CTRL+ Exploring augmented reality for distributed design | DD

Distributed Design (formerly known as Distributed Design Market Platform) is a project funded by Creative Europe Program to implement the global network of Fab Lab promoting and improving the connection between makers and designers with the European market.

In the latter, alongside the growth of the Maker Movement and Fab Labs, have been created platforms such as Fablabs.io, developed by Fab City Research Lab of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. This platform represents a place where Fab Labs are mapped, where knowledge sharing takes place, where projects are developed and where the community of makers discusses these topics. Starting from this initiative, the Creative Europe program is an opportunity to consolidate this network, focusing on the development of a European Distributed Design Market Platform for makers and designers.



CTRL+ is an initiative that stimulates designers and makers to explore the potential of Extended Reality (XR) for Distributed Design in terms of co-creation and prototyping of applications and tools that can enable innovative augmented making practices in Fab Labs and for their communities of users and innovators.

Within CTRL+ designers and makers will use Extended Reality (Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality) technologies and related tools in two ways: on the one hand to explore and expand the features of open-source projects and solutions created in Fab Labs through distributed design processes, and on the other hand to use digital fabrication to develop solutions that enable new ways of using virtual reality.

CTRL+ consists of the following steps:

  1. Development of ideas. Organisation of a co-creation session to generate concepts for experimental projects with extended reality applied to objects, tools and devices.
  2. Selection of the two most interesting ideas experimenting with extended reality for distributed design with a phase of verification of technical feasibility.
  3. Implementation of the ideas. Polifactory will support the final prototyping of the projects through the “Maker in Residence” phase.





Palpatine AR is an application that uses Augmented Reality to teach women the practice of breast self-examination. Based on the “Palpatine” project, developed in 2018 during the FABCARE initiative, Palpatine AR implements the existing project by adding a digital layer that guides the user through the different stages of breast self-examination. Thanks to the creation of a simple marker, placed on the Palpatine bra (but also placeable on other bras) Palpatine AR is able to track the user’s movement and display Augmented Reality animations that guide the user through the breast self-examination. A future development of this project has already been imagined using the open-source software Unity, replacing marker tracking with face tracking and creating a digital filter that could promote the project on social media. Palpatine AR is a project by Daphne Falce, Elena Spadoni, Vittoria Pagliaroni, Zeya Wu developed with the support of Polifactory (Andrea Ascani, Aurelie Glaser & Massimo Bianchini) and Luca Grosso.


Usermanual_Palpatine AR
Fab Instructions
Palpatine AR Digital Files – 100 MB




Red Shift is a project that exemplifies how digital fabrication can expand the possibilities of using a technology such as Virtual Reality. Red Shift is a demonstrator-system that supports the use of virtual reality to help users understand and visualise complex and abstract physical principles. The Red Shift system is composed of an application and an analogue wearable that supports the virtual exploration phase, providing the user with physical feedback on their physical positioning and limbs in reality with respect to virtual navigation. Red Shift is a project by Alberto Ambrosini, Elena Mariani, Alessandro Tonini, Lorenzo Pedini, Maria Grazia Lamberti, Valentina Giulietti with the support of Polifactory (Andrea Ascani, Aurelie Glaser & Massimo Bianchini) and Luca Grosso.


User Manual
Fab Instructions
Red Shift Digital Files – 140 MB



All projects developed within the framework of CTRL+ are available in open-source mode under the Creative Common licence (cc-by and cc-by-sa) and published on Distributed Design (distributeddesign.eu) with the relevant documentation.




Iaac, The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia

Parole Chiave

Digital Fabrication

Distributed Production

Hands-on Experimentation