Mobile Experience Lab at OCAD










How can users of a public urban space engage in a multi-sensory, multimedia outdoor experience?

PORTAGE is transforming John Street, in the heart of Toronto's entertainment shopping district, into a Broad Locative Environment (BLE) - a space that will allow visitors to engage with outdoor multimedia installations and other mobile users.

Users will be able to navigate from Grange Park down John Street through a GPS and Wi-Fi-enabled virtual theatre. Along the way they will interact with installed musical sculptures, create and share interactive audio components, trigger swarms of electronic cicadas residing in city trees and view themselves on surveillance camera which they themselves control.

Through this installation Portage will investigate how cultural content delivery is made possible by emerging multi-capability mobile devices. These devices include cell phones, handhelds and PDAs with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and GSM access. Portage will also examine the processes by which these technologies can be used in conjunction with each other and with environmental sensors and displays to move the mobile experience beyond the phone and to create an interactive and immersive environment.

MOBILE EXPERIENCE LAB (Ontario College of Art & Design)

Mobile technology has enabled users to work, socialize and create anywhere and anytime in a variety of ways. Advancements in mobile multimedia devices and their adoption by a growing number of consumers now allow the delivery of rich user experiences. Various network technologies and protocols such as GSM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth provide a range of connective possibilities that enhance social networks among mobile users. This infrastructure provides a vast potential research field and market for innovation in user experience through software and hardware development.

Partnerships between academic institutions and commercial stakeholders provide an excellent opportunity to innovate in this highly competitive and expansive field. In 2005 OCAD established the Mobile Experience Lab to pursue research projects that bring together art practice, design and research methodology with software and hardware engineering capabilities.

The Lab has initiated a range of research projects that innovate in the areas of user interface, locative experiences, collaborative games and augmented reality narratives.

Ontario College of Art & Design

The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) is Canada’s largest university for art and design, specializing in creativity and innovation. Established in 1876, the university has more depth and breadth in visual arts and design programs than any school of its kind in Canada. OCAD students enjoy a one-of-a-kind learning environment that combines an experiential, studio-based education with liberal studies, which is recognized with a BFA or BDes.

OCAD graduates are well known for their creative skills. Their work continues to enrich our country’s culture and adds value to the economy and everyday lives of Canadians. OCAD’s research profile includes an institute for art and design education, the Beal Centre for Strategic Creativity at OCAD, an institute in design, creativity and innovation and large-scale projects in mobile content and technology.
























Ontario College of Art & Design

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