I have been studying about AR for about 18 years. When I started this research in 1998, I could not imagine that I would be able to see a practical application with AR. AR is a technology to support human activities in the real world. In fact, the word ‘Augmented Reality’ was born in industrial research as a technology to assist workers in a factory. Currently AR is used in a wide variety of application areas, including entertainment. I think that AR can be used for entertainment appropriately although the concept of AR was not proposed for entertainment.
Now, a question is why AR fits entertainment. In other words, are there any technologies, which do not fit entertainment? Maybe entertainment technology does not refer to the technology itself, but rather a way of applying a technology to entertainment. I would like to talk in-depth about my idea of entertainment technology.
Also, I would like to talk about my idea of entertainment technology research. Is entertainment research important? Probably it depends on the social situation of each country. Here in Japan, I believe that entertainment research is very important now. We can see a lot of entertainment applications and services. A lot of new entertainment content is created. But, I do not think that they always improve the quality of our life. Some of them seem to exhaust users. Of course, this is my subjective impression. But, I believe that one important feature of entertainment is to make users happy or improve the quality of their lives. If you agree, in order to show an advantage of a new entertainment technology we develop, we have to confirm if the new one is better at this point. Is it true? Should we define the criterion to measure quality of human life, human happiness or human experience? I do not agree. We do not need to do that. What we should do is to hold a strong belief in: good human life, a good society, and a good way to live; then, we need to adapt our technology to this belief.
Hirokazu Kato, Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST)
Dr. Hirokazu Kato is a Professor in the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan. He received the B.E., M.E. and Dr. Eng. degrees from Osaka University, Japan in 1986, 1988 and 1996 respectively. He joined the Department of Control Engineering at Osaka University, from 1989 to 1999, where he studied pattern recognition and computer vision. He was also interested in human-computer interaction as an application area of his research. He realized that computer vision can contribute to Augmented Reality as a core technology when he joined the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab) at the University of Washington as a visiting scholar in 1998. During this visit to the HIT Lab, he first met Dr. Mark Billinghurst and started collaborative research with him. In 1999 Dr. Kato joined the Department of Information Machines and Interfaces at Hiroshima City University, Japan. He still continued the collaboration with Dr. Billinghurst and they demonstrated an AR system called ‘Shared Space’ with HIT Lab members at Siggraph 99 Emerging Technologies. Dr. Kato developed a vision-based tracking library for this system which was later named the ARToolKit. Since the Shared Space was popular with many participants and they were also interested in the technology in the system, he decided to open the ARToolKit library source code. The ARToolkit has had a significant impact on the growth of Augmented Reality research. When it was developed there was no easy way for researchers to develop AR tracking and interaction solutions. This library enabled a whole new generation of AR researchers to enter the community. In recognition of the development of the ARToolKit Library, Dr. Kato received Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award from IEEE VGTC in 2009 and Lasting Impact Award at the 11th IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality in 2012. In 2003 Dr. Kato joined the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University. Since 2007 he has been with the Graduate School of Information Science at Nara Institute of Science and Technology. Since developing the ARToolKit, his primary area of research has been Augmented Reality. He has served as a program co-chair for the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) in 2006 and 2007 and a general co-chair for ISMAR 2015. He has also been interested in entertainment computing. He participated in interactive media art projects of Ars Electronica Future Lab, Austria in 2003 and 2004, and contributed to the system development of the projects. He helped Dr. Adrian Cheok establish a new conference on entertainment computing called the International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology (ACE) and served as a program co-chair of ACE in 2004, 2005 and 2006.