Ferry Piekart (1974) is a writer and has worked many years as storyteller for museums. In 2010 he was one of the initiators of UAR: an AR application showing architectural designs in major cities in The Netherlands. The app (based on a white label version of the Layar engine) showed lifesize 3D buildings from the past and the future, as well as alternative designs for existing buildings. After that, he was involved in a few more augmented museum experiences. In 2014, Ferry was one of the speakers at the first edition of ARVR Innovate. He showed examples of UAR and also had an dinosaur appear in the audience. Currently, he is working as a speech writer for the minister of Social Affairs in The Netherlands and is writing audio tours for Amsterdam Light Festival, Paleis Het Loo, Rijksmuseum Boerhaave and other musea. He is also an Apple watcher, writing a monthly newsletter for Apple enthusiasts in The Netherlands.
AR in 2010: driving a carriage without a horse
In 2010 I was surfing the hype cycle. Working on one of the very first AR-apps for smartphones at the Netherlands Architecture Institute, we made headlines all over the place. I was aware of the Peek of Inflated Expectations we were about to face. I knew the Trough of Disillusionment would be next. I even talked about this, at conferences like MuseumNext and ARVR Innovate. But the Slope of Enlightenment was on the horizon, and I was pretty sure that I was already a bit ahead of that.
It’s 13 years later now. UAR no longer exists. Google Glasses were promising for only a short period of time. Bose invested in AR audio glasses – and quit the business before anyone ever used one. The last time I suggested an AR experience to a museum, they opted for a traditional audio tour. The Trough of Disillusionment is much deeper than I thought. There is still blinking something on the horizon though. May be we were just way ahead of technology. Or is it worse, and didn’t we understand in 2010 what AR really was all about? Did we create experiences that were much like the first cars: carriages without horses – but not really cars yet?