Tuesday 12pm, 12 May 2015

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Augmented Realism through Relevant Minimalism

Alex Olwal

Interaction Researcher - Google


Augmented Reality (AR) merges virtual information with a real environment for intuitive and direct user interfaces. I will give an overview of our research projects that emphasize a seamless blend of the digital and physical. We leverage exotic displays, sensing and context, to register digital content with the environment and to support rich interactions. Our goal is to render less, with every pixel being relevant, dynamic and grounded in the space. This is one of our key philosophies for enhancing the human senses and capabilities through minimal, yet highly relevant augmentations, that embrace the realism of our physical world. Our projects include novel interaction techniques, see-through displays, sensing technologies, immaterial user interfaces, and dynamic shape displays.


Alex Olwal (Ph.D., M.Sc.) is an Interaction Researcher at Google, Affiliate Faculty at KTH, and Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab. Alex designs and develops interactions and technologies that embrace digital and physical experiences. He is interested in tools, techniques and devices that enable new interaction concepts for the augmentation and empowerment of the human senses. Alex's research ( includes augmented reality, spatially aware mobile devices, medical user interfaces, ubiquitous computing, touch-screens, as well as novel interaction devices and displays. He has previously worked with the development of new technologies for Human-Computer Interaction at MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), KTH - Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), Columbia University (NY), University of California (Santa Barbara, CA) and Microsoft Research (Redmond, WA). At Google, Alex conducts applied research and development of novel and exotic input and output mechanisms for wearables, and explore associated interaction techniques. Alex's goal is to expand expressiveness while avoiding interference with user's experience of the physical reality.