Monday, September 07, 2009

Mobile augmented reality: Reality, improved | The Economist

Another timely snapshot from The Economist; read the full article. Perhaps we are not Borg yet, but we’re getting closer to being gargoyles (albeit with more stylish and unobtrusive equipment than Neal Stephenson envisioned in Snow Crash)…

VIRTUAL reality never quite lived up to the hype. In the 1990s films such as “Lawnmower Man” and “The Matrix” depicted computer-generated worlds in which people could completely immerse themselves. In some respects this technology has become widespread: think of all those video-game consoles capable of depicting vivid, photorealistic environments, for example. What is missing, however, is a convincing sense of immersion. Virtual reality (VR) doesn’t feel like reality.

One way to address this is to use fancy peripherals—gloves, helmets and so forth—to make immersion in a virtual world seem more realistic. But there is another approach: that taken by VR’s sibling, augmented reality (AR). Rather than trying to create an entirely simulated environment, AR starts with reality itself and then augments it. “In augmented reality you are overlaying digital information on top of the real world,” says Jyri Huopaniemi, director of the Nokia Research Centre in Tampere, Finland. Using a display, such as the screen of a mobile phone, you see a live view of the world around you—but with digital annotations, graphics and other information superimposed upon it.

Mobile augmented reality: Reality, improved The Economist

Post a Comment