Ideas worth taking credit for. The TED augmented reality hoax.

I just stumbled upon this very short TED talk by Chris Hughes. In his presentation Chris Hughes shows of an “Augmented Reality demo using Adobe Flash!”. In an exited tone he talks about how he wrote a piece of software (!) to allow the replacement of a “2D Barcode” with something “really, really cool” using nothing but Adobe Flash!

In reality he hardly wrote any software, rather did he do a pretty standard and in my opinion a very ugly implementation of Papervision3D and FLARToolkit, for which tutorials can be found online quite easily.

Why is this worth blogging ? Well, as a Papervision3D core developer, personally I’m offended for someone taking credit for both the Papervision3D and the libspark project’s FLARToolkit libaries, none of which he has had any hand in. He’s essentially taking credit for 100′s of hours of work by both the Papervision3D and the Libspark team. With the TED conference headline being “Ideas worth spreading”, which implies the sharing of knowledge and ideas. Both Papervision3D and FLARToolkit are opensource projects, with exactly that in mind. And both of them get ripped off by Chris Hughes, who not only fails to cite his sources, but takes credit for it by saying the following things on the TED stage :

“……I wrote a piece of software …… “

“Oh, no, it does not quite stop there…….[]……another bit of the technology we managed to introduce here……”

With both statement not only failing to mention the actual technology and projects, Chris Hughes but actually taking credit for it. Disgusting. But hold on, to cite Chris himself, “it does not quite stop there”….in the followup interview on Chris Hughes states the following :

“So what you’ve seen today is a Flash port of an existing project. There’s a project out there known as ARToolKit. Unbelievably awesome. It’s a university research project. Folks ported it from C, which is what it’s written on, onto Java. And then we took the Java port and made it work in Flash.”

That last piece of that sentence is very interesting “we took the java port and made it work in Flash“. Let’s make it easy. No you didn’t. You took a port named FLARToolkit, and used it in your project. (here’s the sources to his demos, which show Papervision3D and FLARToolkit).

So what did Chris Hughes do for him to take credit on a TED Stage ? Most likely, he followed a tutorial like this one from the FlashBlog, then gathered all his courage and energy to work with 2 opensource projects and take credit for it.

One more quote from Chris Hughes here :

It’s open source. Everything I do is about being very open.

Openness at a conference like TED would be giving urls, credit and a clear explanation of what you did. Right now you’re just taking full credit for work done by 2 software team’s hundreds (if not thousands of hours) of work, for your own credit.

I hope the TED conference takes the proper steps to avoid people like Chris Hughes standing upon on a stage, presenting other people’s work as their own, purely for their own glory. I’m disgusted by this.


To avoid any confusion, looking back at this hastly and angrily typed post, I want to clarify that most of the work he’s demoing which makes this so awesome is the FLARToolkit project. Papervision3D is used for visualization, but I’m guessing most of the awe is for the FLARToolkit project, which is done mainly by saqoosha.


The TED conference has removed the video from the Talks page, and is in the process of removing subsequent posts, as a response to the contreversy around Chris his talk. I do feel a rectification of the statement “And then we took the Java port and made it work in Flash.” is still missing, since this is just clearly not true.

I have a lot of feeling towards this kind of presentation of other peoples work without proper accreditation and honestly, I do feel the real victim here is Saqoosha / LibSpark. Saqoosha has posted a blog around this, unfortunately only in japanese.

I’m sorry for the uproar and feeling some people have of this being a witch hunt, or the feeling this was instigating “get your pitchforks and torches out”. That was not the intent of my blogpost. I feel that injustice was done, and it wasn’t publicly rectified. As this blogpost was part of the reasoning behind the removal of the video of the TED pages, I do feel it served the proper purpose and in that specific result hit it’s goal.

It wasn’t my intent to be insulting, or publicly binding Chris Hughes to a stake. Rather this was a way to rectify the injustice which was done to the original developers of the source code he displayed, and took credit for. I apologize for any of my wording which is that strong above and as such removing it would be wrong. Rather then doing that, I’ll leave it up and apologize for too strong wording or instigation of a witch hunt. What I won’t apologize for is pointing out this issue and subsequently asking attention for it.


I have just been in an enlightning IM discussion with Keith Peters / Bit-101.  In this discussion Keith pointed something out I feel I am at fault at. I’ve could have contacted Chris personally to ask him for a public correction of both his talk and the interview. Instead, I first wrote this post and then mailed Chris later, after any reply from his side stayed out.

I’ve got no excuse for this and I am at fault for not contacting him directly first. I apologize for that towards Chris Hughes.


Upon further investigation, have decided to completely retract the entire speech, naming it “misleading”.

[UPDATE4 25/06/09]

With TED having researched the grounds of these allegations and subsequently removing the video and retracting the entire thing, Chris Hughes still wants to pass this off as a fluke. I have yet to see an updated blogpost, or a reply to my emails. As such, let me make it perfectly clear for the last time, for future reference.

Chris Hughes took Mikko Haapoja’s tutorial on using FLARToolkit and Papervision3D, two open source projects he was not involved in at all. Then he did some slight modification of the tutorials, not adding, or extending anything and recompiled the examples. He then went on stage saying “He programmed” etc…

In reality, he passed someone else’s work off as his own, without giving attribution or even mentioning the projects, rather just claiming credit for it in an interview, and obfuscating what he did both online and in his presentation.

