Pop-Up AVAR set for Melbourne Fringe
Taylors Lab has developed AuraVista AR, a cloud augmented reality platform that allows users to view AR experiences in a particular place, at a particular time via a smartphone app. The Melbourne surveying firm has established an incubator lab to leverage its spatial tech into consumer products.
The AuraVista AR is being launched during the Melbourne Fringe Festival (12-29 September) with a public art activation from Melbourne artist Richard Payne on the front lawns of the Melbourne Art Centre.
The mix of digital and traditional is part of the beauty of the AuraVista display. Anyone who’s used Augmented Reality has seen 3D models of varying complexity and beauty placed on a tabletop or floor around them. The fully immersive artwork draws on themes of a united community via a shared explorative journey. It uses technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world. Passers-by will be prompted via footpath decals to view the one-of-kind-AR experience on their smartphones, through an app.
Taylors Managing Director, Richard Cirillo, describes the experience as a breathing sculpture. “The experience allows the user to move through the art. Once the app is loaded and the user’s position is confirmed, the sculpture will slide into position and everyone at the location will see the same piece positioned the same way.”
“The goal for us with AuraVista AR (AVAR) was to create an experience that everyone can get with the device in their pocket, with experiences popping up in the world around them over time,” Cirillo says. “Taylors Labs has built a culture where teams can grow their product while the business is supported with expertise in areas such as 3D Reality Capture.”
AVAR is built on the Unity3D game engine using both ARcore and ARkit (depending on your device) to tie things into the real world. The device uses location services to find your starting position so the experiences people create are available to as many users possible.
“The concept itself actually seems quite simple, and as we’ve discovered over the last few years, sometimes the simplest ideas are the hardest to achieve,” Cirillo says. “We’ve been watching others come at these same problems from different angles and in different ways while continuing this project.”
When taking scans of real-world objects to be brought into the digital world, Taylors has used a variety of survey-grade equipment as well as photogrammetry solutions. This experience was created by bringing the digital twin of the Art Centre lawn into Tilt Brush VR, and the artist has actively worked inside that canvas. Then Taylors have brought the resulting art piece out of Tilt Brush and placed it back into the original.
Experiences created are supported in everything from professional creator software like Adobe and Autodesk suites, to free tools like Blender, Gimp and Google Blocks. Taylors has the word out for creators to contact them with their ideas so they can work together to ensure the experience that ends up in the real world is as close to what they envisioned and created in the software.
Taylors are intending to start rolling out AuraVista AR platform experiences around Melbourne, Brisbane, Christchurch in the weeks following the Fringe. By then they’re hoping other creatives have some things they’d like to share and can see AVAR as a place to help them achieve that.
“We’ve been seeing how our knowledge and understanding of the previous generation of technology as surveyors has given us a great perspective and understanding of this new technology,” Cirillo adds. “Why not see what happens when digital art is given the same treatment?”