A is for Augmented Reality

So, we now live in a world where a large amount of the worlds population own a mobile computing device. I don't call them smartphones anymore. Not because I am being smart about it, or trying to be cutting edge. Yes, these devices we use can be used to make telephone calls, but I'm willing to bet a lot of money that generally most of us use them to get our emails on the go and update the plethora of social networking sites we all use for whatever reason. For that reason alone, they are fast becoming more computing device than phone...



When I was younger in the days before satellite TV, Britain only had four terrestrial television channels and they all turned off once a day at around midnight. Kids TV was only on from 3.30pm till 5pm and then grown ups wrested control of the remote back from our hands. I remember after 5pm, I would switch from BBC1 to BBC2 and enjoy re runs of the original Star Trek with William Shatner et al. Bones would take the infamous "Tri-corder" to analyse things and wounded red shirted crew members on distant planets. I marvelled at the idea that it was possible to diagnose things using a little box and often wondered if that kind of science fiction would ever become science fact.

We are nearly there you know. Right on the edge of it in fact. Courtesy of messrs Android, Apple, Blackberry and sundry others, you can now hold in your hand a device that you can point at the world and it will tell you where you are and where the nearest shop is. You can talk to it and it will search for things for you on the internet. It will have apps on it for thousands of different purposes, you can read books on it, if you are lazy, you can listen to books on it too. You can shop on it, sell things with it, download things to it and share things with other people on it.

The smartphone has made other items redundant. Primarily the camera. My digital camera and HD camcorder are gathering dust in the drawers, I have a Sat/Nav that I no longer use and I only use my netbook to blog. How far away are we from not needing the bigger, purpose built items we once used daily?

I say not too far at all. Google are developing a pair of glasses that you can talk to and will give you a "heads up display" in the corner of your vision that can send messages, take photos, tell you the weather and browse the internet. That blows my mind. A light keyboard has been developed that will shine a facsimile of a keyboard on a flat surface when plugged into a device. No more two-thumb typing. There is a very clever man that has invented a robotic hand that can be manipulated via an internet connection from the other side of the world. Yes, that has been possible for a while you may think, but this hand can tell him how hard and soft he is touching something. It feeds back the information to his fingers in a special glove. Think of the benefits. Need a heart bypass in London, but the surgeon is unavailable for some reason? No worries, there is one in Tokyo or somewhere that can carry out the operation using these hands over the internet in real time. That is possible now. Augmented reality is real and not the stuff of science fiction. It really is science fact.

Awesome or creepy, you decide. It's here though, and it's here to stay.

See you tomorrow for something completely different.

Rock on,

W.

Comments

  1. I have to say you're absolutely right. I rarely use my phone to actually make a phone call - I use it to text, check my email, and even as an alarm clock in the morning. It's kind of scary that so many things can be crammed into such a small device, but it's also very handy!

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    1. Hi Laura. Thanks for coming by and reading! My prediction is that within our lifetimes, cash will be obsolete and everything you will ever need will be on your phone or whatever it will be called then....

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  2. I texted for the first time a few weeks ago. I only got a phone with texting/email capabilities because I found that over the past 6 months or so, having a regular flip phone was causing me to miss things because everything is by email or text now, including school things for my kids. I would never have those google glasses though.

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    1. Hi Lisa. Thanks for popping by. You are right, loads of my children's school stuff is turning up on email and social networking sites. Do you think we are coming into a paperless society?

      Also, wanted to follow your blog as my wife is very crafty, but you don't have a follow widget installed?

      Cheers,

      W.

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  3. Wow! A surgeon in Tokyo performing an operation the opposite end of the globe in "real time"? Mind-blowing stuff!
    And when this augmented reality falls into the "wrong hands"? Then what? More mind-blowing possibilities...
    Both awesome and creepy!
    Great post Wayne!

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    1. I couldn't get over the advances that scientist had made with the robotic hand either. When I wrote this article, that was the first thing that came to mind, the advantages to medicine, but there really are no boundaries. There are limitless things that can be done. Thanks for stopping by Michelle!

      W.

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  4. It's pretty crazy to think how much technology has changed. When I was in high school, only the rich kids had computers with internet access. Hard to believe we went from that to where we are now in less than 20 years.

    If I were going to cast my vote, I'd say it's more awesome than creepy. I do worry that all these advancements will make humankind more lazy, but I bet our ancestors thought the same thing when regular telephones started popping up in houses all across the globe. :)

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    1. Hi Trish. I'm on the more awesome bus as well. I know lots of folk that are tech phobic, but this kind of thing is here to stay and I think largely for the better.

      Cheers,

      W.

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  5. You make a good point, Wayne. A frightening one, but definitely good. ;-)

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  6. I wouldn't say creepy, but I am pessimistic about the human race in general. I don't see the continued advancements in technology being a good thing. Eventually, it'll go too far, get into the wrong hands, and backfire. Humm, there's a story in there . . . (;

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  7. How nice that two of my favourite bloggers have called by! Mina and Elise are awesome bloggers and those of you that haven't met them before need to check out their shizzle as soon as humanly possible. Both always guaranteed to make you smile and have been very supportive to me over the past year and a bit I have been blogging. They are both wonderful.

    I have to say that I am the eternal optimist and always hope that the human race will one day get over itself and be the best it can be. When I'm in charge of the planet (I have plans) that's how I'd like to see technology serve us. Making peoples lives better.

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  8. Grats on your entry into the Blogfest, sir :) - I personally have resisted the temptation of the new shiny gadget phones and have stuck with my mini brick of aged technology. Texts and calls, that's all I want thank you very much.

    I'm back up and crawling once more - running is for somewhere waaaay down the blogging line :)

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    1. ADDITIONAL: as of yesterday I am now officially part of the 21st century - my very kind lifelong friend, Christopher, bought me a Smartphone for my upcoming birthday.

      I'm now digging it with my Android 4.0, checking out apps and trying to work out how this bloody thing works! Loving it :) !

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Wotcher. Comments are welcome and make Wayne happy. Please post some. Spammers on the other hand, I hunt down, kill and eat.

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