Seeing the Past: Augmented Reality and Computer Vision in History

  • Timothy Compeau

    Timothy Compeau has been exploring technology and play in history education since 2009. He was project manager for the SSHRC-funded research project History at Play, which produced the alternate reality game Tecumseh Lies Here for adult history education in 2011. In 2013 he adapted the project for elementary school students using augmented reality as part of the bicentennial commemorations for the Battle of the Thames. Both versions of the game involve challenging players and students to explore conflicting and ambiguous evidence which calls accepted narratives into question. He also works with small museums helping them use digital media to maximize their potential. In 2012 here designed an exhibit for the Arthur Child Museum of the Thousand Islands in Gananoque, Ontario (with Devon Elliot) using interactive exhibits to explore the complexity and competing narratives of the War of 1812 on the St. Lawrence River. Timothy’s dissertation explores concepts of honour and dishonour in the American Revolution.

  • Devon Elliott

    Devon Elliott is currently working on a PhD in history at the Western University, where his dissertation project is on the history of stage magic. His work incorporates digital fabrication and physical computing tools to experiment with the technological past, and he uses data mining and text analysis to explore the cultural history of my topic. Devon applies 3D printers, 3D scanning, depth cameras, projection, Arduino, Phidgets, Processing, Max/MSP, SketchUp, SEASR/Meandre, and Mathematica for much of his work.

  • Caitlin Fisher

    Caitlin Fisher is a co-founder of York’s Future Cinema Lab and Director of York’s AR Lab. Her  research investigates the future of narrative through explorations of interactive storytelling and cinema in augmented reality environments. Her lab also creates expressive software tools for non-programmers. She completed one of Canada’s first born-digital hypertextual dissertations and her hypermedia novella, These Waves of Girls, won the Electronic Literature Organization Award for Fiction. Her augmented reality poem, Andromeda, was co-awarded the International Vinaròs Prize for Electronic Literature in 2008 and her augmented reality tabletop theatre piece, Circle, was shortlisted for the UK New Media Writing Prize and was awarded the 2012 jury prize by the Electronic Literature Organization. Fisher sits on the executive of the Centre for Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design, an $11M project housed at York University.

  • Sean William Gouglas

    Sean William Gouglas is an Associate Professor and Senior Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Alberta. He is a Principal Network Investigator and member of the Research Management Committee for the GRAND NCE. He has published research on gaming and gaming technologies in particular as they relate to the Canadian gaming industry. He has also published research on computer games art and on issues of sex and sexuality in video games. He is part of a team that has developed an augmented reality game authoring environment -fAR-PLay (for Augmented Reality Play)

  • Shawn Graham

    Shawn Graham is an archaeologist and digital humanist. His work surveys the ways new media are used to construct cultural heritage knowledge, from the perspectives of practicing archaeologists, historians, and the wider public. He explores the rhetorics implicit in different ways of encoding digital tools, and the effects these have on consuming/creating archaeological and historical data. He keeps an open lab notebook of his research and experiments in digital history and archaeology at his research blog, He is currently teaching historical methods and digital history at all levels, including a graduate seminar in digital history, where the final project involves using various augmented reality platforms to free museum collections.

  • Wayne Graham

    Wayne Graham is the Head of Research and Development group for digital humanities at the University of Virginia. Wayne has built computer graphic systems, augmented and virtual reality systems. He has research interests in computer graphics, augmented reality, architectural history and, quantitative and digital methodology.

  • Edward Jones-Imhotep

    Edward Jones-Imhotep has a long-standing interest in alternative methods for researching and thinking about history, particularly ones that involve making and handling material artifacts. He is initiating a new research program designed to complement the sophisticated text-based methods of history of science and technology with research tools and practices centred on material artifacts. This is part of the broader move within the humanities and social sciences that seeks to use objects as a way of gaining insights that are either difficult or impossible to acquire through a traditional emphasis on the written word. Two concrete projects form the focus of that larger program: “Extending Objects” — a collaboration with the Canada Science and Technology Museum will investigate techniques for reproducing museum artifacts at remote locations; “Mapping Technologies” — will utilize recent advances in data visualization to “map” the complex connections between material artifacts and the historical conditions that helped create them.

  • Kevin Kee

    Kevin Kee is the Associate Vice-President Research (Social Sciences and Humanities) and Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities at Brock University. Kevin is interested in the use of computing to analyze and express culture, and history in particular, in innovative ways. His research program lies at the intersection of history, computing, education, and game studies.

  • Kari Kraus

    Kari Kraus’s research and teaching interests focus on new media and the digital humanities, digital preservation, game studies and transmedia storytelling, and speculative design. She was a local Co-PI on two grants for preserving virtual worlds; the PI on an IMLS Digital Humanities Internship grant; and, with Derek Hansen, the Co-Principal Investigator of an NSF grant to study Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and transmedia storytelling in the service of education and design. Currently she is Co-PI on “Exploring Invisible Traces in Historic Recordings,” a collaborative project with Min Wu (PI) and Doug Oard funded by an ADVANCE seed grant at UMD. The project applies audio forensics techniques to help recover provenance information about undated recordings. Kraus has written for the New York Times and the Huffington Post. She is writing a book about how artists, designers, and humanities researchers think about, model, and design possible futures.

