I love the concept of augmented reality. I mean, isn’t watching Avatar in 3D Imax so much better than the gray reality when you come home to look at your walls?
Don’t you love the colors! – and can’t you feel your muscles twitching as you mentally jump from psychedelically colored palm frond to palm frond along with the Navi? When I got home after the movie, all I could do is stare at my (boring) walls and wonder “where are my white floating squids?” Uch. Reality is tough, gray, cold – well, “real”.
But seriously, I think augmented reality has the potential to be the next mass (and I mean, MASS) addiction after social networking.
Currently every discussion around it seems to focus on the information it will bring…as interesting as it would be to have directions overlaid onto my wanderings (directly into my retina, or indeed – the optic nerve at some point) I think another obvious application is more akin to gaming in nature.
Imagine you’re just in one of those moods, and instead of having to look at all the “regular” faces you pass on the street (gray, dour) you could instead decide that today is “sea monkey day”. Seriously, you’re in the mood for sea monkeys. So you program your “sea monkey setting” into your yet-to-be-determined data input module and voila! Everyone has a sea monkey head.
It’s the ultimate version of beer goggles.
The program could generate facial differences by interpolating from real faces, or by pulling data from various public profiles (the sentiment analysis of your current Facebook status interpolates: “bad mood”) and an unhappy (but potentially, comical) Sea Monkey face is projected. Etc. etc. You get the picture.
An additional idea would be being able to set your own markers so that AR programs interpret your data in a certain way that day. In a flirty mood / want to chat? Advertise with a certain color (how about, green face = available). We could color code the world and communicate without any words at all. After all, if our information from a wide variety of sources is going to be broadcast anyway (ref: http://decahedralist.com/01/04/not-just-a-pretty-face), why not control what we put out there in this way?
This could be seriously addictive. And seriously lucrative from an entertainment merchandising standpoint. Think about it: Now I don’t have to just leave the Navi behind when I get home, I can superimpose licensed Navi images on my whole day. All I need is some giant pond fronds (why not my office chair??)
It makes sense as part of the “personalization” trend: everyone wants (information) how they want it, in the way they want it. How difficult is it to imagine that this will also include superimposing our own desires for what “reality” will look like that day?
Once it happens would you ever go back to just seeing things the way they “are”? I don’t think so.