18 Aug 2023 | Mike Boland
AWE Talks: Scaling Community and Craft with AR
AWE USA 2023

Welcome back to AWE Talks, our series that revisits the most engaging content from AWE’s catalog of conference sessions. Now that AWE USA 2023 has concluded, we have a fresh batch of sessions to dive into. 

This week, we spotlight the godfather of street skating, Rodney Mullen. His app Skatrix amplifies the community and craft of skateboarding through AR. This includes fun elements as well as visual learning and inspiration.

See the summarized takeaways below, along with the full session video. Stay tuned for more video highlights each week and check out the full library on awe.live and AWE’s YouTube Channel.

Rodney Mullen, Skateboarding Legend
Kasimir Lehto, Reality Crisis
Bill Higgins, IBM

– Skateboarding is a community, like the open-source community, says Mullen.
– It's all about building on existing innovations and ideas, using one's own creativity.
– Mullen's app Skatrix, built by Reality Crisis, applies these principles through AR and AI. 
– For example, AR features let users turn any surface into a virtual skate park. 
– This brings street skating to users' fingertips and expands participation in the sport. 
– As for AI, Mullen worked with IBM to bring structure to the "language" of skating. 
– Using the sport's trick nomenclature, it was able to build language models.
– The result is suggested sequences, related tricks, and fitting locations for any trick.
– Skaters could use these models to plan, learn and execute tricks in real life. 
– Altogether this built a taxonomy around the community and craft of skating.
– Taking it a step further, Skatrix began to utilize AR and AI to help train and educate. 
– Using 3D models of tricks being performed, users can overlay them on themselves.
– The result is a visual learning tool for fast feedback loops about improving one's form. 
– The precision in overlaying such advanced footwork speaks to AR's advancement*
– The next step is conversational learning to talk to the app, a la ChatGPT.
– Finally, social aspects enable far-flung skaters to share knowledge & experiences.
– Altogether the goal is to inspire and include more people in the sport.
– This is similar to what Tony Hawk's game did, but with the dimensional magic of AR.
– According to Mullen, it's all about the balance of technique and individual creativity. 

"Skateboarding has always been way more about creative freedom than any sport could ever offer. There's a transgressive element to it that infuses what we see as skateboarders and what we seek to accomplish. It's not the perfection of a trick or the complexity necessarily. But it's how creatively you can adapt it to the environment around you, and do it in a way that's unique to you, and how you are, and what you do."

*Insight attributed to AWE's Nathan C Bowser

  Want more XR insights and multimedia? ARtillery Intelligence offers an indexed and searchable library of XR intelligence known as ARtillery Pro. See more here.  

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