SELECTED PROJECTS

Augmented Reality Pop-Up Book, “Who’s Afraid of Bugs?”, Helen Papagiannis, 2011-2012.

Images: Screen grabs showing an AR tarantula crawling over the reader’s hand and AR butterflies which track to your hand position, landing in your palm.

Project Description:

“Who’s Afraid of Bugs?” was the world’s first AR Pop-up book designed for iPad 2 and iPhone 4. The book combines hand-crafted paper-engineering and AR on mobile devices to create a tactile and hands on storybook that explores the fear of bugs through narrative and play.

The story and use of AR in “Who’s Afraid of Bugs?” was inspired by AR psychotherapy studies for the treatment of phobias. AR provides a safe, controlled environment to conduct exposure therapy within a patient’s physical surroundings, creating a more believable and “real” scenario than in Virtual Reality (VR). The reader is asked to place their hand on top of the book’s pages to interact with the various insects and critters, including a 3D spider that appears to crawl over the reader’s hands.

Video documentation:

TEDx 2011 talk featuring the AR Pop-up Book, “Who’s Afraid of Bugs?”: 

Blog post: here.

“The Amazing Cinemagician”, Helen Papagiannis, 2010.

Images: Visitors interacting with “The Amazing Cinemagician” exhibit at the Ontario Science Center, Toronto, Canada. Photos: Pippin Lee.

Project Description:

“The Amazing Cinemagician” integrates Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology with projections onto fog, linking the emerging technology of the Fog Screen with the pre-cinematic magic lantern and phantasmagoria spectacles of the Victorian era. “The Amazing Cinemagician” was created in homage to the great French filmmaker and magician Georges Méliès (1861- 1938). Méliès, often referred to as the ‘father of special effects’ in cinematography, became famous for the trick-film, utilizing a stop-motion and substitution technique through the splicing of film, multiple exposures and various other methods. Méliès was a stage magician before being introduced to cinema at a preview of the Lumiere brothers’ invention, where he is said to have exclaimed, “That’s for me, what a great trick” (62). The project “The Amazing Cinemagician” is based on a card-trick, using physical playing cards as an interface to interact with the FogScreen. RFID tags are hidden within each physical playing card. (Part of the magic and illusion of this project was to disguise the RFID tag as a normal object, out of the viewer’s sight.) Each of these tags corresponds to a short film clip by Méliès, which is projected on to the Fog Screen once a selected card is placed atop the RFID tag reader.

The “Amazing Cinemagician” has been exhibited at York University, TEDx, and the Ontario Science Center where over 400,000 visitors experienced the interactive installation.

Video documentation:

TEDx 2010 talk featuring a discussion of “The Amazing Cinemagician”: http://youtu.be/ScLgtkVTHDc

Press release: here.

“AR Magic Theater” take home experience, Ontario Science Center, Helen Papagiannis, 2010.

Images: Screen grabs from the take home AR experience accompanying “The Amazing Cinemagician” exhibition at the Ontario Science Centre, showing various views of a 3D theatre with a magic show and participants interacting with the project.

Project Description:

Viewers of the Ontario Science Centre exhibition were invited to take a postcard from the exhibition home with them, which featured an AR marker and a website for viewers to engage in an AR experience outside of the museum. Viewers could hold up the AR marker to a webcam on their computer at home (or at a kiosk at the museum) and explore the “Magic Theatre” scene extending the themes of the exhibition featuring a stage with magicians performing magic tricks that the viewer could explore from various angles. A deck of playing cards flew overhead and circled the stage, with Méliès’ film clip, “Les Cartes Vivantes” playing on stage.

“Augmented Reality Wonder Turner”, Helen Papagiannis, 2010.

Images: Visitors interacting with “The Wonder Turner” exhibit at the Ontario Science Center, Toronto, Canada.

Project Description:

The “Wonder Turner” is an AR experience where viewers physically rotate large stacked sculptural cubes to reveal and create a character. Using the classic ‘exquisite corpse’ game format, the viewer selects between four interchangeable heads, torsos and feet to create a wild variety of creatures – from a surgeon’s head, belly-dancing torso and penguin feet to a llama head, guitar-playing torso and trampoline feet, and other wondrous creations. An augmented video of the visitor with the transformed “Wonder Turner” is simultaneously displayed on the screen.

