"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" -Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How to make interactive, well, interactive.

So far, we've learned to see. But the Digital Art Layer of AR is , (or should be) so much more than a passive viewing experience. So, we need a way that we in "meatspace" can actuate things in the Digital Layer.As time, and technology, progress, we're going to veer away from the "magic Lens" metaphor, where holding your phone to your face is "so 2010". How might we interact, then?

The Data Glove?

Nintendo Power Glove
Ah, the old standby. I remember one of these for my old Nintendo NES.(1989). An idea before it's time.

Too old? Too lame? Not "advanced enough"? Not anymore:

This Bad Boy is an Arduino-controlled, Bluetooth-and-accelerometer-laden beast.
Matt, you have my highest regards!

All technology can be feasable, give the right impetus.

Okay, okay, not all of us can hard-wire a glove from component parts. How about "off-the-shelf" and ready gloves? Fortunately for us, the VR community has done plenty of work in that area. Here's an example of a 'modern' (2002) VR data glove, the P5:

Good, for it's time. Certainly slick looking. But will Mr. And Mrs. Average Consumer go for this? Probably not... especially at "VR Equipment pricing' range. For the hardcore, such hardware will be a badge of technical prowess, a Technomage's Ferrari,  where we all aspire to surf the FutureNet of Johnny Mnemonic :

Yeah, sign me up for some of that!

Or, how about the interface in Minority Report?

Yeah, that's a bit closer, I think.
Guess what? "Hollywood, no more"

TED Talks..you gotta love them!

 Or, they could move on to eyeball tracking, but that's, again, not for the "average consumer". And I dunno if I want a company like Microsoft (creators of the BSoD) to have a hand in shooting lasers into my eyes.)

Again, pretty advanced stuff. If AR is to be commercially viable, it has to be cheap, and quite honestly 'ID10T proof". Something like this:
Fairly clean interface concept.

Or, maybe we're over-analyzing it all. Look at the interface in Cyber Figure ARis. Just an ARTagged paddle. Cheap, simple, and fairly ID10T proof. Perfect for the mainstream consumer.

Perhaps, in the beginning, we'll just get an inexpensive "Cracker Jack" ring, with 3 sides (Point/click/drag), coded with ARTags, that act as a positional, and dedicated interface for our field of vision.

Again, the range of interface possibilities is as varied as the applications they will be used for, and new answers are evolving all the time.

Go out, and see.

Stay Augmented

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