Blending the Physical and Digital Worlds: On the Future of AR with Danilo Makio Saito

5 min readNov 3, 2021

We believe that AR will, and should, radically transform how we engage with travel and work, and this is a key goal of WayRay, although we are not the only one that shares the notion. We continue to imagine the future of design and what AR will bring by talking to designers who answered our brief for a design concept.

Now we are going to hear from Danilo Makio Saito, Head of Design, XR at Questtono Manyone, an award-winning global design and innovation consultancy that focuses on hybrid designs. He answered our questions that allowed us to understand his approach to design and his opinions on its future.

Danilo: A Man of Many Skills

Danilo considers himself a multidisciplinary designer. From cars to product design to digital interactions and mixed reality experiences, Danilo has been working on a range of projects in various industries. He is someone with a strong creative capacity and prolific work approach who can work in different fields of design. In terms of what he enjoys working on, he says:

“I love projects that blend physical, digital, and extended reality and explore cutting-edge technologies to create incredible new experiences for people.”

This is the sort of work we engage in at WayRay. We imagine it will become increasingly important for designers to embrace the concept as technologies similar to ours continue to affect the nature of travel. Design is becoming less and less compartmentalized, so designers will need to have an array of interests and inspirations.

Danilo’s Recent Project: Bringing AR to SUVs

“The goal was to create a two-seater SUV-type concept car that would incorporate augmented reality technology in a compelling exterior design.”

Danilo wanted to create a simple and minimalistic design that would highlight and support the AR technology externally. He used a large window to help project digital content, blending the physical and digital worlds, and also “expanded the windows into virtual worlds that WayRay is focused on creating for customers.”

You may notice that Danilo is not the only designer we spoke to who brought up the importance of creating a design that would improve the user’s experience.

Challenges: Imagining the Unimagined

In terms of challenges, he had this to say:

“When we think about AR in cars, most of the experiences and use cases happen in the interior, where we can envision a better user interface contextualized in the user’s point of view. So I think the main challenge for me was to reimagine what the exterior could look like when we have AR technology as the core attribute, and what new design language and visuals we can create on the outside with this emerging tech.”

In other words, it isn’t easy to conceptualize a car while keeping the focus on AR technology. The whole design process becomes a unique and challenging one when we combine the novelty of this technology with car design. These sorts of challenges require a lot of effort, work, and of course, imagination. However, designers like Danilo can do just that.

By imagining and creating things that have never been made before, designers can push for radical changes in technology. It is only by imagining things from the ground up in completely new ways that innovative ideas can be implemented instead of building upon minor modifications of pre-existing ideas.

The Future of AR and Automobiles: A Fundamental Change

In Danilo’s words, AR will “transform not only the automobile industry but all the different sectors that we know, from entertainment and education to healthcare and manufacturing.”

Danilo believes that AR will transform everything from the ground up. The user interface will change where things “contextualized more to the eyes of the users” than is the current case with screens. As a result, cities will become more connected through the display of information to everyone; the experiences we have with our phones will be expanded into our surroundings when we enter vehicles.

In addition, he believes that “with cars becoming more autonomous, there is an amazing opportunity for productivity and entertainment, where AR can play a big role in enabling and leveraging those experiences during the commute.” As a result, driving, entertainment, and how we engage with cities themselves will change as AR enters the world of transport.

We are grateful for Danilo’s time and all of his hard work. We hope you enjoyed our interviews with these great minds.

Want to hear more? In the next interview, we will speak to Artem Smirnov, a brilliant freelance designer from Belarus who hasn’t had the most common career trajectory in design.




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