End of story.

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96 Responses to Ideas worth taking credit for. The TED augmented reality hoax.

  1. He’s certainly made a name for himself (not a good one). This kind of crap really pisses me off.

  2. Meinaart says:

    He clarifies it a bit in a comment on his interview. But still, really poor choice of words.

    I hope will invite you to speak on one of their upcoming conferences :) .

  3. John Wilker says:

    oh man. I sure hope there’s an innocent explanation, I really do. what a bummer.

  4. howardy says:

    yikes, that’s pretty shitty. I feel for you guys, I’ve had people take credit for my code before. It sucks. I just stumbleupon’ed you.

  5. samBrown says:

    just watched the video – wow. Dude glosses right over the giants whose shoulders he stands on.

  6. Mike Hutson says:

    If you look too on the TED comments below the clip, so many people are eating it up like sheep.

  7. inspired12 says:

    After following Ted lectures for years now, I can’t believe they dropped the ball on this one.
    To invite Chris Hughes would have been fine if he had presented on something that he actually works on.
    To allow him to present about something that he took no part in developing, and demo a poor implementation of an open source project without giving the proper credit, is really an insult to the core developers, and to the flash community in general.

  8. Alfredo says:

    Sucks… I have my encounters with people who take credit for the work of others (just to move up the ladder). It is a shame really. But what goes around comes around.

    Keep up the good work.: neoriley, C4RL054321, r.hauwert, tim.knip, azupko, johnlindquist and the people from

  9. I think a blogged apology + a letter to the TED committee would repair the damage. Seriously, this the first case of bad blood in the flash community I’ve ever heard of.

  10. Varun Shetty says:

    It can be papervision3d, away3d or something else…. but definitely doesnt seem like it was something he developed. So the right team should have been credited. This sucks.

  11. Ibod Catooga says:

    OMG he probably [CENSORED] seven goats, too! OMG! OMG! My little pony!

  12. Marcus says:

    He mentions in his blog post that he’s demo’ing pv3d and flartoolkit. I agree he could have at least in passing mentioned the libraries he was using, but it was a 2 minute demo for a bunch of non-flash programmers who would not have cared anyway.
    Ted is usually a place to demo tech, not plug products. It does look like he’s taking more credit for what he deserves, but not enough to send the lynch mod after him.

  13. As the writer of FGAR, the Flex AR Manager, I want to add that he should also have given credit to the manager API he probably used, be it FLARManager or FGAR.

  14. Paul says:

    He really does make it sound like something he developed… too bad. For a laugh, check out the ‘org.chews’ package in the source. ‘chews’ is the nickname he goes by.

  15. I think it’s good for you to point this out–but, in my opinion it’s really not a problem. First, it was a live demo and what you say live isn’t always stated perfectly. If his intention was to make people believe he wrote all the supporting libraries himself then that would be offensive. But do you really think that was his point? He was showing this stuff to the TED audience and he said he wrote software to do it. Didn’t he have to write some code? Sure, he used libraries–but should he have also mentioned he didn’t actually write the printer driver for his computer to print that AR barcoode on paper? Did he manufacture the paper? Did he write the drivers for the webcam? Sure–he should have mentioned the key libraries he used. But, I mean, his point was you don’t need a ton or barely any specialized equipment and software to make it work.

    I say, keep pointing out his generalizations, but give him a break at the same time.

    • UnitZeroOne says:

      @Philips Kerman if that was the case I’d agree. But he IS taking credit for it. If you read this post, you can see on how he even says in the interview that “we” ported JARToolkit to work with Flash. That’s not forgetting something live. That’s being untruthful and it seems to be for his own good only.
      That being said, his other quotes, like “Using ONLY Adobe Flash”, “I wrote some software” and “we managed…” doesn’t point to fumbling with words live onstage. It’s taking credit.

      Also, his source files show there’s hardly any code he has written, rather bunching up some tutorials and taking that. It’s hardly more then 60 minutes worth of work. With the balance between 100′s of hours spent on both FLARToolkit and Papervision3D and 1 being spent on his side, a mention rather then saying “I wrote some software” seems to be the right thing to do.

  16. Erik says:

    Hi Ralph,
    Fail Chris……. what else is there to say? He’s benefiting from the fact that most people out there have never seen this new technology. Good to collectively boycot this guy for this steal. Keep twittering….

  17. Dev says:

    its sad to see people exploiting opensource and TED , cheap stunt ! I hope it boomerangs back to him…

  18. I really don’t sympathize with what he did. Stand up or not it was not okay. “In stress the personality of a human reveals” – right? I remember myself doing that (in a lot less offensive way) as a child and never ever thought of doing same thing afterwards.

    Now he should take his time (this time seriously) and excuse for what he did in a open letter adressed to TED. Its important that he gets this chance to bring it back to okay.

    If he doesn’t take his chance i think Saqoosha, Mikko or you should speak up more on it. TED is not just a small event – it has a very high influence and therefore treating it lightly is not the solution.

  19. Matthew Trost says:

    Hello Ralph et al,

    I work with TED, and want to let you know we are working quickly to fix this.

