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FrontendLove — In the loop with Raisa Cuevas

Get to know speakers before meeting them at the conference

Raisa Cuevas

Here we go again! After some time off I am back with some more interviews. This time I will be talking to Raisa Cuevas. She is living in London but pretty excited to be moving to Amsterdam soon! While still living in the UK, she was happy to share with you some details about what she’s been up to and what she is preparing for FrontendLove!

Note: questions and answers have not been transcribed but adapted from notes.

Hi Raisa! Tell me about yourself

Hi Gerard! Sure. I am a creative Engineer at Google in London, building digital experiences with the Brand Studio team. I joined about two and a half years ago. Before that I was working at Google’s Headquarters in Mountain View, where I started as a Web Developer.

Here in London, I have learned a lot about the European market and its different challenges compared to the Silicon Valley. My next goal is to move to Amsterdam’s thriving tech scene.

Outside of work, I enjoy running and eating out. After I moved to London I joined a running club called London Brunch Club. Together, the group runs anywhere from 10K to 40K and then enjoys a well-deserved brunch. There I also got the motivation to train for the London Marathon a couple of years back so that was awesome. By doing this, I kept mind and body in balance after working behind a screen most of the day.

Cool! What topic are you working on for your talk?

The topic for my talk is Augmented Reality (AR). I am going to walk through its history: present, past and future.

I started doing some research when our team was considering AR for one of our marketing campaigns. I got really interested while exploring the possibilities to use AR for web and for native mobile apps.

During this time I collected a lot of fascinating facts, for example how far back it goes in time. I dug out interesting connections that I want to share in my talk. Both to inspire people and demonstrate what you can do with AR today.

If anything, I want to show people what are the possibilities so they can go and build their own!

That’s awesome! How would you describe Augmented Reality in few words?

Augmented Reality is the ability to overlay a virtual object and project it into the real world. This is, for example, when we use an app that adds a virtual character into the camera’s view.

AR Experiments

Augmented Reality is the ability to overlay a virtual object and project it into the real world.

AR has been around for a long time, but today devices are much more powerful. Using toolkits like ARCore and ARKit you can build AR apps much easier than before. Generated code is already optimised for new devices like the Pixel, Galaxy S8, and iPhone. Google is working to make AR available to 100 million devices by the end of ARCore’s developer preview.

In 2014, Google released Tango platform that provided full AR capabilities but it was limited to few specialised devices. Today with ARCore we can translate our learnings to a more widespread platform.

Tango deployed very successful AR apps in education and museums, like the Detroit Institute of the Arts Museum. There you can use the phone to see enhancements for the exhibits. Another example is, Google Expeditionswhich is a classroom program where kids can interact with the learning material using their phone. This includes, for example, watching volcanoes erupt or exploring the surface of Mars!

Wow! These are the kind of interactions that we see in movies. Can you tell us about some other interesting use cases?

Sure. Some cool use cases include the following:

  • Education
  • Location-based experiences (Eg: museums)
  • Shopping
  • Entertainment

From a developer’s point of view is interesting not only to understand these use cases but also how to implement them in such away that is useful and engaging.

Good stuff! What side projects are you working on at the moment?

I am usually building frontend websites for Google Marketing but more recently I have been working on some open source projects.

Jigsaw, an Alphabet company, developed an API called Perspective which uses Machine Learning to analyse the toxicity of content created by users. While collaborating in this project, I developed one extension using Perspective to analyse comments within news articles.

The main purpose for the Comment Filter extension is to allow users to set a certain toxicity threshold for some whitelisted news publishers. Whenever users experienced toxic comments or offensive language, they could set a low threshold not to see them. This extension effectively hides toxic comments so the user won’t be offended. This is based on Machine Learning so the more comments it analyses the more accurate it gets.

It’s funny because when I started using it, it was very sensitive but then it improved during the following couple of weeks.

This is a very effective filter system as it can be personalised to each user sensibility without censoring the original content. The user is in control of what content is being shown as there are some users more sensible than others.

Besides this, there are other interesting extensions like moderation. You can check out our other Perspective Hacks here.

Yay! We got to the last question. What talks or topics are you looking forward at the conference?

The conference is going to focus in React, Angular and Vue but I am more familiar with Angular so I will be looking forward to Angular talks. Besides these, I have also heard a lot of great things about Vue. This is the highlight of the second day so I’m really interested to see how people are using it and maybe getting on board with the trends. In terms of speakers, I am interested in seeing Sarah Drasner as I am quite interested in SVG animations and I know she is an expert on that. I have also read some articles on CSS tricks and pretty excited we will share stage at JSConf Iceland later next year too.

So many great talks in the schedule! Thanks a lot Raisa. Talk soon!

Thanks Gerard. Looking forward to talk at FrontendLove in Amsterdam!

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Gerard Sans

Helping Devs to succeed #AI #web3 / ex @AWSCloud / Just be AWSome / MC Speaker Trainer Community Leader @web3_london / @ReactEurope @ReactiveConf @ngcruise