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Creative Technologist // Filmmaker //
Aspiring Data Scientist //

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Thesis I prototype:

My thesis project, Augmented Reality Record (ARR), seeks to provide a mobile platform for musicians to develop their creative identity expressed through visualization in augmented reality beyond the realms of conventional media formats. By using the mobile application, the user scans the artwork on the vinyl record and it triggers an immersive augmented experience through the visual lens of the artist. By programming using openFrameworks and experimenting with physical prototype, I am trying to reimagine the materiality of vinyl as a viable platform for new socialized experiences both for listeners and DJs remixing music.

User testing:

My current thesis proposal aims at creating a mobile application where artists can showcase their creative identity by allowing listeners to augment the vinyl record. I’ve made significant progress since my third thesis proposal on augmented reality record. The initial stages consisted of testing basic AR applications. For my first prototype, I used Layar, which is a very seamless method to drag-and-drop interactive digital elements, including video messages, music clips, and interactive photo slideshows. In this phase, I explored the software’s limited capabilities, and its ineffectiveness in regards to creating custom digital augmented animations. However, I applaud the simplicity of the user interface as it’s a user-friendly landing page with just an “image scanner” in the middle.

Becoming more familiar with AR technology, I shifted my focus from projecting static to dynamic content on the record player. For my second prototype, I used openFrameworks, a creative coding tool (ofxCar plugin), to build a visual platform surrounding the center piece artwork on the vinyl. At this stage, I managed to import code from Instrument Design Collab from last semester onto the vinyl record. This was a huge step for me as it solidified a major foundation for my application.

For the third prototype and thesis finals critiques, I was able to augment dynamic visuals onto a moving record. The visuals itself are synched with the turning movement and direction of the vinyl. As a result of the significant improvement, the functionality of the application is almost completed. Of course there are still a few flaws and bugs, but I can now begin making other types of visuals onto the record.

There are a number of challenges that I need to look into over winter break. I am constantly finding more effective and impactful methods to augment from 2D to 3D media. Eventually, I would love to incorporate elements of cinema and film, as it moves away from conventional shaders.

As for the user interaction for my current prototype, the aural experience is still embedded on the phone, which means that the mobile application needs to have the technology to recognize the song being played or manipulated on the record player. Fortunately, I am only working on individual tracks so it won’t require code that also recognizes transitions and determines what song is playing next. I am also in talks with Tristan Jehan, co-founder of Echonest software, in providing a student license for my application.

During the thesis finals crits, I received great suggestions and feedback from Jessie Harding and Brad McDonald. We spoke about the application’s potential of being marketable as commercial product. Is there a business plan as well? They were also very curious to see the range of visuals I anticipate from the record visualizations, and if there were any narratives related to the song - perhaps tracking down objects to tell a story like an interactive treasure hunt.

My personal reflection after the third prototype is that this application could also serve as an educational tool for DJs. It could trigger visual effects/cues by manipulating or “scratching” the vinyl record.

The next steps for my project are to continue developing different types of augmented reality visuals, but also start collaborating with the artists, UNDA and Alex Miller. I need to look into building a database to store AR visuals and wireframing a visually aesthetic mobile user interface for both artists and listeners. I am also going to replicate my code on phonegap to vuforia, a more compatible application for AR. Over winter break, I will spend my majority of time learning Swift (iOS coding), and begin the foundations of the mobile application.