PhD Student Jing Qian And Adobe Add AR Annotations To Physical Documents


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    Brown CS PhD student Jing Qian (advised by Brown CS Professor Jeff Huang) has been working at Adobe Research to develop a means to bridge the gap between physical and digital documents with augmented reality (AR) technology. His work has culminated in the creation of Dually Noted, which gives users the ability to annotate documents and then view the annotations in real time as an AR overlay over the actual physical document. These annotations can be shared directly and immediately with other users, and users can then view the annotations by simply hovering their phones over the text in question.

    “I really first became interested in this field when I collaborated on my first AR project in the MIT fluid interface group,” Jing explains. “And then I met Jeff at Brown, I found the ideas to be really interesting, and I decided to come work with him.” This has led to Jing specializing in Human Computer Interaction and subsequently joining the HCI Research Group. “Jing has been exploring the area of mixed reality interaction through his PhD,” Jeff says, “and he can build almost anything.”

    But why did HCI appeal so much to Jing? For him, it was the unique opportunity to work at the intersection of design and technology, giving users the ability to unlock the full potential of the tools at their disposal. “In general, if we have a really cool piece of technology, whoever developed it can use it very well,” Jing says, “but for real-life impacts and real-life benefits we need to expose this technology to users. HCI works to provide a really good methodology and systematic set of ways so that the technology can be used by all kinds of people.” 

    Jing brought those ideas of innovation to Adobe, where he played a pivotal role in the design and development of their Dually Noted software. “I noticed that people are shifting to digital document consumption, but at the same time this leads to a loss in the tangible experience of physical mediums,” says Jing. “I wanted to find a way to preserve and combine the physical reading experience and the digital experience.”

    Jing has undoubtedly accomplished a great deal through his work at Adobe, but he has even greater plans for the future. One aspect that especially interests him is the integration of user behavior data with AR. “It would make sense to get user behavior data and actually customize AR interfaces based on their behavior,” he explains, “and I want to continue working on using AR to bridge the gap between technology and its users.”

    You can read other articles about Dually Noted here, here, and here


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