Two years ago, Dropbox commissioned her for a mural at its Seattle office. It's got the same signature style she uses in the Facebook project -- lots of blue and white swatches of paint, like jumbled up Morse code. Airbnb and Facebook's rival Snap also bought paintings from her for their headquarters. So when it came time for Facebook to make a move into creating modern art, the company commissioned Day. (She won't say how much Facebook paid her.). Facebook brought a big camera rig into Day's studio to capture her painting.
The whole iphone screen protector or not project took two weeks in April -- leading right up to F8, Much of the process was meeting with Facebook engineers and designers to figure out what she wanted to create and visiting the corner of Facebook headquarters that would become her invisible mural, Facebook's engineers created a 3D computer-generated model of the space so they could map out how her artwork would interact with the environment, Then, a crew of a half dozen people piled into Day's apartment, with a huge camera rig, to record her as she painted, With the camera positioned overhead, she'd make a brushstroke on a large piece of canvas in the middle of the room, then quickly move out of the way, Then she'd tilt and shoo the canvas, or splash water on the paint, so the camera captured the movement, That allowed the paint and animation to show up when you look at the wall through your phone's camera..
"I've been thinking about how attached everyone is to their phones," says Day, who's got freckles, glasses and bright blue eyes. "It's really interesting to think about how to tap into that audience -- people already looking at their phones."The blank wall at Facebook headquarters. The project is made possible by something called SLAM, or in tech-speak, simultaneous localization and mapping. It's a technique that computer scientists have been developing since the 1980s, originally meant to help robots navigate through unfamiliar terrain.
But the technique is also used in augmented reality, It takes digital graphics or animation and stitches them onto surfaces in the real world, in real time, while mapping out the objects in the room, Facebook is working on a version of SLAM to do all that computing on mobile devices, The project originally began at Oculus, the virtual iphone screen protector or not reality company Facebook bought for $2 billion in 2014, But since then, Facebook's artificial intelligence teams have taken it over, Facebook also has a few other AR demos in the works, like an app that lets you paint in the air, and another that brings posters to life..
"For the Heather Day project, we used all this complicated machinery," says Alvaro Collet, a researcher on Facebook's Applied Machine Learning team. "We have the opportunity with SLAM to do that just with a phone."Augmented reality might be the latest trend in Silicon Valley, but it isn't a new concept. L. Frank Baum, author of "The Wizard of Oz," predicted a form of AR in his 1901 novel "The Master Key." In it, the protagonist is offered a magic pair of spectacles called a character marker. When he wears them, he sees letters over people's foreheads based on their moral fortitude: "G" for good, "E" for evil, "W" for wise, and so on.
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