How Digital Media and Augmented Reality Change Our Perceptions of Public Spaces

The cameras on our Smarthphones can do much more than take pictures. How digital media and augmented reality change our perception of public spaces is the objective of the DigitAS project. With the participation of the public, it deals with future scenarios for the development and necessary regulation of virtual and augmented realities.

How does a tweet, Facebook post or YouTube video influence our opinion about a public park? And what if we use augmented reality (AR) technologies to receive such messages in real time and on the spot? How would this "augmented reality" change our use of public space, our sense of security, our interaction with others in public space, and thus the cohesion of society? And if we react very emotionally to digital media that represent public spaces positively or negatively, how vulnerable are we to manipulation?

AR changes our perception

We are living in the midst of a spatial revolution in which online and offline worlds are growing together more and more. Digital media are already shaping our perception of spaces, e.g. through navigation systems that structure our geographical reality, through social media that bombard us with photos, videos and comments tagged with cities, restaurants or sights. With the latest leap in augmented reality technology, our perception of space will once again fundamentally change. The research gap on the effects of this development on the individual and society as a whole is large. However, there is a lack of methods to adequately grasp and understand how digital content affects the affective-emotional experience of space. The DigitAS research project - abbreviated to "The Digital, Affects and Space" - aims to develop new methods to address these pressing issues and create the infrastructure for future collaborative research and education in this field.

AR in the park

By selecting two highly controversial public places in Austria as test sites - Rapoldi Park in Innsbruck and Venediger-Au Park in Vienna - DigitAS has brought a much-needed academic perspective to the highly topical debates on security and surveillance of public spaces. Here, the team from the University of Innsbruck developed a new data collection method to make eye tracking usable for research outside the lab in real-world environments.

AR scenarios

Whether a breakthrough application will be developed in the near future that puts AR in the spotlight is uncertain and difficult to estimate. The DigitAS team therefore developed, on the basis of several expert interviews, possible scenarios of how AR could be used in public space in the future: from participatory urban design to innovative wild growth in the creative industry to individual monitoring by tech companies to the control of public opinion, e.g. by states. The scenarios describe interactions and dependencies between technology, politics and society and show political and societal need for intervention.

go!digital

Behind the term "digitisation" lies a series of concepts to make analogue data available for further digital processing - and thus also easy to share with others. This also applies to older text and image material. The Austrian Academy of Sciences supports the development of the humanities with the program go!digital for the third time this year.

Publications

Publications

  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2022). Augmented reality in public spaces. ITA Dossier No.66en (September 2022, Author: Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-066en
  • Riedlinger, D. (2022). Augmented Reality im öffentlichen Raum?. Ita-Newsfeed. Retrieved from https://www.oeaw.ac.at/ita/detail/news/augmented-reality-im-oeffentlichen-raum
  • ITA [Hrsg.],. (2022). Augmented Reality im öffentlichen Raum. ITA Dossier Nr.66 (Juli 2022; Autor: Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes). Wien. doi:10.1553/ita-doss-066
  • Kaufmann, K., Bork-Hüffer, T., Gudowsky, N., Rauhala, M., & Rutzinger, M. (2021). Ethical challenges of researching emergent socio-material-technological phenomena: insights from an interdisciplinary mixed-methods project using mobile eye-tracking. Journal Of Information, Communication And Ethics In Society, Vol. 19, 391-408. doi:10.1108/JICES-01-2021-0007
  • Ess, C., Franzke, A. S., Kaufmann, K., Gudowsky, N., Rauhala, M., Rutzinger, M., et al. (2020). Theoretical and Practical resesarch ethics: three cases. Aoir Selected Papers Of Internet Research, AoIR2020: Panels, 1-11. doi:10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11117
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Conference Papers/Speeches

Conference Papers/Speeches

  • 03/06/2022 , Innsbruck (online)
    Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes,  : 
    DigitAS scenarios – four possible futures of Augmented Reality use in public spaces
    The entanglements of people, materialities and technologies: A joint DigitAS / beYOND workshop
    Other Lecture
  • 06/05/2021 , online
    Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes: 
    Contested meanings in entangled spaces: The in-situ perception of public places by social media users
    4th International Geomedia Conference – Off the Grid
    Other Lecture
  • 30/10/2020 , online
    Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes: 
    Integrating mobile eye-tracking in a mixed methods research design: Ethical standards and practical requirements
    21st Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)
    Other Invited Lecture
  • 25/09/2020 , online
    Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes: 
    How digital media and augmented reality change the perception of public spaces. Presentation of the go!digital Next Generation funded research project "The Digital, Affects and Space (DigitAS)
    dha go!es digital Day 2020
    Other Invited Lecture
  • 05/11/2019 , Bratislava
    Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes: 
    The Digital, Affects and Space: Methodological Advances in Researching the Relation of Augmented Realities, Spatial Perception and Societal Impacts
    4th European Technology Assessment Conference
    Other Lecture
  • 30/08/2019 , London
    Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes: 
    Creative methodologies for researching the socio-spatial impact of augmented urban futures.
    Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers Annual International Conference 2019
    Other Lecture
  • 23/05/2019 , Frankfurt
    Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes: 
    The Digital, Affects and Space (DigitAS)
    DFG-Netzwerktreffen Digitale Geographien
    Other Lecture
  • 17/05/2019 , Innsbruck
    Niklas Gudowsky-Blatakes: 
    The Digital, Affects and Space (DigitAS), Opening Lecture
    Reflections on the Societal Consequences of a Future in Mixed Realities
    Other Lecture
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Duration

04/2019 - 03/2022

Project team

Funding

Partners