Explore Los Angeles's past, present, and future in augmented reality through Perceptoscope

Perceptoscopes are public augmented reality viewers in the form of coin operated binoculars. They can expose the hidden past, present points of interest, or future potentials of a place.


Please describe your project proposal.

Perceptoscope, an interactive public arts initiative, will temporarily deploy augmented reality pedestal viewers at strategic locations around the city taking into account the context, communities and histories of the spaces in which they're dropped. We will work with local organizations towards permanent deployments, and along the way document our process of design and public deployment through online video.

Which of the PLAY metrics will your proposal impact?​

Access to open space and park facilities

Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play

Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities

Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

There is global interest. We want to pilot in LA.

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to PLAY?

Perceptoscope is about encouraging the act of discovery around a place. The shape of our viewers in particular has an immense magnetism for children and the curious. By adding this new surprise to something familiar, people will walk away from a place changed and encouraged to explore somewhere new.

The interactive content on the viewers themselves opens up a variety of exciting opportunities to explore how to make places engaging and fun. It's easy to imagine digital scavenger hunts, interactive informational visualizations, and being transported to a different point in time at the location you're standing.

We're just starting to explore the array of interactions possible with Perceptoscopes, and our open source platform is designed so that the digital creative culture already present in this city can create content quickly and easily.

Playtesting has played a prominent role in the development of the project. Observing the behavior of users at our various deployments has led to the development of new features we never would have expected. We noticed kids often assumed Perceptoscopes had the potential to also act as cameras, so we've been developing photography features like the ability to take 360 degree panoramic photos, or act as a 3D photo booth.

The fact that we're an open platform means collaborators will always be pushing the project in new and exciting ways. Having them deployed broadly across Los Angeles will give the omnipresent arts and humanities culture here a new voice that's separate from the traditional media we're known for.

We hope that deployments can be long lasting, and that each deployment's experiences will be dynamic and novel to encourage the revisitation of a space for years to come.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

Success for the project is measured more in trajectories than the achievement of fixed goals. Our hybrid nature gives us a unique set of tools to help us improve and learn.

As a hardware technology project, we're always looking to better our technology to make it more engaging and intuitive to use. We typically look towards design thinking practices as a means to this end, such as cycles of prototyping and playtesting.

As a creative placemaking project, we hope to use techniques like pedestrian counts and foot traffic studies to measure our impact on a location in hard data. By understanding how a Perceptoscope is placed in a space, we can not only optimize how people come to discover it but also take advantage of the way it might draw people to an otherwise empty spot.

As a media project, we measure our impact in impressions. How many people were we able to impact in an given amount of time deployed at that location?. How effectively did we convey the story we were trying to tell? Did we represent the perspectives of that space broadly?

Our ultimate goal for the project is to achieve sustainability and feed back revenue generated from the project into more units and deployments. The idea is to create a feedback loop between communities and the project that deepens our roots and broadens our footprint.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?



Advisors/board members



Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research