    Right now we’re on the phone with Chris Hughes, who first of all sends his sincere apologies for neglecting to mention FLARToolkit and Papervision3D on stage. When Chris showed us the software off stage at TED, we jumped at the chance to show it to our audience, and swooped him up to the stage after a very short prep time! He was careful to mention that his work was based on the work of many others in an interview immediately following the talk (

    This is such an astonishing development in software, and we want to make sure those who participated in it do not feel cheated. We’re going to add prominent acknowledgments to the video and our blog posts so our audience is clear about the work and talent that went into the toolkits that were the basis for what Chris presented. If you have any questions or further suggestions, please email me — we’re listening. I hope this helps, and thank you for your understanding.


  20. Matthew Trost says:

    Dear Ralph et al,

    I want to let you know that TED is working quickly to fix this.

    First of all, we’re speaking on the phone with Chris Hughes, who sends his sincere apologies for neglecting to mention FLARToolkit and Papervision3D on stage. When Chris showed us the software off stage at TED, we jumped at the chance to show it to our audience, and swooped him up to the stage after a very short prep time! He was also careful to mention that he based his project on the work of many others in the interview that followed his talk (

    This is such an astonishing development in software, and we want to make sure those who participated in it do not feel cheated. We’re going to add prominent acknowledgments to the video and our blog posts so our audience is clear about the work and talent that went into the toolkits that were the basis for what Chris presented. If you have any questions or further suggestions, please email me — we’re listening.

    • UnitZeroOne says:

      @Matthew Trost Thank you for your reply from TED’s side. So far, a comment or apology from Chris Hughes himself is yet to be seen.
      Thank you for adding the links to the TED pages. Appreciated. But I disagree, this is merely a fluke by lack of preperation or time on stage. In the interview you’ve held with Chris later, he clearly states he’s responsible for porting ARToolkit to Flash. All in all, together with the taking credit during his presentation (he’s not only forgetting to mention our projects, he’s taking credit) it just feels really bad.

      The basis of what Chris presented is all there is to talk about. Nearly 99% of the work (as shown by the source files), are not his. For him to take the stage for that 1%, claim credit and then continue that during the interview is more then just a fluke caused by stage panic.

  21. Eder Lima says:

    Every developer or student (like me) in world that stay focused on new techonologies already knows pv3d and some knows flartoolkit too.

    That episode was a shame. He looks like a decompiler, do the something wrong.


    Sorry by my bad english.
    Eder, from Brazil :)

  22. It’s a shame Chris presented the way he did. With experience speaking in front of others on flash technologies, it can be easy to slip up or forget to mention things due to nerves. Giving Chris the benefit of the doubt, maybe he forgotto dive more into the real developers, and instead just glossed over them.

    Better luck next time Chris.

  23. qbunt says:

    I think it’s pretty clear in the video that he is taking a decent amount of credit for work others have done. An audience who hasn’t seen this stuff before is, of course, going to be amazed at it, and in awe that he could do something like this ‘on his own’. “Wrote some software that uses some open source libraries” might have been a little more appropriate, and not pissed quite so many people off.

    Also, TED is a handy place to have people amazed by things you show off onstage. Really handy if you didn’t spend any time on them either.

  24. Iain says:

    This is an absolute disgrace. It’s his repeated use of the words “I” and “we” in the video that show he trying to pass these achievements off as his own. If he had wanted to talk generally about what is now possible in Flash, but without going into exact detail, he could have used phrases like “now you can…” and “an open source project allows you to…”. But no, instead he spends his 2 minutes taking false credit and milking applause.

    Let’s see how badly his name gets dragged through the mud…

  25. Peter says:

    Best thing about his talk are the source files he provides on his website.
    He obvisously just ripped the tutorial made by and actually did not even bother to rename the files like “mikko.pat”.

    In my honest opinion it is already very poor taking credits for other people technologies but then taking a tutorial about those and make a presentation about, hell, what the f***k?

  26. From the TED site, posted by one Matthew Trost:

    I want to let everyone know that TED is working quickly to fix the missing acknowledgments.

    We’re speaking on the phone with Chris Hughes, who sends his sincere apologies for neglecting to mention FLARToolkit and Papervision3D on stage. When Chris showed us the software off stage at TED, we jumped at the chance to show it to our audience, and swooped him up to the stage after a very short prep time! He was also careful to mention that he based his project on the work of many others in his TED Blog interview.

    This is such an astonishing development in software, and we want to make sure those who participated in it do not feel cheated. We’re going to add prominent acknowledgments to the video and our blog posts so our audience is clear about the work and talent that went into the toolkits that were the basis for what Chris presented. If you have any questions or further suggestions, please contact me — we’re listening.

    Sounds like a lot of noise about not much.

    I’ll side with Chris Hughes, against the overly pedantic, on this one. It’s hard enough to say anything in 2 minutes. To say it right and without making slips is not something I’d expect of anyone other than a PR professional.

    Before you say “but he clearly said that…” think of how much pressure you’d feel standing on the TED stage with just 2 minutes to make everyone go “Wow!”. In those conditions, your brain will be focused on something other than making sure everyone gets a mention.

    For those pointing at the blog for evidence, I doubt Chris Hughes wrote that blog post himself. It was probably based on his talk and some quick chatter with the writer. So it’s just an amplification of a slip.

