OK... the title. AR changes so quickly that a list of any sort of "avante-garde" will be outdated in an embarrassingly short time. When I made this "State of the ARt 2018 " list for my presentations at HK PolyU, I had to make additions to it a day or two after it went up...and then I just moved on.
However, in the past few months, and especially in the past few days, I have seen some very cool ideas, and simply want to share them. I saw these at the ARIA conference at MIT, the Virtual Hackathon at MIT, at SXSW, and as a result of my own research. I recently spent time in Shenzhen, and saw some cool things, but they weren't AR. I did write this.
Except for Bose and Leo, I haven't experienced any of the following...
6dai (I've known about them for a while, but they seem to release interesting updates very often)
<sneak preview 1> We love creativity at @6d_ai - here’s what our amazingly creative engineers can do at a music festival. Find people & segment them *in real-time on a phone* (and color them red!). Sets us up for believable occlusions & mixed reality in real world scenes pic.twitter.com/rpG7xGbUul— Matt Miesnieks (@mattmiesnieks) April 15, 2019
If you are interested in my AR experiences and much more, click here.
I would love to jump into other AR projects, as a producer, writer, visual artist or sound/music producer.
Oh yeah... no one has paid me for any of the listings. I am doing something with Novaby, but the Black Hawk AR project is something special; I would mention it regardless of my involvement with Novaby.
Stephen Black is a music/TV/VR producer, writer, visual artist and entrepreneur who is currently focused on AR, specifically a character called Bubiko Foodtour. Bubiko, a co-production with Sayuri Okayama, is blazing trails and creating networks that will result in new, as-of-now-unpredictable projects, as well as planned projects for the Dundercats, Secret Donut World and the Doughbots. Bubiko is being brought to life in 3D by the magicians at Novaby. This link emphasizes Stephen's AR activities in 2019, including his presentation at the ARIA event at MIT. (Bubiko's Instagram.)
Involvement with AR and VR began in 2016, with the release of the Oculus. Stephen, with Sayuri Okayama, began a nomadic research tour of Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Shenzhen; the topics being Southeast Asian food and AR/VR startup ideas. Eventually, connections with food and drink producers will result in an online sales channel.
During this journey, called the Bubiko Orwell Tour, Stephen kept notes and began writing for a work in progress book called Alphabet Spikes. Also during this time, Bubiko published an ebook of photographs about Ipoh, Malaysia. Also, Stephen gave presentations about AR at the Sasin School of Business (Bangkok), Hong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong Maker's Faire and at TechCrunch Shenzhen.
Virtual Reality + other movies +
Beach Road (2015) was written by, and stars, Stephen, who also co-produced with Hiverlab. Featured at VR festivals in Brisbane, Las Vegas and Singapore.
SPOKEN (2011)A downloadable virtual gallery, created by Eugene Soh and curated by Stephen. Features a great variety of artists, from internationally famous to unknown.
When I started to write books, I also decided I would do no marketing until I'd written eight books. That time for marketing is here, but at the moment AR comes first. This blog post may interest those who wonder what happens when you don't do marketing. You may be surprised.
Using the MonjaKids Creative Development Kit, Black taught all ages, including elementary school students, university students and weekend classes at the Singapore Science Center.
The Monja Kids CDK featured about 200 commands, allowing professional gamemakers to creat complex games. However, in the classes, only the basic commands were used.
In 2019, Black conducted two workshops and two presentations about AR. In Singapore he taught 3D gamemaking and classes in poetry performance. Black has taught English in Japan. Classes in writing and self-publishing are planned as part of the ARphabet Tour.
Xylophone and organ lessons as a child. In Rochester, photographed and videoed Personal Effects, now Margaret Explosion. In Manhattan, created videos and occasionally performed with Faculty Party.
In Singapore, Black worked frequently with Amith Narayan, musician and head of High on Chai Productions. The two cofounded 3how and co-produced the Riverwalk Session album. 3how was an improvisational music/theatre project that played the Night Festival, the LitUp Festival and the Red Dot Museum. An opera, Big Homer, based on a story by Black was performed. Some of the many talents involved with 3how: Wilson Goh, Justin Bannister, Kala Charan, Dave D'aranjo, Richard Lord and Roman Tarasov .
