Generate Augmented Reality 3D Sculptures Using Your Smartphone
The app market is full of augmented reality products that allow you to enhance the world around you with digital prostheses. They usually take the form of informative, game-based, or navigational content. But AR’s also been used to hack a museum’s gallery space and scrawl virtual graffiti all over your city—and now a new app called Konstruct, from James Alliban and Juliet Lall, lets you build AR sculptures.
The free app allows you to create sound reactive augmented sculptures in real time by whistling, speaking, or blowing into the device’s microphone. The intensity with which you make a sound affects the rate at which the sculpture grows. There are various shapes to choose from: spherical, spikes, squares, lines, and a palette of colors, along with other parameters enabling the construction of a variety of patterns. This type of AR app lets you playfully experience the technology in a creative way, and it’s something we’ll hopefully be seeing a lot more of as artists and designers grapple with and further explore this augmented landscape.
We fired off a couple of questions to James to find out a bit more about it:
The Creators Project: Why did you decide to have the app react to sound as opposed to using the touchscreen, for instance?
James Alliban: I like the idea of creating a visual representation of your voice. To me it feels more organic than using touch. Konstruct will be exhibited at a few art festivals and galleries in the coming year and using your voice encourages people to lower their inhibitions and interact with each other in addition to the piece, making this a collaborative experience.
The application is coming out shortly on the iPad 2. How important will that be as a platform for AR?
The AR world has been looking forward to the new iPad for a while and several companies have already built AR apps for it with varying results. The size of the screen makes the tablet a great device, as users can fill almost their entire field of vision. At the same time, however, the size can be seen as a curse in public situations. People will be unlikely to wave their large and expensive tablet devices around in the street to find their nearest tube. So it’s more likely that AR app use will be confined to indoor environments. I believe that it will be used mainly for retail (virtual dressing rooms, testing furniture, etc.) and gaming. I’ll be interested to see how artists and designers adopt the technology on larger screens. I’ll be releasing an iPad version of Konstruct as soon as I get my hands on one.
In this app you’ve combined generative art with virtual 3D sculpture. What was the inspiration behind it?
I’ve been interested in generative art for about eight years now, ever since seeing the work of Joshua Davis. I’ve dabbled here and there but never really completed a project. I’ve also been intrigued by the idea of creating art in AR space for a while. There were many examples of this theme that were inspiration for this piece. Here are just a few:
Tagged in Motion by Jung von Matt is an application that allows the user (in this case the graffiti artist DAIM) to spray virtual graffiti into empty space. While three cameras track his movements, DAIM uses a fiducial marker as the source to paint digital trails. The results are viewed in real time via a head mounted display.
One Minute Soundsculpture by Daniele Franke was a major inspiration. It’s a pre-rendered scene that takes place in an empty warehouse. An abstract digital organism appears to grow [in time] to a harsh soundtrack.
And also Julian Oliver’s Insertions series, which is a collection of short movies in which a series of hyperreal digital forms seamlessly appear in a range of public spaces. These objects all appear to be influenced by the surrounding architecture.