Judges Spotlight

Ask a Webby Judge: Dr. Helen Papagiannis, Augmented Reality Specialist

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5 Questions with Dr. Helen Papagiannis, an Augmented Reality Specialist, and a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, reviewing the 24th Annual Webby Awards!

Each year, a host of digital experts in the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS) help judge work into The Webby Awards. Think of them as the luminaries who make great Internet, reviewing the best of it.

Meet Webby Judge Dr. Helen Papagiannis, a world-leading expert on Augmented Reality and the author of Augmented Human, which explores how emerging technologies can help expand human intelligence.

We chatted with Papagiannis about why she’s excited to be a member of IADAS, what expertise she brings to the Academy, and a few of her favorite things on the Internet right now.

1. Why are you excited to serve as a Webby Awards judge? What particular expertise or vantage point do you bring to the Academy?

I am excited and honoured to be part of an inspirational community of talented creators and distinguished judges celebrating excellence across digital innovation. I’ve dedicated the past 15 years of my creative practice, research, and keynote speaking to the new experiences Augmented Reality (AR) makes possible. As an AR industry veteran, I bring the unique perspective of what makes for compelling stories and experiences.

2. What trend or emerging technology are you most excited about in your field of work?

I’m excited about the ways we’re beginning to see AR appear in popular culture and our everyday. That’s how you know a technology has made it, when it becomes part of the larger visual and cultural vocabulary. It’s one of the reasons I founded XRGOESPOP.com in 2019; there was no media outlet documenting this major shift. XR GOES POP highlights trends businesses need to follow, and what it means for fashion, art, music, and much more.

3. Why do you think being a part of The Webby Awards community matters?

When I began working with AR in 2005, it was a field dominated by Computer Science. During my Ph.D., I was very fortunate to be a member of an incredibly cutting-edge lab at York University where we focused on AR storytelling so early on. Today, innovators and creators of all backgrounds are liberating and propelling AR forward and it is absolutely thrilling to be part of The Webby Awards creative community during this pivotal time.

4. What projects or endeavors are you currently working on, and how will it benefit the Internet community?

I’m currently working with the World Economic Forum as an invited member of the Global Future Council on Virtual and Augmented Reality to explore and raise awareness of the positive and negative aspects of these technologies’ widespread adoption. It will benefit the Internet community through a series of public webinars, articles, and more sparking a global discussion. You can also find me on Twitter (@ARstories) and Instagram (@AugmentedHuman) where I’m always sharing creative work and the latest developments.

5. What’s your favorite app that other people haven’t heard of?

Reality Composer from Apple. You can quickly prototype and produce interactive AR experiences without any code.

**BONUS!** Who or what is on your lock-screen of your phone?

An image of the milky way across Australia. The sky is filled with wonder; I love marveling at it.

Our judges are hard at work reviewing this year’s best projects using AR and immersive technology. See them when the 24th Annual Webby Nominees are announced Tuesday, March 31st.

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