New Adobe Project Bridges Physical and Digital Documents with AR

Digitally scanning documents.

by Curtis Wigington

posted on 04-23-2020

Both personally and professionally, many of us find ourselves looking at the same document on different platforms from time-to-time. As more and more of us are working from home or remotely, we might view a PDF from a laptop or desktop PC. We may possibly look again using our smartphone or tablet if we’re on the go.

More than ever, reading, signing, and making notes on digital documents anytime and anywhere has become a staple of our lives. But it’s been limited by one challenge: if you make notes on a physical document, it then becomes difficult – if not impossible – to collaborate with people working off a digital version of it.

Today we’re previewing a mixed-reality project from Adobe Document Cloud called Project Dually Noted that could make it much simpler to provide feedback and make annotations to digital or physical documents and share them in real time, anywhere.

Eliminating the digital and physical document gap

What does that mean exactly?

Say, for example, a teacher wants to add notes to a book that she is giving out to her class. She can add them to her PDF version of the book using regular tools like commenting in Adobe Document Cloud. Through augmented reality, her students can see her comments by hovering their phones over their physical copies. They can share their ideas directly back to the teacher or to others in the class by speaking directly to their phones, which the teacher and other students can view as text. This would all happen inside Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is on more than a billion desktops and mobile devices worldwide.

This novel combination of AR, multiple devices and documents could be applied to enhancing hundreds, if not thousands, of other real-world experiences. Almost any document process could be improved, whether it’s filling out patient information forms for doctors, making sense of overly complex contracts, bills and statements, or even sharing your thoughts about a new book with your book club members around the world.

Innovation at Adobe

Project Dually Noted is a great example of how we innovate at Adobe. It came about, in part, because of work conducted by an Adobe summer intern, Jing Qian, a PhD candidate at Brown University. During a team brainstorm on ways to bridge digital and physical documents, Qian applied his personal interest in AR to the problem, and the project was born. Adobe Sneaks gives Adobe researchers, designers, engineer, and product managers an opportunity to present their work at Adobe Summit, which gathered 16,000+ industry leaders and inspirational speakers from around the world last year.

We still love the printed page

Working together on digital documents is more important than ever, but it turns out that many people still enjoy holding and reading a physical document. Ask most people, for example, and they’ll say that they still like to ‘dog ear,’ highlight and make comments in the page margins of their favorite books. But sharing ideas between the physical and digital worlds has been impossible—until today thanks to this project.

Project Dually Noted may or may not become an actual project someday, but it’s an example how we love to push what’s possible with digital and physical experiences. At Adobe, we celebrate that good ideas come from anywhere.

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Topics: Adobe Summit, News, Digital Transformation

Products: Acrobat, Document Cloud