  • Rob MacDougall

    Rob MacDougall is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Western Ontario and an Associate Director of Western’s Centre for American Studies. He studies the history of information, communication, and technology. He is the author of The People’s Network: The Political Economy of the Telephone in the Gilded Age (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) and co-creator of Tecumseh Lies Here, an augmented reality game for history education that explored the War of 1812. He is a longtime player and sometime designer of tabletop board and role-playing games, and is interested in all varieties of playful historical thinking.

  • Ian Milligan

    Ian Milligan is an assistant professor of digital and Canadian history at the University of Waterloo. He currently serves as both a co-editor of the public history project as well as an editor-at-large with the Programming Historian 2. His current SSHRC-funded work explores how historians can engage with web archives, by exploring the large files that underlay the Internet Archive’s WaybackMachine. Milligan’s work on web archives has appeared in the Journal of the Canadian Historical Association (where it won the 2013 award for best article), and preliminary results are being presented at the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) annual meeting as well as the Digital Humanities 2014 conference.

  • Bethany Nowviskie

    Bethany Nowviskie is Director of Digital Research & Scholarship at the University of Virginia Library and Special Advisor to the Provost at UVa, for digital humanities. President of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, and chair of both the UVa General Faculty Council and the Modern Language Association‘s Committee on Information Technology. Recent Chronicle of Higher Ed “Ten Tech Innovators” profile says: “Bethany Nowviskie likes to build things.” Her scholarly research interests lie in the intersection of algorithmic or procedural method and traditional humanities interpretation. Among her recent grant-funded projects (supported by the NEH, IMLS, and Library of Congress) are the Speaking in Code summit, the Institute for Enabling Geospatial Scholarship, and Neatline: Facilitating Geospatial and Temporal Interpretation of Archival Collections.

  • Eric Poitras

    Eric Poitras is a post-doctoral fellow at McGill University, working with P.I. Kevin Kee on the the “Using Augmented Reality Applications to Foster Learning and Engagement of History” project within the “Learning Environments Across Disciplines” Partnerships Grant-funded project (led by Suzanne Lajoie). His research interests lie at the inspection of learning sciences, artificial intelligence, and educational data mining. His focus is the design, development, and implementation of technology-rich learning environments on computer- and mobile-based platforms.

  • Geoffrey Rockwell

    Geoffrey Rockwell is a Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Computing at the University of Alberta, Canada. He has published and presented papers in the area of philosophical dialogue, textual visualization and analysis, humanities computing, instructional technology, computer games and multimedia including a book, Defining Dialogue: From Socrates to the Internet. He is currently the Director of the Kule Institute for Advanced Studies and a  principal network investigator in the GRAND Network of Centres of Excellence that is studying gaming, animation and new media. He is collaborating with Stéfan Sinclair on Voyant Tools (, a suite of text analysis tools and leads the TAPoR ( project documenting text tools for humanists. He is part of a team that has developed an augmented reality game authoring environment -fAR-PLay (for Augmented Reality Play)

  • Andrew Roth

    Andrew Roth is the full time technical associate at the Centre for Digital Humanities at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON. For 7 years he worked as the Technology Manager of the Future Cinema Lab at York University, Toronto. As an artist and researcher, he has both lead and collaborated in installations, augmented reality experiences, the development of published apps, and the creation of tools for digital media artists.  He was the lead developer and technical advisor for the Breaking the Chains: Augmented Reality Freedom Stories.

  • Jentery Sayers

    Jentery Sayers is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Maker Lab in the Humanities at the University of Victoria. His research interests include comparative media studies, digital humanities, sound studies, and computers and composition. His work has appeared in American Literaturee-Media StudiesDigital Studies/Le champ numériqueThe Victorian ReviewThe International Journal of Learning and MediaKairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and PedagogyComputational CultureThe Information Society;Collaborative Approaches to the Digital in English StudiesProfHackerSounding Out!The New EverydayThe New Work of ComposingOff Paper;The Digital Rhetoric Collaborative; and Writing and the Digital Generation, among others. His research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Implementing New Knowledge Environments, and the Nebraska Digital Workshop. His first book project, How Text Lost Its Source: Magnetic Recording Cultures, is under contract with the University of Michigan Press.

  • William J. Turkel

    William J. Turkel works in computational history, big history, the history of science and technology, STS, physical computing, desktop fabrication and electronics. He is the author of The Archive of Place: Unearthing the Pasts of the Chilcotin Plateau (UBC 2007) and Spark from the Deep: How Shocking Experiments with Strongly Electric Fish Powered Scientific Discovery (Johns Hopkins 2013). He is currently working on two new projects. One is a study of attempts to build a self-replicating device, from the machine tools of the Industrial Revolution to the RepRaps of today. As part of this research, he has built a series of 3D printers and other CNC tools. The other project is a study of mid-20th-century analog electronic computing. He has been programming for more than 30 years.