RealViz and NGRAIN at InsideAR Tokyo 2014Recently, I had the pleasure of going to Tokyo (Akihabara) to attend the InsideAR conference, where I was an invited speaker (title: Under the Hood of Augmented Reality Deployment), as well as a panelist (title: How Does the Future of AR Look Like). NGRAIN also had a booth at InsideAR Tokyo.

Anand Dibble over at Brainberry Global‘s blog did a great, two-part review of the conference. You can read his thoughtful take on the talks and technologies on display at InsideAR Tokyo here and here.

What I’d like to reflect on in this post is the importance of being able to augment, in a way, your AR presentations and product demos in places where language or culture barriers can make it hard to communicate directly. The staff of NGRAIN’s long-time Japanese partner, Realviz, was absolutely essential in making this event a success for us precisely for this reason. They were able to skillfully “augment” my presentation with Japanese translation and add detail and meaning to my interactions with the InsideAR Tokyo attendees. I heard some positive feedback after the talk, and I feel some of the messages got through.

At the booth, I felt it always best to leave the demos and explanations to Realviz, as the connection of the (Japanese) spoken communication and understanding of the (Japanese) culture are so crucial. I was mainly there to support, and provide technical answers whenever needed. The importance of having good partners who understand and support your company and products can’t be overstated….

3D-printed_Pump

In terms of augmenting the product demos, we were in a bit of a quandary because we wanted to show the P-100 pump as the equipment for the markerless, augmented reality app, but we did not intend on shipping the large, heavy, live-sized P-100 to the event. We experimented with a number of alternatives, and we eventually landed on 3D printing a miniature P-100 that can be hand-carried on my flight to Tokyo. The miniature P-100 did its job remarkably for the AR app, and was one of the interesting talking topics at the event. We have printed a few more miniature P-100’s since then.

Since I was in town, I looked up an old friend at Toho University, and he invited me to give a talk (title: Volume Graphics & Augmented Reality – What’s the Connection?). In this talk, I introduced our usage of volume graphics and AR in industrial uses towards on-the-field support, and their connections in terms of content creation, verification of equipment states, and platform support.

Overall, this was a very busy but rewarding trip. I enjoyed the discussions and giving the talks at InsideAR, and am happy to make new friends at InsideAR, Realviz and Toho University. The Akihabara shops are pretty impressive too (lots of electronics)!