In the near future, the Augmented Reality Headmounted Display (AR HMD) will get rid of its bulkiness and take the form of an everyday pair of glasses. People will wear such smart glasses on a daily basis, and will perceive their everyday environment, enriched with augmented information. This was the idea that we took as a starting point at Ground Eight. Our goal was to explore what this vision entails with respect to the everyday products that surround us. How will the superimposition of an AR layer affect these products, and our interaction with them?
We put forward a hypothetical future, in which products are deliberately designed to act as cradles and tracks for 3D holographic components. We call them hybrid products. Hybrid products contain a physical base structure, complemented by one or more holographic extensions. These holographic extensions fit seamlessly on the physical structure, since both were designed as one un form whole. What hybrid products will look and feel like, how people will interact with them, and where they will be used, is largely unexplored territory. At Ground Eight, we decided to do an exploration ourselves, and build a provocative prototype with which we could articulate the idea of hybrid products and make it tangible and discussable.
The ARcade is a novel device that can be used to prototype hybrid products in an analogue and straightforward manner. It uses an advanced Pepper’s Ghost technique to create convincing holograms that are superimposed on a physical setting. In reality, these holograms are physical objects themselves that are laid on top of the physical setting via a mirror/glass plate combination. The ARcade, due to its low-tech and accessible nature, makes it possible to tinker about and play with hybrid product ideas, without the burden of having to program a sophisticated computing device (Hololens, Nreal Light, Oculus Quest).