives and complex behaviors can be tested as desired, and changes to “complete” experiences can be rapidly prototypes.
A guiding principle of our work is that DART should build on the existing design practices and tools used by experienced designers, rather than expect these designers to adopt radically new practices and tools. We are initially adapting existing design practices (e.g., storyboarding, informal prototyping, animatic video, etc.) and tools (e.g., from physical models and pencil sketches, to computer programs such as Macromedia Director, 3D Studio and Adobe Photoshop) to support experienced designers in the rapid, informal prototyping of AR experiences.
The work supported by NSF CAREER Grant 0347712.
1For simplicity, we use the term designer to refer to those people primarily interested in creating experiences or artifacts of some kind; this could include HCI researchers, graphics designers, artists, architects, game designers, media theorists, museum exhibit designers and so on. Similarly, we use the term technologist to refer to those people primarily interested in advancing the state of the art of the enabling hardware and software technology; this could include computer scientists, engineers, and so on.
Blair MacIntyre, Maribeth Gandy, Steven Dow, and Jay David Bolter. "DART: A Toolkit for Rapid Design Exploration of Augmented Reality Experiences." To appear at conference on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST'04), October 24-27, 2004, Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Blair MacIntyre, Jay David Bolter, and Maribeth Gandy (2004) "Presence and the Aura of Meaningful Places" 7th Annual International Workshop on Presence (PRESENCE 2004), Polytechnic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain, 13-15 October 2004.
Steven Dow, Blair MacIntyre, Maribeth Gandy, and Jay David Bolter. "Prototyping Applications for the Physical World Using Integrated Capture/Playback Facilities." To be presented as a demo at UbiComp (UBICOMP04), September 7-10, 2004, Nottingham, U.K..
Blair MacIntyre (2004) "Bringing History Alive: Dramatic Augmented Reality Experiences in Historic Settings", presented at the Consortium for Computers in the Humanities and Canadian Historical Association meetings at the Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, June 1 and June 5, 2004. [details]
Maribeth Gandy, Steven Dow and Blair MacIntyre. "Prototyping Applications with Tangible User Interfaces in DART,The Designer's Augmented Reality Toolkit." Positional paper at Toolkit Support for Interaction in the Physical World Workshop at IEEE Pervasive Computing 2004, April 20, 2004. [details]
Blair MacIntyre, Maribeth Gandy, Jay Bolter, Steven Dow, Brendan Hannigan. "DART: The Designer’s Augmented Reality Toolkit." Presented as a demo at The Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '04), November 2-5, 2003, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Blair MacIntyre, Maribeth Gandy, Jay Bolter, Steven Dow, Brendan Hannigan. "DART: The Designer’s Augmented Reality Toolkit." Presented as a demo at The Second International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR03), pages 329-330, October 7-10, 2003, Tokyo, Japan.