  27. Again, I think you’re right to challenge him. But, at what point do you say you built something new vs. built something using tools that were developed by others? For example, say I produce a video–do I say I made it or do I say that I used this software… that camera… etc.?

    I’m just being argumentative–but do you REALLY think Chris’s whole idea was that he’d convince everyone he “invented” it?

  28. Fabianv says:


    Its really odd how he overlooked giving credit when there’s so many tutorials and examples like the one he showed and he acted like what he’s showing is so cutting edge and unique. I’m happy that the Flash community could jump on this so fast and TED responding to this issue shows that its possible to voice your concerns very easily and spread the word like wildfire – especially thanks to twitter :)

  29. I agree with Ralph, the apology needs to come from Chris and not the folks at TED. The person presenting should always be prepared, and well inform the audience on what they are presenting, making sure the topic and resources are all presented clearly and in an appropriate manner which the audience will find informative, educational, and acceptable.

    There was some failure on TED’s side by not screening the content to make sure the proper sources were acknowledge and that the presentation was appropriate, but I see this more as failure from the speaker by misleading both TED and the audience on what his was presenting.

    Hence, the problem here is that the speaker was misleading, and for such behavior the speaker needs to issue both an explanation and apology to TED and everyone involved on the technologies he used in his demo and presentation.

  30. Pingback: Open Source Rip off and the TED conference | Chad Vavra

  31. Rob McCardle says:

    This was really out of order, well done for calling him out on his behaviour

  32. wesgrubbs says:

    I agree with UnitZeroOne on the TED response. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had very little prep time before a presentation and I recently did a demo with the FLARToolkit where I actually did extend the code to have some features for having multi-marker detection and calculations of crowd data, yet I clearly stated that I used FLARToolkit with PV3D and part of the squidder framework that I further extended. Why? They deserve every bit of respect and credit for the work they have done. And why don’t I give credit to Apple or Logitech for the hardware I used? There are many reasons, one being that they are already acknowledged in their feats and their logo (with price) gives them that credit. You can argue to such a macro-level of credit to say I should give god credit for the air I breath while giving the presentation, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about what you are demonstrating for the audience. The reason you were invited to speak. And clearly giving yourself credit for work you did not do is ethically wrong. TED, I am not bashing you. We all know, and many of us who attended Flashbelt this year know too well, that you cannot control the content of your speakers. This,however, does not protect you from us speaking out in time of error, such as this. Chris Hughes needs to do more than apologize. His TED presentation should be removed from the TED site. He should not even be given credit for speaking and an apology should be posted in place of his presentation.

  33. gianni310 says:

    Check it out, NEW AR…. Zugara Launches Online Shopping App Utilizing Augmented Reality And Motion Capture

  34. Tom says:

    To quote his website which was written afterwards. “I build..”. All this reflects that this hoax was made on purpose.

    “Is today the day that I build something cool enough to get my ass invited to TED?”

    That pervasive thought and goal skewed everything that I did and it’s with that constant focus on excelling that finally got me an invite to go! With invite in hand, all I had to figure out was how to pay for it. DAMNIT.

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  36. MickyMike says:

    obviously Chris Hughes has no shame

  37. ryan says:

    Wow some people have no shame. It probably took him 2-3 seconds to search for all that hard work he did. I agree if you have the stage and are presenting the work of many, you give them credit. What a wasted opportunity for this guy, and the work of the flash community. He could have been a champion of work done and highlighted the groups like libspark and pv3d, but some people are like this…

  38. Reyonen says:

    What a bunch of bitchy little schoolgirls. From what I gather, Chris was rushed up on stage and smegged up by not mentioning the dev teams for the two projects in the few minutes he was up there. A mistake, but not one to villify the man over.

    In every other interview/comment/blog post I’ve seen from Chris, he mentions both projects, and credits the dev team.

    I don’t know the guy, but I get the feeling Chris understands how the internet works. To those of you getting the pitchforks and torches out, do you really think that Chris would stand up on stage at TED and claim credit for open source projects that are well documented on multiple websites? Are you kidding me?

    The guy geeked out on what he was showing people and dropped the ball on giving credit where it was due. He chose his words poorly. Let him own up to it, and let’s move on from this bullsmeg.

  39. Matt says:

    What pisses me off is that Flartoolkit and the extensive community who have helped develop it are already achieving amazing things way beyond the crappy video this tool is crowing about.

    I worked with Zerofractal in Columbia recently on this project.

    Those guys are true geniuses if you ask me.

  40. Erik says:

    @Phillip Kerman: you’re so wrong on this. The achievements of mixing a 3D digital model with realworld 3D space is exactly what other’s have already achieved and shown, but Chris Hughes sells it as being his own achievement. 100% of what you’ve seen is made by others.

    Hoax or no hoax. He will from now on be the one that carries the name “that guy who built that awesome AR-tool for the browser” among the general tech-public (like TED visitors). Great for his income of course……

  41. Mark says:

    As someone who is self-deprecating and who shares credit with others to a fault, I’d just like to say: there is a reason why I do that. Jerks like Chris who habitually use speech patterns that elevate themselves do not deserve a place at the TED podium.

