Rafi Leigh

Rafi Leigh is MD of Special-FX, a supplier to the shopper marketing sector and a provider of stage and other special effects. After training at the AAA, he specialised in film and special effects in the UK. He founded Special-FX in South Africa in 1996 and started providing experiential marketers with interactive sets, props, scenery and displays. Contact Rafi on tel +27 (0)11 493 9666 or email .

[SIGGRAPH 2011] Day 3 – the prize

15 Aug 2011 12:19:00
VANCOUVER, CANADA: Getting here to Vancouver seemed desperately important. I knew that technologists were finally connecting the dots. Human interface devices (or HIDs) were being given away with cellphone contract upgrades. Apps could be anybody’s game. I put all other new business strategies on hold, and made a 16 653lm beeline for the SIGGRAPH convention, where I knew I would find nuggets of wisdom running along the seam lines of emerging tech and creative genius.

9238 visitors at SIGGRAPH 2010 in Asia last year, and an estimated 20 000 visitors to SIGGRAPH Vancouver this week. How could I be wrong?

In truth, I’m not alone.

I found dozens of companies, represented by hundreds of individuals – masters and doctors of their fields – seeking the same holy grail. The “sweet spot” I heard it called on Friday, 12 August 2011. I met specialists in disciplines so different to each other with such different perspectives, all looking to identify one and another’s synapse. Across continents, people from New Zealand, India and Germany were asking, “What type is that plug and how does it fit this socket?”

It was a convention on adaptation and standardisation.

Augmented reality is not the estate of the few. The field has been percolating since the late ’70s, and each new issue of HIDs has caused a rethink on how information can change our lives and how we interface with it. South African solutions can only be limited by a disinclination to imagine an application.

The surge of HIDs flooding the markets these last 18 months has created a critical mass, and the demand for content has finally outstripped supply. The dots now need connecting. Standards are being developed. Plugs are fitting sockets.

Getting here to Vancouver was desperately important, for me and for thousands others.

The technology is everywhere. Let’s play.

To read more on the emerging technologies presentations at SIGGRAPH 2011, go to www.siggraph.org/s2011/for_attendees/emerging-technologies and Twitter (#siggraph #etech).

[15 Aug 2011 12:19]

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