Birth - 2002
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Stephen received his Associate's Degree at the University of Toledo, then went on to Rochester Institute of Technology, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Photographic Illustration.
He then moved to Brooklyn/Manhattan where he worked at Young Filmakers/Video Arts, was in Faculty Party, an operatic band utilizing theatre, phase patterns and rock. Black participated in the Lower East Side Art scene to the fullest. It was here that he became friends, with, among many people, Toyo Tsuchiya. He interviewed Toyo as part of documentation of the LES, and in particular, the legendary No Se No/Rivington School art scene.
1984: Japan. Art, teaching English, photographing, videoing. Finally met, and became life-long friends with Stelarc. Documented, with photography and video, Kazuo Ono, the co-founder of butoh. An art space with Barae, a performer/dancer. Collaborations of all kinds. Work for Sony, Suntory, ABC News, MTV and Philip Morris. Assisted Annie Liebovitz when she came to Tokyo for a monthlong American Express Shoot. This post is about Black's experiences in the Tokyo music scene. It is part of the Unlocking With Ears series that also talks about Singapore, Hong Kong and New York.
In 1994, Black spent the year in Manhattan, working for Fuji TV on the NYGO edutainment series, produced by Cannes award-winning director Toshio Uruta. Writing, producing and directing, Black worked with a number of American and Japanese acting talents, as well as some of New York's funniest comedy writers, including contributors to Saturday Night Live.
1995: Hong Kong. The Handover to China, employed as a promo producer for Cartoon Network and TNT, now called Turner Classic Movies.Art projects continued in the form of exhibitions and Noon, an art space in Black's apartment on Hollywood Road. In 1996 Black traveled to WuTang Shan in China, almost immediately after going to Tokyo to document the Tokyo "tour" of Yamo, a project by Kraftwerk drummer Wolfgang Flür. Black also produced two successful tours by Sadato, a Japan-based band led by Sadato (now Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi), an Iranian sax player/vocalist.
1998- 2001: Tokyo, on air promo producer for News Broadcast Japan, the six channels set up by Fox. Was responsible for hiring, purchasing equipment and co-ordinating with sales and marketing teams.
2001-2002. Tokyo: Exhibitions. Wrote the Agaricus blazei Murrill Notebook, the first book on the gourmet and medicinal mushroom. Also produced and directed Kiss, starring Japanese legendary actress Kumiko Akiyoshi. Pioneering, in that it was one of the first movies on the internet, it received over three million views in its first three months. Later, Black was director of photography on Bubu Again, Akiyoshi's debut as a feature length film director. In 2002, Black moved to Singapore to work as creative director for WalkerAsia/Compudia a visionary gamemaking/user generated content company established by Akihiko Seki.
Stephen Black, writer, producer and Toledo native, returns to his hometown to talk about Augmented Reality (AR). AR is a new technology now making an impact upon education, art, medicine, industry and entertainment.
The presentation is for a general audience (including children) and is based upon the best of Stephen's presentations from universities across Southeast Asia, as well as MIT. Come on down and meet Bubiko Foodtour, the Dundercats and a few other surprise guests. Toledo is the second stop of the ARphabet Tour http://www.blacksteps.tv/
Thursday, January 31: 7-8PM An Introduction to AR
CANCELLED BECAUSE OF THE COLD...Stop by on Friday, Saturday or Monday!
Augmented Reality is the technology in which digital words or objects are combined with the real world. Pokemon Go is the most famous example of AR. If you watch sports, you will often see information or diagrams overlaid on the game, especially in football. AR requires a phone, tablet or a new device called smartglasses. Soon, Facebook and Apple will make AR smartglasses.
This presentation includes examples of AR, as well as its history. Present and upcoming uses of AR in education, art, medicine and industry are shown. www.blacksteps.tv
Friday, February 1 2-3:45 An Introduction to Self-Publishing and the books of Stephen Black
One of Stephen Black's books, I Ate Tiong Bahru, is a bestseller in Singapore, and all have achieved critical acclaim. In this presentation his books as well as insights into self-publishing and Amazon are presented.