  42. Tim Knip says:

    10 print “Chris Hughes #FAIL”
    20 goto 10

  43. one of these post’s is not like the other… one of these post’s just isn’t the same… doodedoodoo…

    I can’t talk, I have taken credit for using open source libraries in my projects before, but only because the people giving prop’s don’t even know what a open source library is…

    Despite the apology, it still looks to me like he intentionally sought to get put on stage touting FLARToolkit as his own creation. I would have thought one of the FIRST thing’s out of his mouth would be “this is a demo of an open source library”…

  44. sonicoliver says:

    “…The congratulatory words and requests to understand how it works filled most of the remainder of my day…”

    Yeah awesome, tell us how it work’s Chris! I’m a better flash dev than you and even I don’t know!

  45. I see two problems with this talk at TED. The first is that obviously, as many people have pointed out, that no credit was given in the talk (or even alluded to).

    The second problem is that the demonstration was not that impressive. Maybe its because I run an AR website and see lots of innovative demonstrations on a regular basis, but I thought it was mediocre. I expect more from TED (videos like Sixth Sense are more what I expect). Even some stuff like this:


    are more impressive.

    Either way, he should directly appologize to all those that have developed what he presented.

  46. Pat says:

    Can you say WITCH HUNT? When I tell someone I wrote a piece of software I *don’t* follow it up with a list of all the open source goodness that helped make it happen. There are all kinds of Open Source tools in ColdFusion – so if I write a cool webservice in CF (which uses the apache open source axis engine) does that mean I have to tell everyone “well I didn’t really write this, someone else did and I just utilized the tool”?

    I think not! Tell me – in the documentation of these two engines mentioned, did YOU give praise to those tools you used to help create it? Your Linux OS? You OS code editor?

    Now, if he stood up on stage and showed a demo that he did not write, that is one thing — but if he spent time writing some code (that utilized someone elses libraries) that he DID write an application and he has full right to say that. He did NOT say (from what I read) that he said he wrote the LIBRARIES or that he wrote EVERY single line of code – he said “I wrote a piece of software”.

    Is that dishonest? Did he really “write a piece of software”? You bet he did, and people have to quit overreacting about stuff like this. Scan your hard drive for any illegal music or software first, THEN you can start pointing fingers.

    By the way, if you check out his web site you can find occurrences where he says “I did not come up with this, so-and-so did” — given that, why all of a sudden would he turn-tail and not do it on this one?

    I accept his argument that he just plain forgot — I speak in front of people all the time and forget things I wanted to say as well.

    Please people – take a chill pill and quit poisoning our society with your knee-jerk reactions…..

    • UnitZeroOne says:

      @Reyonen @Pat Showing a demo he hardly wrote any code on is exactly what he did. Most of his demo source code comes directly from a tutorial. There’s hardly any of his source code in there. He hardly did anything with both libraries (if not just nothing) which they don’t do directly out of the box, or which came with the tutorial. “I wrote some software….” should have been, I wrote 20 lines of code.

  47. The context (that he was rushed onto stage for an impromptu demo) makes a huge difference to me. If the TED conference had sought him out as the “flash AR guy” then it would have been a mistake. When I first saw the video I first thought “since when do they have regular old Flash people presenting at TED?”. But it wasn’t like that. And, unless he really did intend to suggest that he came up with all of that I say give him some slack. Give him an opportunity to explain and say sorry as appropriate.

    The fact he simply modified a tutorial slightly is interesting for us geeks calling him out as a hack–but it’s hardly relevant (to me) regarding this “hoax”. For certain, he should have said “thanks to all the crazy code and libraries out there, I can make this with very little work”.

    In light of this and Hossgate I’m going to start including a clear disclaimer before every presentation I make. Wait, no, I’m just going to keep doing stuff not caring about this. In fact, I think Ralph’s point here is well taken. It don’t totally agree with every point–but he has every right to point this out… and he should. However, it’s the reaction and how it seems to grow via twitter that I’m more concerned about. I guess instead of a disclaimer, I’ll have my apologies ready in advance.

    • UnitZeroOne says:

      Philip, I think that the defence of him being “rushed on stage” is somewhat debunked, but Chris his own blogpost about his awesome TED Experience. Here he explains how he actively sought out to corner one of the conference curators to show them his awesome demo.

      quote :
      “I know you have lots of people who approach you about speaking here at TED, but if I could have one minute of your time, just one minute, I SWEAR I WILL BLOW YOUR MIND. If you say no, I’ll totally understand but MAN I SWEAR you’ll love it and if you don’t… well, then you will have seen a crumby demo.”

      While in fact, this demo was a modified tutorial to show 2 open source projects. There’s nothing moral left there. There’s max 60 minutes of work in his modification of the demo. While he was sturdy enough to mention his own name twice, he entirely forgot to mention the 2 project which are 95% of the work, the tutorial which is the other 4%. But he’s promising people demo’s to be able to speak.

      Beyond that post and the first interview there’s no mention of the projects. I would cut him some slack, but the evidence and his current response on his blog, seems like he maintains the fact that he actually built anything. Which, unfortunately for him, “his” source code doesn’t really point too.

  48. Well–I think us-two aren’t going to change much–though, the exact details of the situation are interesting and this idea that he was thrown up on stage could be my misinterpretation.

