Paper plane is an interactive AR (augmented reality)  piece designed to create a simple and joyful experience for the audience.

This project is inspired by childhood memories of the first time we played with paper planes. To the little us, these planes are as real as the ones up in the cloud, with us being the pilots and our dreams being the passengers.  To recreated the feeling of the magical and playful interactions, I choose Augmented Reality and 3D sketches as the medium. The sketch will only show up when the AR device detected the certain area. In this way, the user will also have an exploring interaction with the space from this experience.

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The phones are powered by the Google Tango technology. I used Unity and the Tango SDK to dynamically create paper planes around the room. The flocking algorithm is inspired by and written from scratch.

A good interaction engages and inspires the audience. The most challenging part of this project is to make the paper planes “engaging”. When people are given a new device, they are  both exploratory and clueless at the same time. It is important to draw their attention when they get sidetracked. Because of this, I added an extra force to the flying objects so that they will eventually fly into the phone’s viewport if they are out of sight for too long. During the Spring Show, the audience’s reactions were priceless: they did not know what to expect at the beginning, but when the paper planes flew across the camera, they immediately triggered the audience’s “aha” moment. The audience got very excited and started to chase around the planes with their cameras.


A good interaction leaves space for imagination. To make the demo even more magical. I created an installation around the same theme during the ITP Spring Show. The installation consists of two screens with paper planes flying across them. There is an empty stage between these two screens creating space for imagination: it feels like the planes are flying out of one screen, around the room, and into the Tango phones and the other screen.

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The paper planes on the screens are written in Three.js.

Both the planes in Three.js and in Tango are designed from scratch


A good interaction is multifaceted. I want my projects’ details to shine. I added sound effects to the planes, and created doppler effects when the planes fly across. As an additional benefit, when the audience heard the sound without seeing the planes, the sound made them seek. Last but not least, the planes also change colors over time, making the scene even more dynamic and spatial.



Andrew Durst

If I could fold-up my heart like origami:

I'd make a



a million


toss myself

into the wind,

And collect in

your lungs with


breath you take.