Expertise

Expertise

 

Thank you for taking an interest in my work.

Considering what is available to the general public, I believe we're barely getting started exploring the possibilities of interactive solutions and how they may benefit and improve the lives of people all over the world. Below, I'll present the type of work I do today followed by what is just around the corner and finally a couple of interesting visions of what the future may hold.

Virtual Exploration

 

A key component of interactive experiences is freedom of movement. Giving users the opportunity to discover, explore and experience an environment or a product at their own leisure is surely a far more engaging way of making a sale than simply displaying images or a movie. I have no doubt that virtual reality will become an important tool in the architectural industry. There's a lot to be gained through immersion – just imagine stepping into your new house and having a look around before it's even built.

We're not quite there yet, but the cost of making an interactive visualisation is going down as technology improves and many tasks are automated.

Today, virtual exploration is very much like a computer game, using a keyboard and mouse or controller to navigate. It's also possible to create an inexpensive virtual window using a tablet with a built-in gyroscope that allows the user to look around by moving the tablet.

Augmented Reality

 

AR is essentially a way of overlaying data on a video feed. Usually, some kind of marker is used to track the position and orientation needed to anchor the data in 3D space. Further explanation is available here.

Currently, the solution I prefer is using natural feature tracking. Instead of custom black and white markers, the targets can be images or photographs. It's also possible to track simple objects like a box (product packaging) or a cylinder (cans, bottles, cups).

I recently used this technology to create an AR experience for TV2's christmas calendar: "Tvillingerne og julemanden" running on smartphones and tablets. The user is able to move the phone close to the surface without losing tracking because the calculations are based on details in the drawing. Once the app recognises the calendar, buttons pop up for the user to press, making an animated character appear and tell a story or a joke.

AR has a lot of potential beyond entertainment – especially once we're able to track more complex objects.

Interactive Presentation

 

Flyers, brochures, catalogs and traditional media such as images and movies used to take up a lot of space, but with an interactive presentation we can have all of this media and even add interactive 3D graphics in a slick presentation package. There's no need for huge binders with technical details or specifications – everything is contained within a single app.

An interactive presentation also introduces new possibilities such as product configuration or training. If the data is available, apps can be made that allow the user to disassemble a product or interact with a simulation of how it behaves in the real world. Clients could be taught how to use a product in an interactive environment guided by a detailed tutorial using different media such as voice overs, motion graphics or animations.

Tablets were made for apps like these and any product manufacturer could benefit.

Games

 

Connecting with customers, getting them involved or even just getting them to acknowledge that your product exists in our modern, fast-paced world is difficult and more important than ever in order to succeed in any business.

Launching a new product or updating an old one, games can be a powerful marketing tool. The concept isn't really new – I remember playing games in the 90s developed to market different products. Today however, it's possible to reach a much larger audience and more importantly, it's possible to get them to care about a product using game design. Maybe there's an opportunity to use the product as the protagonist in a game, maybe it's better used as the goal players want to achieve or even as a means to reach said goal. The possibilities are endless and with a little creativity, any product can be turned into gameplay.

Games are also useful in learning environments which is an area that I've had a special interest in for many years. Capturing the imagination of children, getting them involved and engaged in their studies by not just reading and writing, but also experiencing, exploring and creating knowledge could make a real difference in the world. Not only are we able to help those who have difficulty learning through traditional means, I'm certain we're also able to improve upon existing methods and challenge those who will take us into the future.

 

Peter Hou

The Future

I've collected a few movies below that inspire me personally as well as represent what I believe are indicators of the direction interactive applications are moving in. Especially virtual reality products such as the Oculus Rift are set to make a breakthrough very soon and I'm definitely looking forward to the leap in immersion and what possibilities they may hold for future interactive experiences. Please enjoy and thanks for reading.

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