Jay Van Buren is the founder and CEO of Membit — an augmented reality based mobile application that allows users to preserve their photographs in the location and orientation they were originally captured in. Jay began his studies in the traditional arts, studying painting at Parsons when he came to New York twenty years ago. Upon graduation and searching for employment, Jay began his career in digital marketing and website design. This work lead to the founding of Jay’s first company, Early Adopter, which is a boutique interactive digital agency, specializing in designing diverse multi-platform solutions and developing new technology for clients in the arts, education, marketing and advertising.
It was his work with Early Adopter that Jay was first introduced to augmented reality and saw the possibilities for this platform to allow people to communicate and tell stories in new ways. Augmented reality allows users to place things, like photographs, on top of the real world in virtual space. Jay’s team saw the need to design a new technology that would allow users to take pictures and leave them in the precise position and orientation they were originally captured in. This technology is a patented software called the Human Positioning System ™, that was designed by Jay’s team to be utilized with the Membit application and makes the process of preserving the exact position of the images possible.
While Membit is an amazing piece of technology, Jay is adamant that technology is not an end in and of itself. The technology needs to be a means to enrich people’s lives. Jay saw the inherent human need to identify with places. The Membit application allows users to connect with the places they care about in many ways. Not only can they preserve their own memories, but Membit allows users to take historical photographs and place them in their original context as a way to understand and personalize the past. Jay also sees a possibility for a new narrative art form using Membit where fictional stories are told in a way that was previously not possible.
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