The DigitAS project is now completed

The 3-year DigitAS project is now completed. While COVID-19 produced more than one obstacle both to our empirical research project and to us as researchers and human beings since spring 2020, we not only managed to complete the full project consisting of a mixed-methods quasi-experimental field study as well as a multi-step survey-based scenario-building process on the Augmented Reality futures of public spaces, but in doing so even widened the project’s scope: The development of an innovative method for 3D mapping of eye-tracking in outdoor environments as well as a publication on the ethical challenges of our interdisciplinary mixed-methods project in the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society can be counted among our achievements.

We thank all involved colleagues, collaborators and students assistants for the productive cooperation over the last three years, in particular Dr. Magnus Bremer and Andreas Kollert, Julia Angermann, Veit Badde, Jacqueline Kowalski, Johannes Melchert, Jan Misera and Lisa Pichler.

Special thanks go to our research participants for willingly taking part in our study, to the Austrian Academy of Sciences for funding and kindly supporting our research endeavor as part of their go!digital Next Generation funding programme, as well as to the four involved institutions – the coordinating Department of Geography at the University of Innsbruck, the Institute of Technology Assessment (ÖAW), the Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies (ÖAW/AAU) and the Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research (ÖAW).

We thank Prof. Dr. Pierre Sachse, Simon Liegl, M.Sc., and Lucas Haraped, M.Sc., (Department of Psychology, University of Innsbruck) for their counselling during the project set-up phase, especially regarding the quasi-experimental field study, as well as during data analysis.

Further, we are highly grateful for the support by and cooperation with our esteemed Scientific Advisory Board Members, Dr. Assoc. Andreas Bernsteiner (Univeristy of Vienna), Prof. Dr. Arzu Çöltekin (Institute for Interactice Technologies, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland), HS-Prof. Dr. Tilo Felgenhauer (Pädagogische Hochschule Oberösterreich), Prof. Dr. Georg Glasze (Institute of Geography, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg), Prof. Dr. Bernhard Höfle (Institute of Geography, Universität Heidelberg), Dr. Daniela Kraus (Virtual and Augmented Reality Association Austria), Prof. Dr. Christian Kray (Head of Situated Computing Lab, Institute for Geoinformatik (ifgi), Universität Münster), Dr. Marjo Rauhala, MSSC. B.A. (TU Wien), and Dr. Walter Peissl (Institute of Technology Assessment, Austrian Academy of Sciences).

We further thank Dr. Marjo Rauhala (TU Wien) for the productive work on our joint research ethics article published as part of an AoIR Special Issue, and Prof. em. Dr. Charles Ess (University of Oslo) for the guest editor guidance. We would also like to express our gratitude to Dr. Markus Schönberger and the software analysis company iMotions for their extensive practical as well as technical support. We are delighted to also see iMotions dedicating a research blog post to our DigitAS project.

On 3rd June 2022, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (CEST /Vienna time), we will meet again with many of our companions and colleagues for our virtual DigitAS closing event “The entanglements of people, materialities and technologies: A joint DigitAS / beYOND workshop“ which will be open to the public (registration needed). More information on the event very soon here:

For more information on our DigitAS project and the project’s output, please see the dissemination section.

DigitAS in times of the COVID-19 pandemic

Like probably all empirical research projects that were right in the middle of everything, the DigitAS team was taken by surprise when the COVID-19 pandemic led to a complete shutdown of the social and economic life in Austria in mid-March 2020. Our data collection that was scheduled for spring 2020 in both Innsbruck and Vienna had to be put on immediate hold until further notice. Even though the lockdown has now been lifted, it is hard to estimate what will actually work in terms of empirical social science in the coming weeks and months, as social distancing measures remain in place.

With regard to the DigitAS research design, not only do we need to move freely in as well as between our research sites, the Rapoldipark in Innsbruck and the Venediger Au-Park in Vienna. What is even more, is that to successfully conduct our study, we need to be able to get close to our research participants, e.g., to set up the mobile eye-tracker on a participant’s head, to check its functionality, to explain and assist in the use of the mobile media device. For the safety of our participants’ and our own, we are therefore currently planning on conducting our field research as soon but also no earlier than safety restrictions will be lifted sufficiently.

Even though the uncertainty surrounding the further development of COVID-19-pandemic, a potential second wave of infections and the need for the infamous emergency brake of accompanying security measures, makes it hard to make plans for the near future, we are continuing the methodological development and are cautiously scheduling data collection for summer or early fall 2020.


Stay healthy!

The DigitAS team


Video recordings of the digitAS Symposium are online now

All talks and discussions during the public symposium The Digital, Affects and Space (DigitAS) – Reflections on the Societal Consequences of a Future in Mixed Realities held in May 2019 at University of Innsbruck, Austria have been recorded and are published online now.