Augmented Reality (AR) is one of many technologies that gets me truly excited for the future. For those unfamiliar with the concept, AR is a field of computer science that strives to combine real-world and computer-generated data. This technology has the potential to change and enhance how we interact with the physical world. In the example pictured above, conceived by Mac Funamizu of petitinvention, you can…I should probably let Mac handle the description,
Choose a building and touch a floor and it tells you more details of the building. Well, it doesn’t have to be a building, but it can be any object you see. You can use it when you want to know a car model, an insect name, what kind of food is served at a restaurant and how much, who built a bridge, etc. etc. But as a designer myself, I hope it’s able to tell me a name of a font of the type I see, the size, color (in RGB), and so on.
This is all well and good, and points to a promising future. Luckily we’re already able to experience AR to certain extent; anybody who has a location enabled phone and location enabled apps can get information about restaurants, directions and locations of friends based off of their whereabouts. More significantly, developers have used the ARToolKit to put together an AR app for the iPhone. Although it’s in prototype phase, this app shows potential for novel uses of existing technology.
So what about those of you who don’t have an iPhone? You mean, like underprivileged kids? That’s taking it to an extreme, but sure, what about those underprivileged children? Well don’t fret, designer Bas Groenendaal has them covered. He’s created in his words,
A photocamera that supports and stimulates the psycho-social development of underprivileged children, such as children living in (former) warzones.
He’s dubbed this camera, Scope. There’s no doubt that his intentions for Scope and pure and noble, but what I find most interesting is how intuitive he’s made the process of taking a picture. All a child has to do to take a picture is hold Scope like a steering wheel and squeeze. The lack of viewfinder or screen allows the child to directly interact with what they see.
This may not be augmented reality exactly, but it does allow the user to naturally interact with their environment in such way that photography becomes an extension of seeing. Ultimately it is this type of intuitive interactivity that AR aims to fulfill.