Saturday, February 2 2-3:15 In Search of the Ultimate Mango Sticky Rice
Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama recently toured Southeast Asia, researching food for book and augmented reality projects. In this talk, mango sticky rice, the popular dessert, is discussed in terms of geography, culture, economics and nutrition.
Monday, February 46-7:15 The ARphabet Tour: Augmented Reality, Self-publishing and Mango Sticky Rice!
Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama traveled through Southeast Asia in
2017/18, researching food, writing books and networking with Augmented
Reality companies,artists and researchers. This presentation, suitable
for all ages, features the highlights of that two-year journey.
All events will be held at the Washington Branch Public Library, 5560 Harvest Lane.
Bubiko Foodtour will appear in short entertaining AR movies full of food information. The lessons and networks resulting from Bubiko's experiences will be applied to other characters: The Dundercats (specializing in music education), The Doughbots (fun characters who promote basic math and reading skills) and Secret Donut World, a collection of whimsical characters and objects created by David Severn(UK/Japan). These original characters, stories and, eventually, software, will result in a company with the potential to become the Pixar of AR.
Revenue: freemium business model with in-app purchases, character and software licensing, digital products, physical objects like books, clothing, toys and kitchen supplies.
Additionally, Bubiko now has a database of waiting-to-be discovered SE Asian food products suitable for food lovers worldwide.
These years of research have resulted in a strong personal and professional international network: programmers, journalists, podcasters, foodies, websites, galleries, digital marketing specialists, food producers, restaurant and hotel owners; as well as personal connections with AR-related companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Magic Leap, Line, Alibaba, Tencent, Kabaq and Facebook. These connections, as well as social media and online campaigns, will be activated once technical and business plans milestones are secured.
Note: At present, more than a billion devices (Apple and Android) allow users to easily enjoy Bubiko and friends. However, all movies/activities include an awareness of the possibilities offered by AR glasses and smartglasses.
Additionally developments in SLAM, meshmapping, IoT, persistent experiences, 5G etc. are being closely monitored. Facebook and Apple are among several companies planning to release AR wearables in the near future.
Upcoming AR projects like Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, and a Harry Potter AR game will increase AR awareness/the number of AR users. The phenomenal success of Pokemon Go continues, it has been downloaded over 100 million times on Google Play alone, and generated more than 300 million dollars, including in-app purchases.
Status as of January 20, 2019
Encouraging developments have occurred since the project began, but two workshops and presentations at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in June 2018 were the start of extreme public and professional interactions and possibilities:
- presentations at The Hong Kong Makers Faire
- presentation at Le Wagon Shenzhen, a bootcamp school for coders
- invited to pitch to VCs at TechCrunch Shenzhen
- establishment of a personal network in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, including makers, government bodies, digital marketers, distributors and designers.
Feedback on the physical appearance of Bubiko has been very encouraging. A Bubiko 3D model will soon be created, and used to create standardized 2D versions.
Bubiko has made an ebook about the food of Ipoh Malaysia, available on Amazon. She is currently compiling notes for a food guide to Shenzhen. are no comparable books; additionally the book introduces the different provinces of China.
The Dundercats characters, a partnership with Six Cat Studios, are now being made in 3D, in addition to merchandising and real world musical instruction activities. Scripts and story ideas are being refined for both Secret Donut World and The Doughbots; they presently exist in 2D only.
Postproduction will continue on Lotus Mountain, a 360VR movie shot in Shenzhen, using 8K cameras supplied by Kandao. Although Bubiko is not featured, the finished film will result in beneficial publicity. A previous VR 360 film, Beach Road,was featured at festivals in Singapore, Brisbane and Las Vegas.
Time spent in Shenzhen resulted in numerous contacts and possibilities,one being the bundling of Bubiko and the Doughbots into tablets made for children.
We're waiting 'til the day we have budget and a coder or two, so that Bubiko can walk and talk... For now, we sketch and improvise.. like this.
Currently bootstrapping, they have established a worldwide network of collaborators, and look forward to speaking with potential partners of any kind, including investors and VCs.
Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama aim to be the Pixar of location-based AR: original characters, stories and software.
Stephen’s “unicorn”, a separate AR project, can be discussed by appointment.
Stephen is a bestselling writer, has a degree in Photographic Illustration and is an established visual artist. As a producer, he has worked in theatre, butoh, music (3how) and network television (Fuji TV, Fox, CNN and Cartoon Network).
Sayuri has extensive research in the travel industry, and conducts research related to all aspects of the startup. More biographical information at the end of this document.
The Bubiko Orwell Tour 2017/8 Stephen and Sayuri: digital nomads in SE Asia, planning AR/VR/MR, building a network, sourcing distinctive air-freightable food products, and researching food/culture. Attended Rise (“the largest and most exciting tech conference in Asia” – Forbes), HK Book Fair, Ani-Com and Games Expo HK, Supercharger Fintech Incubator Year in Review event (HK),Thailand Design Week and Amazon AWS events.
Participation: HK Food Hackathon, Ipoh Malaysia Tourism Rebranding campaign.
Presentations: Ipoh, Malaysia, Sasin School of Business (Bangkok), HK PolyU, Hong Kong MakerFaire, TechCrunch and Le Wagon (Shenzhen).
Alphabet Spikes is the book Stephen is writing about the tour. www.blacksteps.tv/
Three separate components: AR, Books/Writing and the Mango Sticky Rice Experience
Beginning with ARIA@MIT, the 100 day tour now includes stops in Phoenix, at SXSW(Austin) and the Game Developers Conference (San Francisco), as well as NYC, Washington DC, and the Chicago/Detroit area.
A combination of deliciousness, AR, and food culture! Inspired by Bubiko Foodtour’s favorite food! Featuring real mangos, as well as an AR version of mango sticky rice created by Kabaq, the leaders in augmented reality food applications. More information here.
Bubiko Foodtour (current model is a work in progress)
Bubiko is a little chef from Thailand. Her catchphrase is “aroi mak mak”, the Thai phrase for ‘very delicious’. Knowledgeable about all food, especially that of Southeast Asia, Bubiko is entertaining and informative.
On a technical level, Bubiko is a flagship for our other characters. We have plans to use SLAM and IoT to create cinematic, educational and entertaining table top experiences.
On a commercial level, Bubiko branding and merchandising possibilities are being explored, including, with a tablet manufacturer, bundling Bubiko AR experiences and her favorite recipes.
The Bubiko Orwell Tour resulted in the discovery of numerous local, often organic, food products suitable for international food fans, as well as tea and coffee lovers. An area of exploration is a Bubiko brand/marketing channel.
Bubiko is a guest star in an ARkit/Unity game demo featuring Green Bean Boy.
Created by Stephen Black and David Severn(UK/Japan), the Secret Donut World characters combine David’s wit with Stephen’s ideas on spatial computing. David is an internationally exhibited visual artist/painter and his work has been published in numerous Japanese magazines, children’s books and travel publications.
Another Severn/Black collaboration, the Doughbots will teach basic spelling and math skills in a fun and interactive way. (Designed for SLAM, spatial recording; with accompanying book).
Bubiko Foodtour is a character created by Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama. Bubiko is a little chef from Thailand who loves mango sticky rice. She is very knowledgeable about food, especially the foods of Southeast Asia. Her favorite phrase is "Aroi mak mak".
As I write this, on January 1, there are no definite dates, but Rochester is likely in February. Wherever you are, let's talk and plan. Although professional and corporate possibilities may be part of the tour; its primary function is to create a network of people who would like to see AR used for entertainment and education.
Simply, get in touch and we will do our best to bring the ARphabet to you and your organization.
Created by Six Cat Studios, the Dundercats combine entertainment, music education and the history of classical music. With experience with major public events (mainly concerts) and merchandising projects, the Dundercats are a welcome addition to the ARphabet Tour!
The Six Cat Studios team: Aniela and Stuart. Aniela is an accomplished violinist and well-music educator. Stuart has produced and edited for major television networks, in addition to his own independent projects.
Do subscribe to this blog as the ARphabet Tour presents ideas and demos on how the Dundercats will provide music lessons in AR.