A Dystopia AR Dining Scene (Final Version is EDIBLE)
Future Dining is an augmented reality project represents the future dining after all foods went extinct.
Explore the way to apply a video sculpture to actual scenarios, make it not only a screen-based piece but also a project that cares about the context and links the analog environment to the digital world.
TIME: Apr. 15 – May.1 2019 | 2 Weeks

TEAM: Individual school project

ROLE: AR design and development

TOOL: Unity, Vuforia
The Story (Sound On recommended)

2.Design Goals Set Up
Design & Prototyping

1. Content Design
2. Materials and AR Testings

1. Programming in Unity
2. Fabrication

1. Audio Design
2. Scenic Design
Ideation and Conceptualization
The concept behind the project is to reveal a pathetic truth that human beings are ruining the environment, but people are also too good at adaptation to realize that what they’ve done was sometimes irretrievable. The project will represent a very delightful but common future dining scene as an ironic way to exaggerate the unconsciousness of human being regarding environmental issues.
Design and Prototyping — How Iterations Happened
Design: Target Design — Why cubes?
As I imagine, if all vegetables and living stocks went extinct in the future, all food will be made of artificial ingredients and compressed into cube for efficiency.
Design: Content Design in Unity
1. The Lake, the Forest and the Farm: three scenes were chosen to represent different food production environment and were made in a low-poly style in Unity.

2. Animations: animations and movements were scripted in C++ and applied to certain animals, plants or architecture in order to make the scene more vivid.
Prototyping: Materials Chosen
1st Materials: 3D Print + Stickers for AR testing use

As the first prototype that I had, the 3D printed cube covered with printed images worked  as the multi- image target object for the AR testing.
2nd Materials: Acrylic + Card Board

The second target object was made of acrylic to represent the idea of modern and future. The color contract makes it suitable for image recognition; however, it also made the cube less like food.
3rd Materials: Jello + Edible rice paper

The final project was made of jello, and the patterns were printed on editable rice papers with editable ink. Which is great for performance and one-day exhibition, but not suitable for long-term exhibition considering the food preservation.
Development in Unity — Occlusion Effects
Development: AR Development and Testings
1st Testing: Image Tracking

As the first rough cube target 3d printed, I started to work with Vuforia and messed around with its target image tracking, but the stickers were not working well by this time.

Besides, I found the position of light source needed to be adjusted, too.
2nd Testing: Occlusion Effect

After I did the 1st demo, I started to think about ways to make the visual effect more related to the theme. In order to make the food introducing its own original living environment ironically, I decided on the occlusion effect by fading the surfaces of the cube when the scenes popup in the cube.
3rd Testing: Adjusting Occlusion Effect

Since the transparency of the surfaces were not satisfying, I tried to modify my previous script to make sure the inner and outer layers of the “opaque cube” were attached to the target cube model perfectly and the timing of hiding the target model was exactly the same as showing the “opaque cube” with animated scenes. This time the occlusion effect did work better.
Development: Fabrication and “Cooking”
Pattern Design

Complex but abstract patterns: the complexity of the pattern can help the image targets to be better detected, and the abstraction can help to better deliver the idea of future dining scene.
3D Model

When running the 3d print testing, one of the cube models was built and printed. However, the 3d printed model didn’t work well. This model was served as a reference when pasting rice papers on the surfaces of the jello cubes.
Jello Cubes + Rice Paper

For the two-day ITP Spring Show 2019, I decided to make the future food cubes more realistic looking and feeling. By cooking the jello at home and printing patterns with edible ink on rice papers, the cubes themselves became actually edible.  
Presentation — Audios and Shows
Presentation: Audio Content Design
Lake Scene: Garlic Butter Trout

“Crispy and delicious pan-fried fish fillet with garlic butter sauce. Trout had a mild and delicate taste, with a perfect texture for fish recipes. Trout used to be found in cool, clear streams and lakes. They were distributed naturally throughout North America, northern Asia and Europe.”
Farm Scene: Whole Wheat Fettuccini with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes, Spring Onion, Red Pepper and Feta cheese

“Original crops were processed in farms, which were areas of land that was devoted primarily to agricultural processes with the primary objective of producing food.”
Forest Scene: Mixed Wild Mushroom Pasta with Black Truffles

“Truffles were ectomycorrhizal fungi and are therefore usually found in close association with tree roots. These fungi have significant ecological roles in nutrient cycling and drought tolerance.”
Presentation: Scenic Design
Presentation: ITP Spring Show 2019
After five weeks of testing and pivoting, I finally put everything together. The targets themselves were edible, setting up in a dining scene aside with an iPad that can be used to experience future dining. Augmented reality animations and audios will be triggered once the targets are detected.

This project was selected to be presented at the ITP Spring Show 2019, a two-day exhibition of recent creative interactive projects created by the students of ITP and IMA. I had the opportunity to show industry professional as well as friends and families what we’ve been up to at school. Over two days, around eight hours of opening time, I welcomed more than two hundred guests experiencing and interacting with this project from gallerists to artists, high school students to advertising veterans.

This project was also selected to be showcase at NYC Media Lab Annual Summit 2019 on September 26.
Thanks for making it here
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