%HTMLlat1; %HTMLsymbol; %HTMLspecial; ]> Augmented Reality Heels
Roland van Ipen­burg
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Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty Heels

Tues­day 18 Au­gust 2009 02:16

Ac­cord­ing to the hype cy­cle I should be com­plain­ing about La­yar. So here we go. Airtag­ging isn't aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty. Aug­ment­ed re­al­i­ty was orig­i­nal­ly a workaround used in vir­tu­al re­al­i­ty. In times where there wasn't any hard­ware to ren­der a be­liev­able vir­tu­al re­al­i­ty en­vi­ron­ment it would re­al­ly pay off to keep every­thing that wouldn't need to be vir­tu­al just real, and use all the pro­cess­ing pow­er avail­able on just a tiny part of the com­plete en­vi­ron­ment and over­lay that on the per­fect­ly be­liev­able real re­al­i­ty. But la­yar doesn't even come close to that. It's not im­mer­sive or even 3D, it's some lame Live-ac­tion/an­i­mat­ed film kind of way to present an in­ter­face, while the whole point of Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty is that there is no in­ter­face. But they need the in­ter­face be­cause that is the in your face way of de­liv­er­ing ads. There is no point for la­yar in try­ing to blend the over­lay into the re­al­i­ty in a be­liev­able way be­cause that would only make it hard­er for them to have their con­tent com­pete with the over­load of con­tent that is al­ready avail­able in re­al­i­ty. It's just re­hashed lo­ca­tion based con­tent that makes nice youtube videos, but in re­al­i­ty you're not go­ing to point your cam­era phone around just to match it's view with some over­lay.

But if we look be­yond the mind­set of the graph­i­cal ad push­ing mar­ke­teers, there's a way big­ger op­por­tu­ni­ty. My fa­vorite work for Ken­ny Petro­vić is to es­cort his daugh­ter and her pret­ty friends. Run­ning around look­ing for a suit­able four-door car then gives you the ef­fect of three pairs of heels click­ing be­hind you. Trans­lat­ed to Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty's nat­ur­al first per­son view that means there is no sig­nif­i­cant need to graph­i­cal­ly ren­der a per­son that is al­ways be­hind you. Just the sounds can be very con­vinc­ing. And in­stead of awk­ward­ly hold­ing up a small screen of a phone, the au­dio part of a Glasstron is just the pair of stereo ear­phones that your phone al­ready has. The au­dio part of a phone is thus more suit­ed for se­ri­ous Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty than it's screen. And your phone also has a mic. So in­stead of the crap­py graph­i­cal/touchy ap­proach, why not drop that in­ter­face and de­liv­er lo­ca­tion based con­tent in an in­ter­ac­tive au­dio stream? Un­til we have enough mo­bile pro­cess­ing pow­er for an Aug­ment­ed Real­i­ty that ren­ders Lara Croft in front of us, we can just ren­der the au­dio of that be­hind us. You could even trans­par­ent­ly switch a con­ver­sa­tion to a real per­son when the canned in­for­ma­tion is not suf­fi­cient. So you walk on the Nieu­we He­ren­gracht with Auge­ment­ed Real­i­ty heels click­ing be­hind you and you ask what prop­er­ty is for sale around there. She tells you some ad­dress and price. You ask for more info. You ask if you can speak to the re­al­tor. She tells you she saw him just across the street. Sharp whis­tle. Shout­ing be­hind you. Come over here you fuck­ing re­al­tor we want to buy this place! Sounds of a run­ning per­son ap­proach­ing from be­hind. (Un­sus­pect­ing re­al­tor picks up his phone in his of­fice) Good af­ter­noon, re­al­tor here, how can I help you?

You bet I think la­yar is dis­ap­point­ing.

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