    I had an interesting experience the other day: a fellow teacher came into my classroom and said “Phillip, you gotta come see this thing” and I asked what it was but he just wanted me to come over to his classroom to see it. Well, I insisted that he tell me and then he just said “G.E.” and I said “augmented reality?” and he was like “how did you know?”. He thought I was a mind reader. I thought this was interesting. There’s a lot you can draw from this story. Little of it really applies to the issue at hand, but I think it’s interesting.

  49. Zimmer says:

    This took a while to come out. When I first saw the demo some time back I was impressed by the video and decided to look at his source. After doing so, I was surprised at how it was just a demo of the libraries and that much of it was taken from a tutorial easily googled. Then I though that he must have been a major contributor to the ar library and left it at that. Now that this has come to light, I wonder how much of his other work is legitimate. Is he really the first guy to crack the iPhone? He claimed he did, so I figured he must be part of the powned crew. But now I wonder. And if he cracked it, was he just following another tutorial?

    This just sucks for the guy.

  50. Devin Reimer says:

    My jaw was on the floor watching his TED video, he tried to play everybody like he created something great. His use of the word ‘We’ in both the video and the interview was shocking. I’m glad TED is dealing with this, but I wish Chris would give an apology. His last tweet about the issue was instead defensive.

  51. The video is not removed, but there is a new version online with an 8 second (1) full screen disclaimer crediting FLARToolkit and Papervision3D.
    Here is a screenshot from the new Podcast from TED.

  52. simppa says:

    Opportunist.. possible the darkest shadow of human personality. This childish behavior should fade into healthy ambition at some point in progression of psyche.

    Mr. Hughes most likely learned his lesson, despite he doesn’t clearly admit it.


  53. Jankees says:

    I am a bit disapointed by TED, the disclamer is no solution… They should have deleted it right away!

  54. OneRepublic says:

    Why did Ted allow Chris to demo FLARToolkit, when really Saqoosha should have been the one to demo it? Why didn’t Ted check to see where the FLARToolkit technology originated from?

    Shows that Ted is not doing their due diligence. Any conman can basically just walk up to Ted and get to speak at their conference. Very disappointed with Ted organizers.

    After watching the original video, it’s obvious that Chris is attempting to take credit for FLARToolkit. Bad news for Chris is that he is going to be treated like a leper in the FLARToolkit community from now on. Serves him right.

  55. Pingback: PixelSalad blog » Blog Archive » Le monde et l’opensource et ses hypocrisies

  56. Nek says:

    This guy needs good spanking. He managed to completely twist the spirit of open source.
    To keep the real spirit he had to say “The most mind blowing about AR in Flash anyone with decent programming skills can do it using FLARToolkit”.

    His speech sounds like shameless self promotion.
    I hope TED TALKS step up and apologize.

  57. Joe Crawford says:

    I can’t say I’m a friend of Chris, but I’ve seen him speak twice over the past several years at two different BarCampLA – the first time he had done some hardware hacking on the just-released Chumby, and the second time he was talking about the process of reverse engineering iPhone APIs and iPhone development. He seems like an affable fellow as well. He’s not a poseur, but a tinkerer of the first order. I didn’t get a sense that he’s the asshole and idea-stealer that some comments imply. Personally I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt about the lack of attribution in what was a VERY short TED talk (most talks TED posts as video seem to be in the ten minute range) that he gave with short prep time. I think reasonable people can disagree about how he conducted himself without demonizing him.

  58. To your update2: I am very sure that the opposite power (the one of TED) is far higher than yours. To not try to call out on someone personally seems to be standard in the flash community. Things are discussed (for a long time if I recall properly) not directly. For what reason soever.

    Publishing your personal disagree-statement before calling out on Chris might not be the fine-english-way to handle it – it surely created a lot of hot-fuzz which might all have not been necessary – but: its not unjustified to do so. It was not just an issue that he made a mistake in first place but also that TED doesn’t check up on what they published and furthermore that his reaction was inadequate. In fact I think that problems like that are now more unlikely to happen @TED which leaves a good feeling for this whole action. It was necessary. Thanks for raising our voice.

  59. ChrisKilledTheTEDdyBear says:

    The really sad part is that Chris Hughes didn’t even bother to change the marker image he used in his TED talk, he is using Saqoosha’s original “hiro” marker. Furthermore, if you look at the code he put up on his blog, it’s a straight copy and paste of Saqoosha’s and Miko H.’s code! Makes me sick, this. Chris Hughes is not even really apologetic, he’s just trying to cover his ass!

    TED should remove Chris Hughes video on their site, it’s just a mockery of everything the open source and FLARToolkit community stands for. It’s people like Chris who cause the real innovators like Saqoosha to have second thoughts on sharing their work via open source, which would be a great loss to the open source community.

    A tale of two fools this: Chris Hughes and TED organizers.

    One, a fool for trying to con the world, the other for allowing itself to be the platform for the con. TED organizers, where is your due diligence? Shame on you and shame on Chris Hughes.

  60. Devin Reimer says:

    Ralph, there is a few good things that have come out of this, that possibly wouldn’t if you would have contact Chris directly. TED might not have had to rethink what people are presenting and as for the whole community people now people might really think carefully about how they present items based on other peoples work.
    While giving Chris the benefit of the doubt and contacting him first might have been the best course of action, it makes sense to me why this was done instead, as I also was very angry after watching that video and reading that interview.

