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XRDC speaker Q&A: Charles Yust on the potential of interactive AR exhibits

Charles Yust, principal design technologist at frog, gives a preview of his upcoming XRDC talk about the power of interactive AR exhibits in museums.

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

September 24, 2018

4 Min Read

Augmented reality has proven not just an incredible tool for game design, but also healthcare technology, factory management tech, and more. But according to XRDC speaker Charles Yust, it's also a great way to get museum visitors excited about the arts. 

At XRDC 2018, Yust will be taking the stage to discuss his work with frog design on the Magritte Interpretive Gallery at SFMOMA (which you can visit right now!) To learn more about making AR projects for museums, we reached out to Yust for a quick Q&A about his work, which you can now read below. 

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about immersive games & entertainment, brand experiences, and innovative use cases across industries.

Tell us about yourself and your work in VR/AR/MR.
I am a Principal Design Technologist at frog design and lead our AR/VR technology capability. frog is a design and innovation consultancy that has been around since designing PCs for Apple in the early ‘80s. In addition to physical product design, we have grown to encompass design strategy and designing digital experiences on behalf of our clients globally across many verticals. Our XR practice reflects our diverse clientele and I have personally worked on a HoloLens MR maintenance application leveraging Edge networking for a global Telecom, led the development of the first IKEA Place AR prototype ahead of the announcement of ARKit at WWDC 2017, and led a team that created a low cost HW/SW solution for burn patients (and developed the software experience), among others. We have leveraged XR in other interesting ways including using it during the design process for research and prototyping, and showcasing physical and digital product design at scale for clients. We don’t get the opportunity to talk about it very often given our confidentiality agreements, but I am excited to share some of our past work at XRDC.

Without spoiling it too much, tell us what you’ll be talking about at XRDC.
I will dive most deeply into our collaboration with SFMOMA and how we conceived of, designed, and built the Magritte Interpretive Gallery (still viewable through the end of October). It is an immersive space that leverages AR to bring Magritte’s paintings to life and turn visitors into participants using only their presence and motion. Interpreted a certain way, many of Magritte’s paintings include notions of AR decades before it was technically feasible to implement, so I will describe how we drew heavily on his work and worked closely with the curators. 
I also hope to speak to some of frog’s recent work in XR. 

What excites you most about AR/VR/MR?
I think the most exciting thing for me is that it feels like we are still at the very early stages of what XR technology and experiences will eventually become. I just finished Jaron Lanier’s book “Dawn of the New Everything” and enjoyed the way he described some of this technology as having the potential to be more closely connected to, and representative of, the people inhabiting and using it than other digital experiences we engage in today. 

Who would you like to meet at XRDC?
I am just excited to take it all in and absorb as much as possible. 

How do these museum immersive design projects scale for days when museums are full of crowds?
We had some idea of the numbers of people that would be allowed through the exhibition and immersive space since it is a special exhibition and there are limits due to fire codes and whatnot. That said we strived to make the experience function whether there were dozens of people in the space or just one person. Practically, because visitors don’t need to use a device or headset to engage the experience has meant that it has scaled well when used by large numbers of people simultaneously. Experientially, I think people have fairly different experiences depending on how crowded it is, people relate to engage strangers more or less and the time they linger will vary as well. 

XRDC is the premier conference for augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality innovation, produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference. Subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

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About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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