Imagining the Future of AR at hARVRd & HUBweek




With technology startups, top universities, innovation labs, and hackathons, why go beyond the Beantown? Next generation tech companies are booming in Boston and making the historical city THE high-tech hub.

From September 25th to October 1st, HUBweek celebrated the future of innovation with a festival that brought together inventive minds behind art, science, and technology. Thought leaders and inventors from around the world came together at Harvard Innovation Labs to collaborate and discuss the disruptive truths about augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). 

AR & VR Inspires Change, Creates Chaos

“The Emerging Worlds of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality” provided killer use cases in how AR/VR will transform and disrupt all industries in their own unique way. An architect who once struggled putting their vision on paper can now put their customer right into a building’s hallway. A movie director can make their viewers actually feel like they’re flying— experiencing the head rush, the speed, and the ability to almost touch the clouds. A surgeon uses image-guided techniques and can perform minimally invasive procedures on their patient. In grade school, a student can actually jump inside a plant’s cell structure and watch photosynthesis take place. A manufacturer can suddenly talk to a product, be told what is malfunctioning, and fix it before it breaks. 

Creation, Innovation, and Exploration 

Products are getting smarter, and now they also have a story to tell. 

Eugene Chung from Penrose Studios explained how he felt after viewing the Oculus prototype for the first time: “VR today is the birth of a new art form; I never thought I’d see the rise of a new art form. I got very excited in what they were talking about. It was mind blowing. (I thought) this could be the next platform. And when I saw VR emerge, I realized this is in fact the next medium of human story telling.”

Victor Gerdes, vice president of Vuforia Studio product management at PTC, joined a panel during the HUBweek #hARVRd event. 

He shared that, “The world has changed; products have become more complex. So as they added more software, we as a company followed our customers. We provide our customers 3D data in a matter of minutes and are helping our customers create the architecture, and operate and service their products. (PTC) is now really moving towards smart, connected products. With our Vuforia technology, a leading edge Augmented Reality platform. If you go to any app store 80% (of the apps) are powered by Vuforia.”

Yesterday’s Imagination, Today’s Invention 

There are endless use cases with the transformative and life-like technology AR and VR brings. It provides a powerful way to communicate information, and it’s ready today. The developers have coded it, the designers have laid it out, and companies recognize its value.

Says Gerdes, “People are going to be creating AR (or VR) experiences they’ve never imagined.”