A man takes a step off a cliff–only for the cliff to rebuild itself under his foot. He runs up the stairs–only to jog in place. He walks through a door that, at second glance, isn’t even there. Then he pushes on a wall, which falls away and reveals a whole city behind it.
The demonstration, by “mixed reality” studio Theoriz, uses a combination motion-tracking tech and projectors to create mind-bending illusion after mind-bending illusion. We first wrote about the studio last year when it debuted Doors, a digital sculpture that simulated a portal to another world. But its new R&D demo reel blows that out of the water.
Just watching this video’s dizzying, surreal effects makes my stomach churn. And I mean that in both the best and worst possible ways. It’s not about the potential of projectors and motion tracking to build you a Holodeck, not really. What Theoriz is demonstrating is that, as tools like augmented reality become more commonplace in our lives, reality as we know it could not just change, but totally collapse. In this new space, the animator, or graphic designer, will transcend to godlike levels. Breaking out of the five-inch screen, they will become perception designers, terraforming our very worldview, one pixel at a time.
That is, for those of us willing to take the trip.