AR Hanging Mobile

mobile close-up

I was scheduled to speak at the ISMAR 2010 (International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality) conference in Seoul, Korea; however, regrettably, there was a turn of events and I could not attend.

I still wanted to show my support for the conference and the Arts, Media and Humanities sessions by creating this piece: An Augmented Reality (AR) Hanging Mobile sculpture featuring the ISMAR logo.

The AR Hanging Mobile can be enjoyed as an art object from various angles, each side showing different forms of the ISMAR logo; or if you stand/lay directly underneath the mobile and look up, you can view an AR experience using your smartphone.

The Hanging AR Mobile functions as trompe l’oeil. It plays between 2D and 3D, at first glance giving the illusion of a flat 2D object (as initially shown in the video documentation below), then revealing a 3D physical model that the viewer can move around with the mobile itself being kinetic.

The 3 photos of the AR Hanging Mobile, taken with the iPhone 4 camera and unaltered, play on the real and the virtual, looking like 3D renderings. The AR Hanging Mobile floats between tactility and the digital/virtual.

mobile angle

The premise was to be able to enjoy the Mobile and AR marker design in itself as an art object with or without AR. The ISMAR logo’s shapes and colours reminded me of Joan Miro’s paintings with the kinetic mobile inspired by artist Alexander Calder’s work.

The Hanging AR mobile also casts shadows of the ISMAR logo, as seen in the photo below; this shadow itself can be used as an AR marker.
mobile with ceiling shadow

Video documentation; see the AR Hanging Mobile in action below:

Below: Augmented Reality view of AR Hanging Mobile, proof of concept, showing 3D butterfly as viewed on iPhone 4 using ARToolkit.

Photo shows both the AR marker with ISMAR logo (looking up into the AR Hanging Mobile) as it appears to the naked eye and the AR view on the iPhone 4 screen. In the AR view, a 3D butterfly appears, part of the AMH visual identity for the conference. The AR is powered by ARToolkit for iPhone (very special thanks to Philip Lamb, ARToolworks). Interim 3D model for proof of concept from Google 3D Warehouse, Lionheads Undomiel’s Butterfly Animated by Devented.

AR view using iPhone 4

Below: A couple of photos of the 2D AR marker created by the physical 3D AR Hanging Mobile, shots looking up into the mobile:

hoto looking up into mobile, creating image of 2D marker

2D marker image of mobileThe Studio Curioso website here.


  1. Oh that’s too bad that your trip to Korea got cancelled. 😦

    It’s a cool project though!! Maybe you can tell my class about it. 😛


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