augmented reality, experience design 

YEAR: 2019
TEAM: Tyra D'Costa, Salisa Jatuweerapong Mahnoor Shahid

Programs: Unity, Vuforia

My role included ideation, visual development, digital asset creation (Unity), installation design, and interaction design. 


AR/VR often unconsciously end up being socially-isolating, sedentary experiences by nature. One phone, one person, and interactions (with game objects or with other players) often are screen-based and virtual (ex. tap on a virtual object on screen, something appears on screen). 


My thought process involved journey-mapping the AR image-tracking user experience, and trying to figure out at what part there could be avenues for interaction. In a paper I'd written on AGO's AR experience ReBlink, I'd argued the immersive magic of the experience came from the fact that the experience started the moment the player picked up the device and entered the app--not just when the digital assets appeared on screen. Realizing the process of finding the tracked images was key

From there, I explored other avenues of manipulating the tracked images: including splitting it apart and having players come together to create the tracked image, and combining two separate tracked images to create one larger tracked image (Tyra's contribution). Upon workshopping it with our mentors we found that having multiple tracked images and using code to determine which ones were detected at the time would be our best bet. 

The core interaction: each player would have a different symbol, and would have to combine their symbol with another player's to unlock the full AR experience. By engineering interactions between players in the real world, our experience immediately became collaborative. 


This idea of creating through collaboration immediately brought the idea of magical girl groups and power-ranger type combined transformations to mind, as well as alchemy. Friendship and teamwork is power and all that good, motivational stuff. 

For example, Sleepless Domain (pictured right) is about a group of magical girls with themed symbols that give each one their powers, and can be combined with other girls for extra-powerful attacks. 


What better mark of eternal friendship than ink on skin? We debated sigils on jewelry as well (pictured below), but settled on custom temporary tattoos and stickers. 

These tattoos act as our tracked images. 


These themes directed our visual design towards a less realistic, more cartoony and fantastical style. The tattoos, designed by Mahnoor (pictured above), are themed around arrows and alchemical circles. 

I created initial sketches (pictured right) and gave input on iterations as it shifted from cosmos to arrows. We wanted the designs to be immediately identifiable as tattoo designs, but have a bit of a mystic, witchy look to them. Tyra created a lore for them: three archers in a fantasy kingdom who must come together to battle evil. 

The three designs are not only themed, but are meant to combine and overlap to create one full design (present on summoning circle). 


Using Unity and Vuforia, each tattoo was separately tracked and the distance between each tattoo was calculated. Once any two tattoos were in proximity, a corresponding "power" would bloom in their mid-point. There were three unique combinations between the tattoos, and players could unlock a fourth "power" if all three were present. 

As well, upon detection of the tattoo, regardless of any others present, the tattoo would shimmer, to indicate its latent potential and urge players to explore interaction with it. 


Keeping in mind that it was a shared experience, we wanted the installation to be hands-free. As well, for a more immersive experience, we laser-cut a glowing "summoning circle" that would indicate where the magic begins. Below are two possible set-ups; we decided on the first one for a larger screen and audience-viewing potential. 

Using Format