1 Jul 2022 | Sam Sprigg
AWE Talks: The Metaverse in My Carry-on Bag
Metaverse Virtual Reality Augmented Reality

Welcome back to AWE Talks, our series that revisits some of the most engaging content from AWE’s catalog of presentations and panel discussions from past events. With a fresh batch of new content from AWE USA 2022 only recently being served up across both the awe.live platform, as well as to AWE’s YouTube Channel, there are still plenty of talks to dive into.

This week, we take a look at an incredible demo from Marco Tempest, Founder of the Magic Lab in NYC and creative technologist and consultant at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He also won this year’s ‘Best in Show: AWEsome Award’ in the AWE 2022 Auggie Awards ceremony for his presentation, so if this is one you missed at the event, then strap in as we blast off into the magic of XR and the metaverse, all impeccably demonstrated in this presentation.

See the full video below along with quick-hit takeaways.

  • First off - it helps to reference a quote from Arthur C. Clarke, which reads: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
  • With this in mind, Tempest works with several advanced technologies such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, gestural sensing, robotics, AI and more, to create experiences that are clear, memorable and sometimes, seemingly impossible.
  • Previously the Extended Reality (XR) lead consultant at Accenture, one of the world’s leading professional services companies, Tempest helped the company to create their own XR business and corporate metaverse - an immersive collaboration platform that enables rapid prototyping and experimentation.
  • Tempest began his career as a “Technomagician” - Techno Magic being the term he uses to explain the interaction between technology and illusion to create new and “impossible” experiences.
  • Using an Augmented Reality overlay, experiences can react directly to objects in a room. This results in one reality in the real world, and another reality on the screens elsewhere, creating a hybrid between technology and illusion.
  • Magicians have a history of using technology to create magic and illusions, from the ancient Greeks using pneumatics and hydraulics, to the Victorians who used optics to create ghosts on stage.
  • To stay ahead of the technology curve, Tempest designs his own tools and collaborates with software designers, artists, engineers and writers.
  • Inspired by Disney’s ‘The Mandalorian’ series and its new production technology 'The Volume', which is huge in scale and also incredibly expensive, Tempest wanted to see if it was possible to create something along the lines of The Volume, yet be small enough to fit inside a carry-on bag and travel with it.
  • It is at this point that you realize that everything in the video has been generated by exactly this portable solution - 'The Metaverse in a Carry-On' - all in real time.
  • The solution consists of a green screen, a laptop computer, a mobile headset, a camera and sensor, and Unreal Engine software, and can be set up in the smallest of places.
  • With Tempest’s solution, audience members can join experiences in VR or via live broadcast, and people can be offered experiences that truly connect them, helping to shrink the gulf that separates ideas from understanding.
  • The metaverse is the perfect place to showcase new technologies that may be indistinguishable from magic, according to Tempest.
  • Essentially, Technology + Magic = Future.

Watch the full video and absolutely incredible presentation from Marco Tempest, and hear audience Q&A during the session below.


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