The Early Innovator Award conferred at this year’s International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) recognizes “A touring machine: Prototyping 3D mobile augmented reality systems for exploring the urban environment” (1997) as the paper from the first ISWC (1997) having the most impact in the intervening 20 years.
The paper presented the first outdoor augmented reality system using GPS position
tracking with a see-through head-worn display. Before the era of smartphones,
ubiquitous GPS, and Wi-Fi, the Touring Machine, which included a backpack stuffed
with electronics, let users navigate Columbia’s campus, overlaying names of buildings
and academic departments on buildings viewed through the user’s head-worn display,
and allowing users to select a department to explore its website on a hand-held display
wirelessly connected to the internet.
Cited 1257 times as of November 2017, the paper was authored by Professor Steven Feiner, Blair MacIntyre (PhD ’99, and now Professor in the School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Tech), Tobias Höllerer (PhD ’04 and now Professor of CS, UC Santa Barbara), and Tony Webster (now Lecturer in Finance, SEAS and Clinical Associate Professor of Real Estate, NYU). Both MacIntyre and Höllerer were Feiner’s PhD students at the time of the paper.