Media & Press
BY Adry Suryadi and Michelle Giuseppetti-Old, AIA - TEXAS ARCHITECTS MAGAZINE

Let's Get Phygital.

Physical and digital design come together to create a multidimensional augmented reality. Architecture profoundly influences our lives, even when we are unaware of it. Every aspect of a building is designed to convey a message, promote a point of view, or even reinforce a brand. Augmented reality (AR) is one of many emerging technologies that designers can leverage to communicate a building’s message or intent. While the built environment has a significant impact on our physical experiences, it is the least fluid of our cultural and brand experiences ...


Billions have been sunk into virtual reality. To make it worth it, the industry needs to grow beyond its walled gardens.

Despite recent waves of Big Tech layoffs, billions of dollars have been sunk into virtual reality (VR) hardware and software over the past few years. For this investment to be worthwhile, the VR industry needs to achieve sustainability and growth. To do this, it will have to explore many different applications of VR technology, including manufacturing and social VR. Social VR is a type of virtual reality experience where users can meet and interact with one another in a virtual world ...

BY University of Houston SUGARLAND NEWS

CougAR Lab Students Display AR Tech at Tech Fest Live

The University of Houston College of Technology Digital Media program joined several corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and students from Houston-area school districts at the Tech Fest Live Event. Held at The Ion technology hub, the event was created to educate and inspire youth about technology-industry careers and pathways ...


CougAR Lab Students Examine the High-Tech Future of Augmented Reality

The newly created University of Houston CougAR Laboratory is studying how augmented reality, or AR, will be used in the future and how society is likely to react to it ...


Explicating Cues: A Typology for Understanding Emerging Media Technologies

People use cues every day, like social cues or nonverbal cues, to communicate. But how are these cues — relative to Siri, Alexa, social robots, or the myriad hybrid computer and artificial intelligence technologies — being developed?  ...


EXCERPT | Taken from: The Digital City

The Digital City offers a new theoretical framework for thinking about our relationships to digital media by reconceptualizing common, mundane digital interactions as placemaking activities ...


UC faculty teams with TV producers to explore horizons in VR

Imagine being submerged in a pool. A school of fish swims past and three dinosaurs come to visit you. They swim around you, over your head, making noises. Do you reach out? Stay quiet and hide? That’s exactly what children involved in a ground-breaking virtual reality (VR) study at the University of Cincinnati ...


Augmented Reality And Its Impact On Crime And Perception

Moral and ethical concerns have begun to arise from both virtual reality and augmented reality because of the way it can impact and even trick our perceptions ...


We’ve Not Thought Through the Legal and Ethical Disruption of Augmented Reality

With recent product and SDK announcements by Apple and Facebook, we have officially entered the 2017 edition of the Augmented Reality hype cycle. Event news sites like the New York Times and Quartz have gotten into the game with their own apps ...


New Skrite app lets you write on the sky and alter your interaction with the real world

The Cincinnati skyline could look a little bit different with the help of a new augmented-reality app. Augmented reality allows users to interact with the real world in a way that is different or modified ...

augmented reality skrite app

Researching the Internet Industries: Strategies and Methods

At the recent Association for Internet Research (AoIR) conference in Berlin (2016), a number of scholars engaged in active research on internet-related industries participated in a session called “Internet Industry Research Rules! A Roundtable on Methods” ...

augmented reality

Pokémon Go May Not Truly Be Augmented Reality, and That’s OK

Two weeks ago, the app maker Niantic, a spin-off of Google, released Pokémon Go — and now there are monsters everywhere. After downloading the game on their phones, players can traverse the real world hunting for creatures ...

pokemon go

Serious Foursquare Users Interact With Public Space in a Totally Different Way

In many ways, technology is chipping away at the public-ness of public space. Cell phones enable us to walk down the street while doing activities – answering email, fielding phone calls – that we've traditionally done in private places ...

pokemon go

April 15th, 2022

As emerging technologies seem to be a new trending topic, there's a lot of miscommunication about it. We are here to answer any questions you might have about augmented and virtual realities. Join our Livestream event on April 15th, 2022 @ 5 PM for a Q&A session about augmented (AR) and virtual (VR) realities. Come ready with questions for our speaker.

Time: 5 PM | Twitch Channel (cougARlab)
Speaker: Professor Tony Liao, Ph.D
Cost: FREE

twitch channel
press release

April 8th, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “Transcend Your Reality.”– New CougAR Lab Researching Augmented and Virtual Reality Launches at UH

Sugar Land, Texas – April 8, 2022 – The CougAR Lab is the newest academic research lab at the University of Houston - Sugarland Campus conducting ground-breaking empirical research that advances our social and societal understanding of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies.

“With some of the largest companies in the world like Apple, Microsoft, and Meta investing billions to build AR/VR devices, it is essential that we train researchers to better understand the effects of these technologies," said Dr. Tony Liao, Associate Professor at the university and founding director of the CougAR Lab.

The lab supports both research and teaching activities, with the Digital Media program offering a new course in AR/VR in Spring 2022, combining theory/research with practice/design, students learn about the latest applications and industries adopting the technologies and then are able to get hands-on experiences with the tools in the CougAR lab.

The lab launched with several research assistants already working on projects and is open to all UH undergraduate and graduate students interested in AR/VR. “There’s so much more we don’t know about AR/VR, whether it's how certain populations will react to virtual environments, how people/avatars will interact in these spaces, and how they will change our perceptions of place,” Liao said.

With over 500 majors in the Digital Media program, the new lab will help prepare students to be on the cutting edge of the field and introduce them to a technology they could implement in their future careers. In the future, perhaps more will be able to choose AR/VR as a specific career path: “I've had students whose research projects got them jobs at Meta Reality Labs. You are seeing more organizations put out positions for AR/VR content strategists, producers, and marketers, so we think there will be a lot of opportunities.”

As Sugar Land and the Greater Houston area are key technology hubs, the lab will hopefully be a site for public/private partnerships. The lab was recently spotlighted by the Fort Bend Economic and Development Council to highlight its commercial appeal. The lab is here to offer students and organizations help with any questions they might have with current or future AR/VR/XR projects.

Founded in 2022 by Dr. Tony Liao, the lab is based at the University of Houston, Sugar Land campus. The CougAR lab is unique in that it focuses on augmented reality technologies from a social science perspective, understanding how people utilize emerging technologies in everyday life, how they can affect people’s perceptions of place, and how the discussion surrounding emerging technologies shapes the development of the technology. The CougAR Lab’s mission is to conduct ground-breaking empirical research that advances our social and societal understanding of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies.

Dr. Liao’s research has been published in academic outlets such as Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, New Media & Society, Information, Communication, & Society, Social Media & Society, Science, Technology, & Human Values, Mobile Media & Communication, Information and Organization, Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, Communication Studies, the International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality, the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (SIGCHI), Ethics and Information Technology, Journal of Communication Pedagogy, and First Monday. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Cornell’s Institute for the Social Sciences, and the Taft Foundation at the University of Cincinnati.

Lab Manager | Roneth Vargas Figallo | 832-671-2699 |