Cyril Diagne’s Peculiar Use of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) doesn’t always get a good rap.

By Alex Czetwertynski

I can see two reasons for that.  First it often seems like those in charge of designing AR interfaces and characters are stuck in some past interpretation of the candy packages of their youth, or, too stymied by the technical limitations of the platform, by low res video games.The second reason for AR’s poor adoption is that it doesn’t really “do” much.  Often designed as a gimmick, it provides very little real value, at least in comparison to the effort it takes to bring the thing to life.


Neither of these concerns apply to the work of Cyril Diagne, an award winning artist, programmer and designer based in Paris.  Diagne studied at the renowned Gobelins school in Paris, and became a teacher at the equally prestigious ECAL design school in Switzerland, where he was the head of Media and Interaction Design. A few years later he moved back to Paris where he started a residency at the Google Cultural Institute Lab, known for being the origin of Google Cardboard and a variety of other tech driven cultural projects that have ended up living in a variety of googly ecosystems.

Diagne demoing his “Face Doodle” experiment

In the last few months, Diagne started a series of “AR Copy Paste” projects, leveraging machine learning techniques and the evolution of open source platforms to create tools that literally copy chunks of reality from one place to another, using your phone. Copy a perfectly cut-out image of your desk plant to your Photoshop document?  No problem.  Grab visuals from a poster and place them in a portfolio or presentation? Easy.  

The great thing about Diagne’s work is that it is technically smooth, but also designed and presented with elegance and simplicity, which is refreshing and a rare mark of quality.  All of the work is open sourced, even if it might not be for the faint of heart.  An app is in demo mode and can be requested here.


Diagne is definitely someone to keep an eye on, easily done by following him on Twitter here

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