From Augmented to Integrated Urban Realities

Share your view real-time!

Share your view real-time!

by Valentin Schipfer

When I blogged about augmented reality apps more than a year ago, I’ve already thought that our society was finally entering futuristic, sci-fi realities. This entry will show you that I was wrong, that my assumption was nothing compared to how urban realities will be experienced soon.

Augmented realities on smart phones are last century. Google’s augmented reality answer is called Google Project Glass and will allow a completely new way of perceiving urban environments. Even though it is still a R&D program, Google Glass has already left behind the prototype stage. Glass is a combination of data glasses, camera and wearable computing. The latest version is small, light and solid – it could even be used for extreme sports, as Google Co-founder Sergey Brin claimed at Google’s developer conference I/O while PR wingsuite-jumpers streamed their free falls directly into the conference hall.

His vision behind the glasses: Through its camera, its input- and output microphones and its motion sensor Glass will be a digital logbook to stream your realities into web 2.0. It will deliver augmented reality, with information that’s directly relevant to your surroundings appearing in front of you whenever you need it.

Google Glass.

Google Glass.

You won’t have to stare into small smart phones or big tablets anymore, but you will directly get information into your peripheral field of view. Glass will probably use a transparent LCD display to put information in front of your eyeballs. At the same time users’ daily life will be enhanced because Google’s search- and information services are implemented into the specs. Reality won’t be augmented anymore, but information directly integrated into reality. It looks as though Glass will see a public release in 2014 at the earliest.

Including battery and touch pad.

Including battery and touch pad.

Many scenarios are possible: For example, your glasses might tell you the weather forecast when waking up and looking out of the window. They inform you whether your subway stop is closed or open. If somebody’s calling, your friend will appear in the corner of your eye and you will start speaking with these tiny people. With Glass you can find out where the nearest decent restaurant is, book your table and invite your friends. In case you’ve missed the bus, the specs will show you how to get there.

Similar to Google Goggles , Glass can search the web based on photos and scans. You can take pictures of what you see and immediately search the web for more information. In case you see a poster for a party, you focus on it for a second and buy a ticket via your specs. But what’s most innovative in terms of communication, you can even share your own view while phoning with your friend on the other end of the line. The video below gives a glimpse into one day in a Glass user’s life.

Of course there are some people worrying that Glass is Google’s attempt to monetize your eyeballs by bombarding you with ads whenever you look at something. If you like pop-ups, you rather don’t install adblocker  in your Google Glass. Otherwise you won’t see all these helpful recommendations like in this funny spoof – one of many parodies that made me giggle ’bout google.

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One Response to From Augmented to Integrated Urban Realities

  1. margit says:

    Hey, did you listen to Kevin Slavin’s talk “Reality is plenty, thanks” http://rhizome.org/editorial/2011/jun/13/responses-kevin-slavins-talk-augmented-reality/

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