I got a thing for song lyrics…mostly because I find that song lyrics are a great tool to get a message across quickly and provide a platform for interaction. So while I was researching this blog I ran across a song by Magellan (whom I hadn’t heard before and found they sound kind of like Yes) called Virtual Reality. The lyrics really caught my eye, particularly this snippet…“Could we see clearer in a virtual reality? Could we be together in a virtual reality?”
It got me thinking about some of the recent augmented reality projects I have found really inspiring. In a nutshell my answer to both of the questions posed in the song is a resounding yes!
Togetherness via virtual/augmented reality is no brainer in my opinion, I mean I do work at Cisco and we use tools like TelePresence, Tandberg and Webex (to name a few) to connect virtually with our colleagues around the globe on a daily basis. But togetherness can be defined in many different ways. It could mean bringing a group of people literally together, creating a structured experience for like-minded individuals to engage with and contribute to, or providing a vehicle for people to make and maintain connections.
I love this example of TelePresence being used to connect two different groups of people together to enable a interactive experience that could change the lives of the participants.
One of the coolest examples I have seen of how AR can be used to create a fun but world changing experience is the Conspiracy for Good project created by Tim Kring, the creator of the TV show Heroes. Tim’s goal with the project was to create a narrative that people could engage with and take to the streets. He thought it would be cool (and I couldn’t agree more) to create an always on story via engagement opportunities on your laptop, mobile phone, sidewalks, music or bus stop. But his goals didn’t stop there he wanted to create a story that allowed the participants to have an impact on the story arch but more importantly create positive change in the real world by integrating a philanthropic mission into the narrative itself.
But how can virtual/augmented reality impact our clarity?
Much like togetherness, clarity can be assessed in a variety ways. For example seeing clearly to navigate yourself or a piece of machinery through day to day activities, understanding a product being considered for purchase in more depth so you make an informed decision before spending your hard earned cash, or finding easier ways to digest the mass amount of information available.
This video really struck me because my least favorite part of shopping is the time spent to cull through the store and then hauling the stuff to the dressing room. I get peeved when I don’t go through that process and instead just grab and go, only to find out the item purchased doesn’t work for me. Total waste of my time and money L The solution being showed here gives me hope that I won’t dread the shopping experience and instead might actually enjoy the hunt
Another example of augmented reality enabling quicker clarity is Google Goggles. This Android application lets you use pictures taken with your mobile phone to search the web. All you have to do is open the app, snap a picture, and wait for your search results.
So much as I love Jamiroquai I don’t think our love of technology has to equal virtual insanity. I think we are just scratching the surface on how we can tap technology to truly impact our world and bridge the divisions of place/time/culture. I also think we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how technology can impact our day to day life activities and make them simpler and easier to navigate. I for one am looking forward to getting all that time spent shopping back in the near future!