Google is redefining how we perceive the multiple “realities” we have been wrangling to understand to begin with by introducing Immersive Computing.
On one end of the human experience, you have reality. Living, breathing, non-digital reality. It’s great. Usually. In the middle, as technology becomes more “immersive,” you have augmented reality. Basically, graphics start to float in front of your eyes on top of the real world–like a monster in Pokémon Go. Then, eventually, as more and more of these graphics are layered over your perception, you naturally segue into virtual reality. At the right end of the spectrum, all reality has been replaced with pixels.
Basically, this is saying that the existing range of really distinct experiences or technological paradigms, aren’t different, but are all a gradient. And as technology advances and devices merge, immersive computing will allow us to pick and choose how much reality get (or don’t get). It’s the ability to dive as deeply (or shallowly) into the digital world as we’d like, at any time we’d would like, through glasses, or goggles, or a screen, or contact lenses…but preferably a Google device (Wink! Wink!)
And it’s also a way for Google (and brands) to eventually be able to hack our perception at a moment’s notice…In gradients of course.
Why It’s Hot:
New interesting way to frame immersive technologies- one that is more palatable to general audiences
By consolidating all their “reality related” interface experiments under one tech genre, Google is positioning themselves as the leaders in the category
It’s also an indicator of where they are going to be taking headsets/glasses, and possibly Samsung’s contacts.
Six months ago, Omega Ophthalmics did a small trial of seven patients outside of the US. Their goal was to test for adverse effects of a surgery similar to lens replacements that often accompany cataract removals. The difference? Rather than replacing the cloudy lens with a normal artificial lens, surgeons instead implanted a lens that could be used for augmented reality, interactive sensors, or drug delivery.
Why it’s hot
Although widespread adoption of this technology is unlikely in the near future, scientists, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists hope that there is a market for such implants in an aging population that wants to be independent for longer. Whether this small trial is successful may pave the way for larger trials to test additional possibilities and risk.
Apple released ARKit, a mobile AR platform that uses Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) to accurately track the world around it. VIO fuses camera sensor data with CoreMotion data, allowing the device to sense how it moves within a room with a high degree of accuracy, and without any additional calibration. It’s open to all developers who want to come create and play…and it’s also probably luring them away from FB/Snapchat/Googs.
By having the experience live in an app on millions of iOS devices, it’s giving creators (developers) a much wider audience (and incentive) to test and socialize.
Already, ARKit’s sharing platform is seeing some really awesome crowdsourced examples of the tech in action.
See more examples of what developers have already been toying with, go here.
Why It’s Hot:
Democratizing AR to both users and developers (HoloLens who?)
Positioning it’s self the Go-To AR platform
Low-Overhead cutting edge technology for brands to explore and own
Nike built an augmented reality application called SNKRS for users to gain access to limited-edition sneakers available for purchase. The first sneaker to debut through the app was the Nike SB Dunk High Pro Momofuku, a collaboration with David Chang, creator and owner of the Momofuku restaurant group.
For a user to gain access to the shoe, they have to open the app and point their camera at the menu at Fuki East Village Momofuku in New York. People can still gain access to the shoes elsewhere, as an online menu works as well. Users need to look for a special ‘SNKRS’ label for the app to work properly. Once scanned, the shoes are unlocked and users have an opportunity to purchase a pair, as long as they’re in stock.
Right now, the SNRKS application only works on iOS phones, but Nike plans to release a version for Android soon.
How do brands use augmented reality in a way that engages their core audience? What’s interesting about this is (1) the audience understanding — sneaker freaks DO care about insider, unique, unlocking-type tasks and (2) the localization factor + partnership factor. However, I have to wonder what the reach is on something like this — is it a lot of effort for a little engagement?
Air New Zealand has partnered with Microsoft to begin beta testing HoloLens augmented reality headsets on flights to help their crews better serve their passengers.
Flight attendants using headsets on their faces might look really strange and scare little children, but the practical applications are pretty cool. Being able to know, for example, which passengers have dietary restrictions or are in a certain mood can enhance the customer experience.
It’s hot because while this might not be a solution that gets mass adoption with every airline, it is nice to know that there is an airline out there that is trying to improve the travel experience (*cough* unlike United *cough*).
Thyssenkrupp, in partnership with Microsoft, has partnered to transform the manufacturing of home mobility.
A home mobility solution is a particularly personal product; it becomes a part of the customer’s home, and it’s a tool that preserves their ability to maintain independence and have full access to their space.The decision to invest in a mobility solution can be difficult – it goes beyond financial tradeoffs, encompassing as well the emotional impact of changing abilities.
Removing obstacles from the process helps turn a potentially uncomfortable customer experience into one that is quick and easy, thereby increasing the percentage of accounts that move forward.
UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive—or BAMPFA—wanted to give their new exhibition titled “Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia” a little bump.
But Goodby Silverstein & Partners, their agency, does not know how to give “bumps”. Instead, they shot this out of a bloody cannon by developing a geolocation-based augmented-reality mobile app that lets people pepper the virtual space over the Bay Area with digital balloon hearts containing hippy-like messages such as, “Love Is in the Air” or “Free sex”. Okay, okay, to be transparent, I TRIED to upload this last message but the app wouldn’t let me. Apparently, you have to be in the Bay Area. Bummer.
Anyway, think of it as a Pokémon, except instead of catching the little trolls, you are making and popping virtual hearts that release lovey-dovey messages.
In addition to allowing you to spread the virtual love, the app also plays ’60s and ’70s songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and features a virtual tour of Bay Area locations significant to the hippie movement’s artistic and political history.
Why It’s Hot:
NAILS a very unique and cool use of AR
Provides a gamified AR experience ala Pokémon
App is fun and practical – i.e. virtual tours tied to the thematic of the exhibition
Subtly hints at a larger cultural sentiment of acceptance and hippy rebellion
Perhaps the only thing more confusing than the buttons, displays and lights on a new car is its manual — that 100+ page booklet of details, photos, and instructions that are enough to make you dizzy and vow never to read it, unless you need to know what that strange glow on your rearview mirror is.
Here comes Hyundai to the rescue. In the first of its kind, the car manufacturer is introducing virtual manuals that rely on augmented reality to explain your car. AR is first being introduced on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, but will soon be compatible for other models.
Using a smartphone or tablet, car owners will be able to recognize “more than 45 major features of the Sonata and contains 82 how-to videos, six 3D overlay images that appear once users scan different areas of their vehicle, and more than 50 informational guides,” according to the post in psfk.com. Users position their device over the part they want to learn about and AR will provide information about warning lights, Bluetooth phone pairing, brakes, fuse box, etc.
Why it’s hot
As cars become more complicated, augmented reality can take the mystery out of key features of your car and educate the owner on conditions, DIY repairs and an overall understanding of how their car works. Eventually, AR technology will be used in other electronics manuals, such as household appliances and electrical devices, helping to make wordy, poorly written manuals a thing of the past.