The DMY International Design Festival Berlin Award annually highlights the most exceptional works in contemporary product design, with strong consideration of the teams’ approaches, rather than just their final results. This year, a facet of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - EPFL + ECAL Lab – was named one of the winners for their exhibition ‘Give Me More’. Eight installations depicted augmented reality scenarios, combining analogue materials and digital applications to “turn technology into a new medium.”
More about the winning exhibit after the break.
So, what exactly is augmented reality? To one, it may be the process of reality being manipulated by digital means, to depict a new representation of our world. On a technical note, this definition requires the means to visually recognize images and objects in order to augment them.
“With Give Me More, the EPFL+ECAL Lab offers a specific vision of augmented reality which is twofold: first by exploring the visual language specific to this medium. Indeed, a medium can only exist if it has narrative power, i.e. if it is able to tell a story, failing which it remains a mere demonstration of technology. The second aspect is related to the principle of realism. Although advanced technology always gives rise to the wildest expectations, one is easily tempted to forget its limitations, at the risk of disappointing the end-user. The technology has to offer a production capacity that is powerful enough to fade behind content,” stated Nicolas Henchoz, the head of EPFL+ECAL Lab.
To illustrate their ideas about and experiments with augmented reality, eight installations use different technological applications to provide the user with an enhanced experience. For instance, stop and read some of Camille Scherrer’s Le Monde des Montagnes where images reveal a virtual world from which stories emerge in animated collages. Or, walk past Audrey Richard-Laurent’s Inside Out and the mirror will depict a different representation of your heart, from its physiological form to a skin-deep tattooed image. Create a drawing that comes to life with Maria Laura Méndez Martén’s Dots or enjoy ECAL’s Clouds that alter how we perceive our environment.
In a dark room, take Eric Morzier’s Lively Light flashlight that reveals images, textures and dreams upon an ordinary wall. Or, use Yuri Suzuki’s Beatvox and your voice will control a set of drums. Then, there’s Camille Scherrer’s Stitched Pixel by Pixel, an embroidered cushion where the cross stitches become pixels to show that there can be consistency between the material’s visual language and that of the virtual world. And, Vincent Jacquier’s money installation where the Cashback glass reveals more content as the value of the bill increases.
The beauty of ‘Give Me More’ lies in its confrontation of this complex technology and its fusion with design. “This medium offers extraordinary potential to create unprecedented content, rethink the relationship between a product and its image, and open a virtually untouched area for artistic expression,” explained Nicolas Henchoz.
Project: Nicolas Henchoz
Designers: Camille Scherrer, Eric Morzier, Yuri Suzuki, Audrey Richard-Laurent, Maria Laura Mendéz
Engineers: Fanny Riedo, Julien Pilet, Vincent Lepetit, Pascal Lagger/Space3D Solutions
Industrial & Object Design – Exhibition Design: Nicolas Le Moigne
Graphic Design: Emmanuel Crivelli
Research Partner: Computer Vision Laboratory (CVLab), Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Technology Partner: Space 3D Solutions