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Free Baltimore workshop explores VR, other emerging tech

If you’re not planning to spend your weekend chasing digital creatures on your phone, but are still intrigued by the possibilities for innovative art and storytelling created by new technology, we’ve got good news.

There’s a free workshop Saturday, open to all Baltimore residents, that explores how technology such as virtual reality, holograms (not just for Star Trek anymore!) and projection-mapping, which is when images or video are projected onto existing structures like building facades or the inside of a room.

The “Virtual Reality and Emerging Technologies Workshop” is sponsored by the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media at Johns Hopkins University and will be held at the JHU/MICA Film Centre on North Avenue.

Led by a “creative coder” Matthew Ragan, who has a background in acting and dance as well as software engineering, the workshop will begin with an overview of the current field of interactive technology. Participants will then discuss ways that the technology can be used for both small-scale, individual work as well as larger projects that may require a team to execute, and then brainstorm ways to pitch and budget these projects, Ragan told The Daily Record.

Ragan works as an engineer with the San Francisco-based Obscura Digital, which has projected massive digital displays on the sides of buildings such as Kuwait Towers and San Francisco’s City Hall.

It’s sometimes called “augmented architecture,” and it’s a precursor to the sort of augmented reality technology now being widely experienced through a certain monster-catching mobile game.

“This particular field is moving away from the idea that you create media in little rectangular spaces

But the workshop isn’t just for programmers or artists: Ragan says he hopes to draw a broad range of participants.

“I find myself encouraging anyone with an interest in this work to investigate it,” he said. “My hope is it will get a mix.”

More information, including how to register, can be found here.