24 August 2009

The augmented reality avalanche

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Bruce Sterling on AR
The last few weeks we have witnessed an avalanche of posts about augmented reality.

To begin with there is Bruce – Bruce Sterling that is.

He has been following the trend for months now, all culminating at his excellent keynote speech during the Layar event in Amsterdam.

In his keynote, entitled ““At the Dawn of the Augmented Reality Industry“, Bruce talks about its history, the cool side (“a techno-visionary dream come true”), the dark side (“you are going to get the four horsemen of the apocalypse”) and gives the industry some pointers to be successful (“you’re not going to look like you are looking now”).

Watch it. Seriously.

Other recent contributions on this topic that caught my attention are:

Inside out: interaction design for augmented reality [UX Matters]
by Joe Lamantia
The role of experience design in regard to the inside-out world of augmented reality is critical, because, as [Victor] Vinge also pointed out, “Reality can be whatever the software people choose to make it, and the people operating in the outside, real world choose it to be.” The UX community needs to find ways to participate in and shape this design probe into the experience of everyware. To UX designers of all stripes, this blizzard of AR products offers a collection of prototypes that can help us understand and refine the basic interaction models and experience concepts that will underlay future generations of everyware. UX professionals can offer an essential perspective—as well as substantial history and a critical set of methods and skills—for the creation of delightful, useful, and humane augmented experiences, expanding their relevance and value. This opportunity is upon us now and is ours to grasp—or miss!

Augmented reality? More like awkward hilarity [Wired UK]
by Michael Conroy
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” By overlaying the real (live video) with the virtual (data, images, 3D models), augmented reality (AR) may be the most convincing example of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law of prediction. When it works, that is.

Handsets enhance the real world [BBC News]
by Dan Simmons
Imagine seeing interesting information pop up as you stroll around. It is almost like a sixth sense, and it used to be mainly the stuff of science fiction. But Augmented Reality (AR) – in which live video images like those from mobile phone camera are tagged with relevant data – is starting to be widely available.
Check the Layar video.

Augmented reality: five barriers to a web that’s everywhere[ReadWriteWeb]
by Marshall Kirkpatrick
“The internet smeared all over everything.” An “enchanted window” that turns contextual information hidden all around us inside out. A platform that will be bigger than the Web. Those are the kinds of phrases being used to describe the future of what’s called Augmented Reality (AR), by specialists developing the technology to enable it. Big questions remain unanswered, though, about the viability of what could be a radical next step in humanity’s use of computers.

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