Imagination in the Augmented-Reality Age

VR Northwest producer and director, Devon Lyon was interviewed by the Atlantic about the role of imaginative play in the future with Augmented Reality.

“Devon Lyon, a media producer based in Portland, Oregon, who has given talks about the relationship between AR and imagination, describes AR technology as the merging of video games and make-believe play.* Now 42 years old, Lyon describes his childhood in Salem, Oregon, in the 1980s as one full of bike-riding and imaginative play with friends. Imaginative play is a form of role-playing in which kids reinterpret real-life experiences and act out fantasies—the ground turns to lava, the treehouse becomes a castle tower, fairies and monsters live in the woods. Sometimes everything is invisible; sometimes toys are used as props—stuffed animals having a tea party, for example. This kind of play, it turns out, is an important building block in child development: Research shows that in creating the experience themselves, kids learn all sorts of skills that come in handy later in life, such as problem-solving and being inventive.

When he talks about how AR would have influenced his childhood had he been a kid today, Lyon’s speech speeds up with excitement. “If my friends and I were in the forest and we were having a sword fight with sticks, how cool would it be if we could actually have one of the Minotaurs [from] Dungeons and Dragons represented in front of us—but we’re still in the forest, and we still have sticks in our hands?” AR, according to Lyon, will make imaginative play—a childhood staple for older generations—mainstream again. As he noted in a 2014 TEDx event, traditional imaginative play is “critical”—“but I actually think it can be so much more.”

Read the full article here