New Adobe Project Bridges Physical and Digital Documents with AR

by Digital Europe

Posted on 04-27-2020

_B_y Cur­tis Wig­ing­ton, Research Sci­en­tist at Adobe Research in the Doc­u­ment Intel­li­gence Lab

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 favourite books. But shar­ing ideas between the phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal worlds has been impossible—until today thanks to this project.

Sum­mit is now online. View keynotes and 100+ break­outs here.

Topics: Adobe Summit, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Augmented Reality, Sneaks, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA

Products: Document Cloud