The Role of Cooperative Augmented Reality in CSCW: Rediscovering a Field of Work (?)

The use of Augmented Reality (AR) technologies in everyday life and work is one of the major trends. Augmented Reality means spatially overlaying virtual data on top of the real world, allowing the flexibility of virtual reality to be used for collaboration while being grounded in physical reality (Azuma et al., 2001; Azuma & others, 1997). New developments in AR – such as data glasses – change the way individuals interact with the real world, and it offers several possibilities for the support of cooperation.

Collaborative applications of Augmented Reality have been a popular field of work and discussion among researchers and developers since the early days of Augmented Reality. While at this time Augmented Reality technology (especially the hardware) was clumsy, heavy and hard to imagine being used on a daily basis, nowadays hardware and software for AR is ready to be used in everyday work and life.

Despite the readiness of technology, available work and researchers dealing with Augmented Reality in cooperative scenarios augmented reality, the topic has not been prominent at CSCW conferences recently. Rather than that AR-Applications are currently predominately discussed in (individual) human-computer interaction scenarios or from a technical viewpoint only. However, there are many opportunities stemming from recent technology developments in Augmented Reality for CSCW that our community should more systematically be working on.

We believe augmented reality will be one of the most prominent future topics in CSCW. An upcoming special issue in Journal for Computer Supported Cooperative Work (jCSCW) and workshops on collaboration and augmented reality at ISMAR are initial efforts to systematically deal with collaborative applications of Augmented Reality and at the same time show the growing interest in this topic. The workshop aims to bundle this interest and bring together a group of researchers from CSCW (and practitioners) working on augmented reality for cooperation support.

Join us at ECSCW 2015.