  61. jlee says:

    Unit Dude, why are you apologizing. It’s Chris Hughes and TED should be apologizing, not you. It’s a good think that you called him out on his con, otherwise who knows hom much more damage this moron would have caused. Don’t apologize to crooks for doing the right thing.

    Call a spade a spade. Chris Hughes tried to fool people and this is his reward, well-deserved. If I was his boss, I would sack him for bringing my company into disrepute.

    People like Chris Hughes are poster childs for the ills of modern day America: love of celebrity without any Character. American Idol contestants are more important than the millions of people who dedicate their lives to real useful and valuable contributions to society.

    Grow up, America.

  62. Tarwin says:

    Seems TED has removed the video. I’m kind of glad I didn’t get to watch it!

    It kind of annoys me that this keeps happening, stealing peoples ideas by forgetting to give them credit. Exactly the same thing happened a few months ago with a video released by Boffswana, ARToolkit and Papervision3D ( The thing there is that they kind of credit PV3D, but no mention of ARToolkit, and it wasn’t until someone presumably decompiled their source and posted a comment on their blog that we knew what it was. They also rightly note that the AR toolkit is GPL so Boffswana should rightly be putting all source code for their project with the example, including all source for the 3D animation.

    It’s interesting to note they’ve now got some kind of commercial license with the AR toolkit peeps – but I wonder who gets the money? Converting things from Java to Flash is ridiculously easy, optimising is of course a skill, but actually going from one to the other is quite simple. C to Java is a lot harder. Now being a “port” does that mean all people down the chain get monies from this kind of thing? Does the guy who wrote the original code, or does “porting” something make it new?

    I was also reading today that Jenova Chen (one of the guys who made flOw) just found a complete rip off of his game ( for iPhone – it seems the guy who made it put a not that it is a “fan version” only after Jenova contacted him (/her).

    It’s all kind of sickening to me, but at the same time it’s a great reminder to make sure I give credit where credit is due. Both to be nice and to cover my arse!

  63. Tarwin says:

    “It opened door to all kinds of interesting people.”

    I really feel that’s what it boils down to. He “stole” someone elses fame. Someone elses pat on the back. Was recognized because of someone elses work.

    I know it can be hard, in the heat of the moment when you’re talking about something you’re passionate about you can forget it’s not yours, it becomes yours. But come on, he was even told by Grant Skinner when he left the stage that he’d made a mistake. He could have mentioned that sheepishly in his TED blog post, given credit and apologised for the oversight but he didn’t even take that chance. And now the simpsons image on his blog like he’s being vilified unjustly!

    Fair enough he was the guy who broke the iPhone, and all credit to jim for it, and he should be proud about that. But this doesn’t give him the right to steal other peoples limelight to accomplish his own dreams.

    This all said I think this is a lesson for us all, so thanks Chris, you’ve made a horrid mistake so I hope we are mindfull of not making the same embarrasmemt ourselves. I personally almost made the same mistake with a project I was working on, luckily a friend who had also worked obit put me straight, angrily which was fair enough, so when I had an interview about the project I was all praise for the rest of the crew and it made it the best I’d done. And lucky, I thought it was just going to be on a small website somewhere, but somehow made it onto Gamasutra!

    So a warning too. As much as Chris made a mistake it could happen to you too. Now WE as a community have to work out how he can make it right, we can make it right, and how we can help this from happening again.

  64. Ob1kn00b says:

    One thing, *the video has gone*.

    No free open source PR.

    Nobody new budgeting for the Big Flash Blowout Super-Coolness Project.

    Big Flash Blowout Super-Coolness Project-Leader visited TED, and found hyper-talented flash developers, VIRTUAL HANDBAGS IN HAND.


  65. ChrisPantsOnFire says:

    Ralph, note that Mikko’s tutorial is based on original code created by Saqoosha, Mikko himself says this on his blog.

    As for Chris Hughes, unfortunately there are egomaniacs like this who love taking credit for other people’s work.

    TED should write a disclaimer saying that Chris Hughes lied and cheated to get on their conference, to make things crystal clear.

    This week has been weird. First this TED nonsense, then had to endure the shit Transformers 2, and today Michael Jackson is dead.

  66. jlee says:

    If you want to learn how to use FLARToolkit to make Flash-enabled augmented reality, just read the following tutorials:

    If you download the code that Chris Hughe’s put on his blog for his TED talk, you will realise that he just modified the code from the above tutorials, and then went on TED claiming that he created Flash-enabled augmented reality.

    The bottomline is, Chris Hughes lied to get on TED. Once on the TED stage, he further lied saying that he was responsible for the technology behind Flash-enabled augmented reality, when he knew all along that he had nothing to do with creating the FLARToolkit or Papervision3D software libraries.

    Chris Hughes tried to take credit for work he did not do. And now he is refusing to acknowledge that he lied on stage at TED.

    Just imagine the next Augmented Reality or Adobe Flash Developer conference: Chris Hughes is going to be a huge laughing stock.

  67. Pingback: Credit Wars Made Easy « Games Alfresco

  68. jlee says:

    Look at this post that Chris Hughes made on January 15, 2009:

    So on January 15 2009, Chris Hughes clearly knew that you needed Papervision3D and FLARToolkit to create Flash-enabled augmented reality.

    How is it that in February 2009, on the TED stage, Chris Hughes CONVENIENTLY forgets all about Papervision3D and FLARToolkit, and dishonestly claims to be the brains behind Flash-enabled augmented reality?