Video documentation:

Press release: here.

“Augmented Reality Taxali Money Dress”, Helen Papagiannis in collaboration with artist Gary Taxali, Maelle Vintage Dresses, and Daqri.

Image: Helen Papagiannis wearing the AR Taxali “Money Dress” with Augmented Reality coins viewed on the iPad 2 at Gary Taxali exhibition and event launch, Spoke Club, Toronto, Canada.

Project Description:

The AR Taxali “Money Dress” tells the story of award-winning artist Gary Taxali’s coin designs for the Royal Canadian Mint. When an iPad 2 or iPhone 4 are held up to the dress, AR animations of the coins appear. The dress highlights Taxali’s “Wedding coin”, which Taxali describes as, “symbolizing two people in love and the broad possibilities of marriage in Canada.” When viewed with the AR software on the mobile device or tablet, the silver minted coin Taxali designed comes to life and appears over his black and white drawing of the coin on the dress. The two wedding bands join in an AR animation with text from Taxali describing the inspiration behind the coin.

“Massive Change: The Future of Global Design”, Bruce Mau Design, 2002-2004.

Images: The “Massive Change” touring exhibition and book published by Phaidon Press.

Project Description:

Design has emerged as one of the world’s most powerful forces. It has placed us at the beginning of a new, unprecedented period of human possibility, where all economies and ecologies are becoming global, relational, and interconnected.

In order to understand and harness these emerging forces, there is an urgent need to articulate precisely what we are doing to ourselves and to our world. This is the ambition of “Massive Change”.

“Massive Change” is a celebration of our global capacities but also a cautious look at our limitations. It encompasses the utopian and dystopian possibilities of this emerging world, in which even nature is no longer outside the reach of our manipulation.

For many of us, design is invisible. We live in a world that is so thoroughly configured by human effort that design has become second nature, ever-present, inevitable, taken for granted.

And yet, the power of design to transform and affect every aspect of daily life is gaining widespread public awareness.

No longer associated simply with objects and appearances, design is increasingly understood in a much wider sense as the human capacity to plan and produce desired outcomes. Engineered as an international discursive project, “Massive Change: The Future of Global Design”, maps the new capacity, power and promise of design. It’s not about the world of design, but the design of the world.

These stories were collected into a best-selling book, a radio program and a 20,000 square foot touring museum exhibition that shattered attendance records in Vancouver, Toronto and Chicago. Relationships we developed with the world’s leading innovators to form a community of purpose and expertise.

Helen Papagiannis was brought on as the first member of the “Massive Change” team to work closely with President and CEO Bruce Mau to conceptualize the project, conduct all initial research and design. Helen coordinated and contributed creatively to “Massive Change” from its early inception in 2002 through all phases of design and production to completion in 2004.




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  • About

    Dr. Helen Papagiannis is recognized as a leading expert in the field of Augmented Reality (AR). She has been working with AR for nearly a decade with a focus on storytelling and creating compelling experiences in AR. Dr. Papagiannis was named among the NEXT 100 Top Influencers (#16) of the Digital Media Industry in 2013, and is featured as an innovator in the book, "Augmented Reality: An Emerging Technologies Guide to AR", published in 2013. Her work and research in the field include her past roles as Chief Innovation Officer at Infinity Augmented Reality Inc. (New York City and Tel Aviv), and Senior Research Associate at York University's Augmented Reality Lab in the Department of Film, Faculty of Fine Art (Toronto). She has presented her interactive work and PhD research at global conferences and invited events including TEDx (Technology, Entertainment, Design), ISMAR (International Society for Mixed and Augmented Reality) and ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Art). Dr. Papagiannis's TEDx 2011 talk was featured among the Top 10 Talks on Augmented Reality and Gamified Life. Prior to her augmented life, Dr. Papagiannis was a member of the internationally renowned Bruce Mau Design studio where she was project lead on “Massive Change: The Future of Global Design”, an internationally touring exhibition and best-selling book examining the new inventions, technologies, and events changing the world.
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