• Son Luu

Ideation for Augmented Objects

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Class: Magic Windows

Instructor: Rui Pereira

This week, with the goal to augment reality on objects, I have been thinking about why we augment objects and what should be augment on them [no matter which objects we choose to do so].

There are so many inspiring ideas for augmented reality on objects that I've seen and learned from, yet it has been taking me quite some time contemplating why I would augment "things" on top of things, why would or should I add more to something, and isn't it already enough layers on top of layers in the digitally driven world we live in?

Then, I realized I may have found a "relatively good enough" reason for why I may want to augment "things" on top of things and "what things" should be augmented on them. It may sound abstract, but I would call them the "souls" of the material things around us. As if there is s superpower that organizes and animates the material world we live in and interact with everyday.

In fact, as a child, I recall the many times I would imagine things talking and doing as if they live and have a soul of their own.

Taking this thought further to be an inspiration for augmenting reality on objects, my intend to visualize and reveal these so-called "souls" out of the things that I relate to.


As someone who is often inspired by music, I wish I could play some musical instruments better than I currently can. Every time I play an instrument, I feel connected with the instrument through the process of creating sound and music as if we are two souls that are linked together. It feels the same when I play music with other friends: the humans' souls are connected, and so are the instruments' souls.

These Rene Magritte's paintings give the similar feeling about the souls and the stories within things and humans. In some of these paintings, the artist doesn't add things on top of things or on the humans, but he replaces the contents that would normally be seen with something else that seem to reveal what is inside or beyond the surface.

Below is a music video by a band called Androp that I came across. In the video, the idea that the band and the song continue to play until the flowers wilt brings much emotional response to me. It is as if the soul of the song, and the soul of the band playing it may only last for as long as the lifetime of the flowers' souls.


Project Idea

My idea for augmenting reality on objects is inspired by all of the above encounters.

The augmented reality experience:

It will be an experience where in the future, I come across again the musical instruments that my friends and I once played. The visual memories of the individuals who played the specific instruments will be augmented on the surfaces of such instruments, bringing the asleep souls of the instruments back.

The surfaces of the instruments will be transformed to clear white canvases to be augmented an alternative reality on, which could include visuals of the individual friends who actually played those particular instruments. Potentially I may start playing an instrument myself and activate certain effects with the sounds of the instrument and/or interacting with the other instruments to bring back my own recollection of the fond memories with my friends.

Potential input (sensory) modes leveraged in the real world: by human touch on the objects (touching the instruments) or human gestures (to activate certain visual effects).

Potential output( feedback) modes leveraged in the real world: video playback (on the instruments' surfaces), and/or visual effects (in the physical space).

Technology tools:

Technical possibilities using current technology: projection, machine learning for human gestures to create interaction with the objects and the physical space.