    Be a man and tell the truth, Chris Hughes.

    Note that Chris Hughes TED talk was recorded in February 2009, but only placed on the TED website a few days ago. This means that Chris Hughes had 4 MONTHS to put things straight and yet he CHOSE TO LIE THROUGH HIS TEETH, including lying on his post-talk interview.

    Chris Hughes says that he “ported the Java version of ARToolkit over to Flash.” Any Flash developer worth his salt knows that THIS IS A LIE. FLARToolkit was ported over from Java by Saqoosha, an interactive developer based in Japan.

    Chris Hughes claims all this is a mistake and he didn’t mean it. However, if you look at the evidence, it’s clear that everything Chris Hughes did was PREMEDITATED. He planned then carried out his fraudulent scheme: from lying to get on TED, to lying on stage at TED, to lying at his post-talk interview – all on the back of other people’s work, believing he would not get caught. And he hid this lie for 4 MONTHS.

    Chris Hughes, you did get caught. YOU ARE A LIAR AND A FRAUD, plain and simple.

  69. Pingback: The dangers of taking credit for open-source software | oke entertainment

  70. Scott Roberts says:

    I’ve not read all the posts but I HOPE a HUGE point was not missed.

    Flash as a platform was just on TED.

    Remember when Microsoft’s Photosynth / Seadragon made a huge buzz … yep tiles. Done in Flash before that video? Yep.

    I hear what your saying about Chris – he should answer the emails …

    But let’s look at the positive – the Flash platform was just on TED and that’s good for all of us.

    Now that that gift horse is kicked in the mouth and the video is down we’re all loosing.

    Is there still time to get those involved in the primary projects putting together a compelling demo for another presentation on TED?


  71. nathan says:

    seriously funny – not what he did that sucks – what Paul pointed out above
    download his source:
    check the code in org.chews

    seriously funny (and not in a geeky way)

  72. Pingback: Trident and animations in augmented reality « Pushing Pixels

  73. tonybee says:

    This guy deserves his very own wikipedia page under the heading:

    Chris Hughes (Flash Augmented Reality Hoax)

  74. Pingback: Augmented reality made easy | Dr Shock MD PhD

  75. Tarwin says:

    More Sqark Toolkit with no reference: – why why why!

  76. Matt Bolt says:


    Hahahahahaha! Those are the best comments I have ever read + a great shaming in the article. Wish I had found this blog earlier.

  77. Jason says:

    chris hughes = mucking foron

    look at his blog and twitter page, enough said.

  78. Chris sucks! and u did well on not emailing him to ask for anything. did he email u and other pv3d team members asking for your forgiveness? F$CK chris. TEd as low standarts anyway…

  79. Piss on Chris says:

    FLARToolkit and Augmented Reality

    Back in November 2008, a group of Japanese coders, working largely under the radar, unveiled a project that redefined many ActionScript developers’ ideas of what the language could do. FLARToolkit, developed primarily by Tomohiko Koyama (aka Saqoosha), introduced augmented reality to the web, and to a large segment of the population as a whole.

    FLARToolkit is the latest in a series of ports of ARToolkit, an augmented reality C++ library originally developed by Dr. Hirokazu Kato at the Human Interface Technology Lab at University of Washington. With the advent of ActionScript 3.0, developers like Mario Klingemann and others began experimenting with realtime image analysis techniques for Flash Player. Saqoosha picked up on this, and ported FLARToolkit from NYARToolkit, a Java/C#/Android port of ARToolkit.

    See full article at:

    Chris Hughes got caught with his pants down.

  80. Pingback: Annie Ok : tangent » interesting 6.28.09

  81. Cedric says:

    All of this is just pathetic. Both from Chris and Ralph. Are you kids or adults ?

  82. Cedric says:

    I think you just loose your time; people who plagiarize the others simply fall in abyss in a very short time.

    But the most important: you give a bad image of yourself with all this quarrel. Don’t be angry because someone copy you… just be proud !!!

  83. Jeebeeman says:

    @Cedric: are you Chris Hughes in disguise? No one in his right mind would defend this rotten scumbag. Ralph did the right thing by exposing Chris Hughe’s fraud, before Chris went on Oprah proclaiming “I’M THE FLAR KING OF THE WORLD!”

    @Piss on Chris: I would add that Chris Hughes got caught with his pants down, while sucking his dick.

  84. Cedric says:

    Ralph, I understand, but don’t forget that PV3D is under MIT Licence.

    So the “plagiarism” is simply a non-sense in this context.

    • UnitZeroOne says:

      @cedric using the source in any way you like in one way is one thing. Claiming both Flartoolkit and Papervision3D as being “the software you wrote” is something else, especially on a stage like TED. Again, in academic circles he would now have been banned for life.

  85. xpez2000 says:

    what a little child. it so much better to give credit to others and actually share in something that is much bigger than oneself.

    This is like Crystal Castles lifting samples from another band’s songs and promoting the riff as their own work…

    These little internet kids coming along are worrisome little twats..

  86. c using the source in any way you like in one way is one thing. Claiming both Flartoolkit and Papervision3D as being “the software you wrote” is something else, especially on a stage like TED. Again, in academic circles he would now have been banned for life.

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