25 April — 27 June, 2024

BEYOND is an international tech event which takes place annually in Thessaloniki. A hybrid “exhibition-meets-summit” happening, it is fast becoming the foremost digital technology exhibition in Southeast Europe, the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa; a veritable melting pot of the region’s brightest minds, most innovative companies and cutting-edge products.

The AI revolution, transforming every aspect of our lives, was the focus of the 2024 event held on April 25-27. The HCI Lab of the Institute of Computer Science of FORTH participated at the invitation of the Region of Crete, presenting the interactive system AugmenTable.

The AugmenTable is an innovative research product (patented by OBI) that combines natural interaction methods with augmented reality and artificial intelligence technologies. It is an elegant table with modern design that creates a unique user experience and promotes collaboration, creativity, and learning.

The system recognizes documents (e.g., brochures) placed on its surface through an integrated camera, allowing for the automatic display of digital information related to them. Its surface is touch-sensitive, enabling users to interact intuitively with both digital and physical material placed on it, redefining the way we interact with printed documents and physical objects.

Furthermore, users have the ability to use various objects to perform digital functions, depending on the context of use. For example, conservators can be trained in using a cleaning tool on an artifact, while architects can observe how the environment’s shading changes throughout the day by using miniature trees as a reference.

These features make the AugmenTable a versatile tool ideal for use in various fields such as education, advertising, exploring cultural information, and professional presentations.

Applications of the AugmenTable presented at the exhibition:

  • Interactive Brochures: Printed cards enriched with additional multimedia content, which users can explore by touching both the paper and the special interactive surface.
  • AmI in Greece: Using a three-dimensional printed arrow, users explore a map of Greece showcasing the locations of systems developed by the Ambient Intelligence (AmI) program of FORTH-ICS. When users rotate the arrow to a point of interest, relevant details and audiovisual material are displayed.
  • City Game: Players collaborate to build a “green” city based on their own criteria. They select infrastructures such as public transportation, renewable energy sources, low-energy light bulbs, etc., using printed cards. Each choice comes with a virtual “cost” and positively or negatively affects the overall “green health” of the city, with the impact of their choices projected both on the interactive surface and through Mixed Reality glasses.
  • Research Assistant: A flexible system designed to support various research processes (e.g., school or university assignments, market analysis, literature reviews, text classification, etc.). The system augments printed documents with digital information and allows the addition of virtual bookmarks, tags, and notes on stacks of physical documents. The analysis process is further supported by an intelligent digital character that understands and responds to natural language, via written messages or voice.
  • Digitized Material Maintenance Application: An educational application that combines printed materials, physical objects (e.g., scissors, glue, cutter, spatula, mechanical pencil), and digital content, aiming to teach the process of maintenance and restoration of cultural heritage documents (e.g., maps) in a playful and interactive way.