Depository: Trash in Augmented Reality

A gestural interaction proposal for cleaning up your AR mess.

Augmented Reality, Microsoft Hololens, Design Fiction

Microsoft Hololens, Unity + MonoDevelop (C#), Microsoft Visual Studio

Godiva V. Reisenbichler

In AR, a room can be cleaned by simply telling all of your holograms to float up.

Where does one dispose of digital objects in augmented reality?

AR Trash (or Depository) is a project inspired by our curiosity of “the trash” as an unsorted space and our desire to figure out “disposability” figures into opulent visions of augmented reality.

Using the Microsoft Hololens, we propose a new set of interactions for dealing with discarded digital objects: building off AR’s “snap-to-grid” affordance, we imagine that trash floats up to the overlooked space of the ceiling.

We propose an inverse relationship between trash in the physical world and in mixed reality: while physical trash is subject to gravity, digital trash defies it.

Unity Experiments
a. ~floatingDeposits
The first Unity sketch below modifies the default Hololens demo and "select" command to cause objects to float up and stick to the ceiling rather than fall down to the floor.

b. ~visualExcavation
The second posits: in our typical digital interfaces (e.g. the desktop computer), the trash bin is a collapsed and flattened space where files that take up different amounts of disk space are reduced to uniform items or icons in a list. In mixed reality, knowing that we must negotiate physical space with digital objects, what might be the consequences of having digital waste or clutter?

A mix of the physical with mixed reality, where the "snap-to-grid" affordance is emphasized by describing the walls with pink tape (and which was first prototyped with a foamcore model).

Above, our foamcore model mocked up the “snap-to-grid” installation we did.

Research & Inspiration
My colleague and I were inspired by the idea of “scripted spaces” (a term coined by cultural critic Norman Klein) referring to how the “interfaces” of a space can imply an overarching narrative. The ceiling was a commonly used site in cathedrals for scripting a religious narrative. What we found interesting with this idea is that the ceiling (what is now typically unused space in our homes and buildings) was once seen as free real estate to script a scene, tell a story, and emphasize a room’s meaning.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508-1512)