The end of loneliness

Reposted from linkedin


Heard a really sweet story today by Donna Z. Davis, Ph.D. at AWE (Augmented World Expo): she told the audience about an elderly woman with Parkinson’s, who regularly “meets” her tuxedo clad physically distant son (avatar) in VR to go dancing with him. *That’s* the power of VR for me. Not the whiz bang isn’t it cool game stuff, it’s the human element – and how much better it can make people’s lives. On the We Get Real AF Podcast (airing in June) I was asked what I thought the ultimate benefit of VR would be: my answer, without missing a beat, was “The end of loneliness.” And I really believe that. 

#VR #loneliness #VRforhumanity #immersivetech #wegetrealaf #spatialcomputing #AWE2020 #Decahedralist

Reading my mind

Fascinating stuff. And, whoa. The inevitable march towards brain-computer interface continues! “Researchers from Russian corporation Neurobotics and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have found a way to visualize a person’s brain activity as actual images mimicking what they observe in real time. “

We are rapidly moving from keyboard and mouse input – which, although we’ve done it so long that it *seems* natural, but it is not – to spatial input; this is truly an astounding leap towards natural computing.

I applaud the application that this particular work is working towards (helping post-stroke patient with rehabilitation devices controlled by brain signals), but imagine a world where we don’t have to interact with technology – and each other – through screens!

One of the many challenges is that although there is a standard model for brain architecture, everyone has their own variation, so there are no specific templates that can be applied. No doubt there will be a “training” period for the interface. But once “trained” our personal brain reader will be able to function across all interfaces; unless of course Apple and Microsoft put up the usual walled garden model (personal gripe, also true with VR headsets; this game only works with this system etc).

But inevitably, the early stage development is paid off, enough people adopt, the squinky convoluted hoops early adopters need to jump through are ironed out, and mass adoption takes off. And while I realize that true brain computing interface is a long way off, I’m heartened by all the work I’ve seen by teams like this (CTRL-Labs in particular – interestingly, just bought by Facebook) . And hope that it will help the quality of life for both patients with limitations, and mundane every day life.

https://techxplore.com/news/2019-10-neural-network-reconstructs-human-thoughts.html

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Is Projection Mapping Augmented Reality?

Is projection mapping augmented reality?

I’ve been mulling this over on and off since a few years ago, since being utterly mesmerized by Amon Tobin’s projection mapping concert.  And since this made the rounds in 2015. My knee jerk reaction is – no!

Upon further reflection, I’m not so sure. It augments the real world with enhanced data; so why not? Does augmented reality have to mean enhanced information, or does it include *any* data overlay (even just the pretty kind) – and so what if the digital being overlaid, maps to the surface and doesn’t extend it? Does it require that the augmented data only be seen through a screen?

This spectacular example of  projection mapping brought the issue back in my mind.

The Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Energy City installation in Wiess Energy Hall spent 2 years developing this 2,500 square feet cutting edge projection mapping installation, using 32 projectors, 11 media servers, and 6 kilometers of fiber. Called “Energy City”, it’s a 3D miniature landscape representing the city of Houston Texas. Custom content is synced with physical animations to bring the city to life.

Because we’re in the beginning of all of this, there’s a lot of discussion {argument} over semantics. Ref: Kevin Kelly‘s recent Mirrorworld article for Wired answered in short order by Ori Inbar‘s “Mirrorworld v. AR Cloud or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Spatial Future” – where he discusses using the term “Mirrorworld” as that means, reflection, rather than enhancement. AR/VR/XR/MR – what do we *call* it all is a heated discussion right now. While I’m staying out of that one (although for the record’s sake, I prefer “Mixed reality” for it all) – I can live with Projection Mapping being considered AR.

A minor point, but one worth chewing on, if only briefly. Does it really matter? Will this particular rose smell as sweet with any of those names? – I think it matters, in that it makes the whole already confusing to the mass market subject, that more confusing. Does it really matter that VR is immersive and AR overlays onto the physical world, when those boundaries are blurring? Are we parsing too properly, and missing sight of the bigger picture? – which is, that whatever you call it, the AR/VR/MR/XR industry needs to grow.