Innovation That Matters

AR flashlight

Headset-free device uses augmented reality to tell an objects story

Publishing & Media

A new device creates collaborative immersion through augmented reality by using projection mapping technologies to tell a story about an object.

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We have already covered many innovations in virtual and augmented reality. These have included a VR menu and an AR app that can help users with interior design. A new innovation promises to augment reality without the use of a screen. The Lumen projector uses machine learning to recognise objects and then generate ‘stories’ for those objects. For example, pointing the Lumen at a statue in a museum could generate an animation of a docent discussing the statue. Lumen was created by Sweden-based designer Arvind Sanjeev. He developed the device as part of his thesis while studying at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

Sanjeev began by writing a story about a magic flashlight lost by a time traveller and found by a family in 2017. Sanjeev then developed a device to make this story a reality. His first prototype was created by taping together a Rasberry Pi, a laser projector and a battery pack. In the most recent design, the Lumen resembles a flashlight. However, Sanjeev hopes to eventually create a sleeker and more ergonomic design. Lumen uses an onboard algorithm to generate the ‘stories,’ using a graphical interface that serves as the story builder. Narratives for the platform will be designed by storytellers and game designers.

Sanjeev is exploring a wide variety of uses for the Lumen, but is initially focusing on museum applications. He recently won the Playable Museum Award, given by the Museo Marino Marini in Florence, Italy. The award will allow Sanjeev to develop the Lumen for use in the museum. According to Sanjeev, the main inspiration for Lumen was “imagining a future where people’s imagination are no longer confined to 2D touch screens or headsets, but instead [allow] them to interact with the world around them.” Will Lumen allow the creation of a more versatile interactive experience?




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