‘Creative Technology’ is an interdisciplinary field that combines computing, design, art, and the humanities. Since historically all these fields have always existed as siloed departments, creative technologists are a somewhat new hybrid of professionals that combine them into one, to produce a more user friendly, technologically advanced, artistically inclined, and socially ethical output, says Shreiya, a creative technologist who is engaged with Aurora Health LLP for Noora Health – a non-profit organisation based in San Francisco, California.
Shreiya Chowdhary and a uArm Mechanical Robot
As per Shreiya, “Noora Health works in collaboration with local hospitals and groups to improve outcomes and save lives of at-risk patients. Since its launch in 2014, they have been equipping patient families with key health skills, to allow them to become the keystone to ensuring proper recovery in the hospital and post-discharge at home.”
With the rise of the Pandemic in 2020, Noora Health, who had already been making strides in the field of public health, understood the need to seek the aid of technology and design to reach the masses via digital platforms. With Tele training helplines and WhatsApp bots in place, they also decided to take a leap of faith in creative technology – specifically Augmented Reality.
For the pandemic, Shreiya has been leading all creative technology efforts which started with being the lead technical designer and producer for the Augmented Reality applications for nurses.
Shreiya, along with a team of UX/UI designers and developers, created their pioneer Augmented Reality product “PPE Trainer”, which taught nurses how to wear, manage, and remove PPE suits in the right sequence and process- all while simply interacting with a 3D figure to explain and test the process on. With its positive feedback, in the duration of this one year she worked with Noora Health to also adopt 3D messaging as well as interactive videos which were made for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a part of their non-profit work.
Sharing about her journey so far, the creative technologist said, “I have given two TEDx talks on my work in the field of creative technology to audiences of students and professionals both. Being an artist and self-taught programmer and designer, I have been an educator in New York City teaching children and adolescents at the School of Visual Art, the GIANT Room, and the Rubin Museum, on how to adopt emerging technology and its tools to provide a multisensory approach to an experience. Soon after, I founded my own company in India to use art, technology, and design as an aid to digitally archive India’s heritage and culture.”
Her company ‘Taabro Pedagogy’ curates Mixed Reality experiences that visualise oral histories belonging to historical monuments such as the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, India or their current work with the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, India. Their mission is to recreate forgotten pasts using 3D tools and allow users to travel back in time to meet and experience India’s grand heritage that gets lost between palatial walls.
During the pandemic, Creative Technology saw incremental usage specifically in art spaces, since art galleries were no longer accessible. In India, its rise can be seen with a web-accessible 3D virtual art exhibit called “Virtual Segments” by Round them Oranges.
As technical designer of the exhibit, Shreiya explained, “With the pandemic not allowing us to step out of our homes, we wanted to translate a real life experience from the very successful 2020 RTO Art Book Depot held at a 300-year-old Haveli to an equally captivating and engaging digital event. And now, after months of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears- there’s a simple website you can access which allows you to view and explore digital artworks which are both 2D and 3D, all nestled in different nooks and corners of a 3D structure which is a completely accurate recreation of the original structure. So what we’ve created is an incredibly accessible 3D virtual gallery representing Indian artists right at the heart of where some of their crafts and techniques were born. It currently exists as a web experience, and will soon be available on VR for higher definition.”