Many people enter the inside-out world of augmented reality (AR) by doing something as ordinary as visiting a major city like New York and trying to get to a local friend’s favorite pizza shop, somewhere deep in Brooklyn, via public transportation. Standing in Times Square on a summer evening, they might hold up a new smart phone and pan it slowly around the Square to see a pointer to the nearest subway entrance overlaid on their phone’s video display of the buildings around them.
While ubiquitous computing remains an unpleasant mouthful of techno-babble to most people who know the term, and everyware is still an essentially unknown idea, the visibility of augmented reality has surged in the last twelve months. In addition to the spate of mobile applications—including Augmented ID, Wikitude, Layar, Nearest Tube, and the still unreleased TwittARound—augmented reality is increasingly visible in popular cross-media experiences. For example, Mattel is releasing new toys in conjunction with the James Cameron film Avatar that invoke online content when users scan them with a Web cam, and LEGO in-store kiosks have used augmented reality. With baseball cards from Topps and Pokemon cards, even the venerable trading-cards experience now includes augmented reality. Read More
Our identity—our sense of who we are, in all the various contexts we negotiate, from personal to professional, from public to private, from individual to collective—is one of the most fundamental elements of our experience and awareness. We rely on our identity to make sense of almost all the experiences we have in life—digital and otherwise. And yet, experience designers rarely consider personal identity—either as an aspect of design or a factor affecting design.
The nature and meaning of identity is traditionally a question for disciplines like philosophy, religion, psychology, and the social sciences. At the same time, governments and large organizations, with legal and administrative concerns like taxation and security typically address the practical aspects of identity we experience on a daily basis—issuing IDs and credentials and deciding the mechanisms for their verification. This division of responsibilities for defining and executing the construct of personal identity is nearly as old as the mind/body schism at the heart of Western culture. Read More
As the recent launches of Google Goggles (see Figure 1), Bing Maps (see Figure 2), Junaio, and the Unifeye SDK have demonstrated, technical barriers to delivering augmented reality (AR) experiences on a broad scale are falling rapidly. Separate advances in technologies for practical and commercial-scale, cloud-based speech and language processing; real-time search; computer vision; accurate geolocation and device awareness; AR commerce and development platforms; as well as high-bandwidth, sensor-enhanced mobile devices are coming together to form a first-generation infrastructure for augmented reality. Read More