Welcome to the Augmented Environments Lab (AEL) website.  We are a group of researchers in the GVU Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology, spanning multiple schools and disciplines, interested in understanding the interplay of technology, design, interactivity and media when directly augmenting a user’s senses with computer generated material.

The lab was founded 1998.  We use the term Augmented Environments to emphasize our interest in systems and experiences where the physical environment is an essential element of the experience, and does not merely act as a background for an overlaid computer media experience. From the artifacts in a historic home, to the equipment in a factory, to the people sharing a game around a kitchen table, the places and people are what gives the experience its meaning.

Most of our work is in the area of Augmented Reality (AR), where a media (typically graphics) are spatially registered with a user’s view of the world around them. We also work in the broader space of Mixed Reality (MR), using mobile and wearable devices to create location-based experiences that do not spatially integrate media with the user’s view of their environment. Our interests lie at many levels: from content and design through interaction techniques and game mechanics. We design, build and evaluate these systems using a range of human-centered computing methodologies.

The projects in the lab are usually driven by applications or design problems; we believe that tackling interesting problems (e.g., communication between machinery and workers on poultry processing lines) and design challenges (e.g., exploring multiple viewpoints in an interactive drama) push forward our understanding of the field. To support our work, we build tools to enable non-technologists to work with AR and MR systems, such as allowing designers to use the Director multi-media authoring environment, or game players to experiment with AR in massively multiplayer online worlds such as SecondLife.

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NerdHerder is a causal mobile game that involves motion-based puzzle solving. The game’s premise is that you are hired as an IT manager, and your job is to use “management skills” to get the unruly nerd employees back to work in their cubicles. The core game mechanic relies on the physical position and movement of the handheld device …

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Façade and AR Façade

AR Façade

AR Façade is an augmented reality version of the acclaimed desktop-based interactive drama, Façade. Few entertainment experiences combine interactive virtual characters, non-linear narrative, and unconstrained embodied interaction. In AR Façade players move through a physical apartment and use gestures and speech to interact with two autonomous characters, Trip and Grace. Our experience converting a desktop …

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ARhrrrr is an augmented reality shooter for mobile camera-phones. The phone provides a window into a 3d town overrun with zombies. Point the camera at our special game map to mix virtual and real world content. Civilians are trapped in the town, and must escape before the zombies eat them! From your vantage point in …

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AR SPOT: An Augmented-Reality Programming Environment for Children

AR SPOT is an augmented-reality authoring environment for children. An extension of MIT’s Scratch project, this environment allows children to create experiences that mix real and virtual elements. Children can display virtual objects on a real-world scene observed through a video camera, and they can control the virtual world through interactions between physical objects. This …

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KHARMA: KML/HTML Augmented Reality Mobile Architecture

An Open Platform for Delivering Mobile Augmented Reality Experiences The KML/HTML Augmented Reality Mobile Architecture, KHARMA, is a new open architecture for augmented reality that lets users create content using the HTML and JavaScript web development tools already in widespread use today. In contrast to the proprietary AR browser solutions currently available, this approach allows …

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