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Augmented Reality: Enhanced Perception 242

Posted by michael
from the metaverse dept.
Webratta writes: "Can you imagine wearing glasses or goggles that, when looking at a person, a built-in display would tell you everything you wanted to know about that person? According to an article in Popular Science the day of cyborg-like enhanced perception could be closer than we imagined. Just imagine the privacy concerns stemming from this..."
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Augmented Reality: Enhanced Perception

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  • by nakhla (68363) on Friday March 01, 2002 @09:31AM (#3089547) Homepage
    The privacy concerns depend on where the information comes from. If it comes from a centralized database, then yes. But, if the user (the owner of the goggles) chooses the information to assign to a person then there aren't any big concerns. For instance, I could choose to display their name, birthday, wedding anniversary, and their favorite restaurant. It would be information that I already know, this would just allow me to access it more readily. In a way, it would act like a face-recognizing entry in my PDA, brining up all of the information I've already collected about that person.
    • it would act like a face-recognizing entry in my PDA

      Link it via bluetooth to your PDA and it could remind you of meetings that you're meant to have with the person you've just met face-to-face. You could conveniently re-schedule the meeting to have right now instead. I'd certainly like that, because countless times I've been too submersed in whatever project I'm working on to think about the more real-world things, and I often program things into the organizer on my phone to remind me to go and see someone, etc. This could pop-up a message in front of me saying "Reminder: You are to talk to this person about project xyz at some point today". Thinking of it this way, it could be good for members of the non-geek community who have problems with their memory too.
    • How about when I steal them and I can worm my way into your life by knowing everything about your friends beforeI hunt you down and kill you for posting anti-Linux rhetoric on /.

      okay maybe not the last bit but just because *you* can't think of a use for the infor doesn't mean someone else can't!
    • Or it could show an excerpt from a manpage whenever you look at something and scratch your head...
    • Once you start walking around with a system that shares the information, then there are privicy issues. And I see this being inevitable. You can't stop people from noticing that you're smoking a butt, and you note it, and share that info... where can you disconnect this? It's kind of like a P2P rumor/gossip implmentation. You can no sooner stop people from gossiping than restrict technology which makes it more widespread.

      M@
    • For instance, I could choose to display their name, birthday, wedding anniversary, and their favorite restaurant. It would be information that I already know, this would just allow me to access it more readily. In a way, it would act like a face-recognizing entry in my PDA, brining up all of the information I've already collected about that person.

      If you have already personally collected that much information about the person then you probably know them well enough not to need a face-recognition software to pull that information up.

      I think the real value in having a display like this is for Location Based Services. Want to see a movie but don't know where one is? Just overlay all the theatres in a 20 minute walk with what they're playing and next showtime. If you're driving, the HUD can give you advance warning signs that there's unseen traffic ahead. Thinking a bit further into the future, imagine having the outline of the road you're on highlighted -- so dark roads become just as safe as fully illumated ones.

      Also imagine being able to stand in the middle of a city, look around you and see the menus of the restaurants you can see. Or real-time table availability. That restaurant has a 40 minute wait? No problem -- the one over there has immediate seating.

      The crutch to all of this, of course, is how to pull that type of information. Web Services is a step in the right direction, but now combine it with the power of P2P (see Jini, JXTA, Groove.net or LimeWire) and automatic device and network discovery and you have a real killer app.

      Miniaturization would allow all of this data to be fed into contact lenses, so you get a permanent, "augmented" view of the world. What a great thing.
  • Dating (Score:4, Funny)

    by jaavaaguru (261551) on Friday March 01, 2002 @09:31AM (#3089549) Homepage
    That could make dating so much more reliable for us geeks. Just think what it would be like if you already knew that she shared the same interests, etc. You could probably have built in web access to these things too and check out her online profile. Oh wait... we're probably already sitting in front of our computers looking at her profile before we attempt dating anyway :-)
    • by robinjo (15698)

      But she could also find out that you're a geek and run for her life.

      Oh, wait. They can spot that easily already now...

      • But she could also find out that you're a geek and run for her life.

        Not all women flee geeks, but yeah, it probably requires no more than "Hello, how are you?" to get all the information she needs to know, and a lot more she doesn't, technology would be superfluous n this realm.

        Now, consider this app being used by geek chicks. Uh, huh, better think about hacking the database guys, before they find out how short your sliderule is!

    • Yeah, imagine this, an online database of Little Black Book information. Women would revolt, however they've already evlolved a high degree of resistance to geeks anyway.

      Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of Bodacious Babes, all laughing at you, as you show up with your 'Specs', Laptop and 802.11 wireless networking stuff.

      • There are advantages to dating guys with geek toys. For example, this means that I have wireless at my place, his place, the CS department at Berkeley, and my parent's place.

        The specs seem like they'd be more of a problem. If he doesn't want to focus his attention on ME and what I'm telling him while having a conversation, that isn't much of a conversation, is it? Doesn't make for much of a relationship, does it? Now, I need time to work and play by myself just as much as the next gal/guy (or even more so when I'm carrying a graduate courseload, plus the rest of an undergraduate's, plus research), but mixing it with the glasses is just not a good idea.

        Lea
    • That could make dating so much more reliable for us geeks. Just think what it would be like if you already knew that she shared the same interests, etc. You could probably have built in web access to these things too and check out her online profile. Oh wait... we're probably already sitting in front of our computers looking at her profile before we attempt dating anyway :-)

      Yes, but imagine the abuses of this information:

      WARNING: Subject currently in menstruation cycle

      Hmmm, guess I'll ask her out in another week or so...
    • Actually I wonder what would happen if they could see that Mr. Perfect is a womanizing misogynist with syphilis. Oh wait... they already can tell the guy's an asshole; but they know they are the one who will be able to change him.
    • But for the real women we must ask, "Are those real or fake?"
    • There's many great things the Internet can do, but (IMHO) finding a date isn't one of them... especially if you're searching on hotornot.com. :P

      Finding "The One" was an activity I enjoyed doing offline.
    • You could probably have built in web access to these things too and check out her online profile.

      And you could use her online profile to find out her IP and hack her bionic goggles to match her idea of a perfect mate, her bionic ears so you sound good and maybe her nose too, if your cleaning habits are questionnable...

      Of course, when she removes the goggle, she's in for a shock ;-)

      Alex

    • Who was it who said, "Life would be much easier if everyone's IQ was tattooed on their forehead."?
    • I think humans already come with this capability builtin. Briefly, look directly at her eyes.
      If:

      1. She looks away, she's probably not interested.
      2. She looks back, smiling slightly, she might be interested.
      3. She looks back and glares, she's definitely not interested.
      4. She looks back and glares, then whispers something angrily to the 250-lb guy with his arm around her, you better fade into the crowd.
  • Reality (Score:3, Funny)

    by onion2k (203094) on Friday March 01, 2002 @09:33AM (#3089552) Homepage
    Walk down the street, look at the world. This is reality.

    You've lost me.. what is this thing? Is it new? </geek>
  • MIT has been doing this for years.
  • by Gannoc (210256) on Friday March 01, 2002 @09:35AM (#3089564)
    I have this image of a dark and cold future, where you can simply look at a friend, a co-worker, a stranger. Then by merely making a certain microgesture with your eyes, can instantly bring up a list of what kind of porn they download.

    I pray I don't live to see it.
  • by GSV NegotiableEthics (560121) <autecfmuk001@sneakemail.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @09:37AM (#3089571) Homepage
    Can you imagine wearing glasses or goggles that, when looking at a person, a built-in display would tell you everything you wanted to know about that person?
    • Take normal pair of shades
    • Take sticky label
    • Write "Not for you, she won't" on label
    • Put sticky label on inside of shades.
    • Hand shades to the male geek of your choice

    • Can you imagine wearing glasses or goggles that, when looking at a person, a built-in display would tell you everything you wanted to know about that person?


      I wonder how long it would take for someone to create a little nice program that can approximate how the person would look without clothes and run it on the goggles ;)

  • Is privacy a huge concern? Would this be any more of a privacy intrusion than someone walking around with a networked laptop doing google searches (and other lookups) on everyone?

    Personally I think it would be more of a social intrusion, as in "ugh...it's that white faced geek again". Sorta like when wireless ethernet hit my old college campus (cmu.edu) and people started checking email in the middle of a movie (as in, an annoyingly bright view of someone's window manager).

    Nonetheless it has its cool factor, although I would look at some of the more productive applications.

    • Nonetheless it has its cool factor

      Yeah, real cool, and useful!

      Look at those screenshots. The restaurant has a text label superimposed over it, so the wearer can just read the label instead of the sign above the restaurant! No more messy reality for me!

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday March 01, 2002 @09:39AM (#3089576)
    You *know* that one of the first things that they'll do if this stuff ever becomes popular is to sell virtual advertising space. Adverts won't just be static billboards. They'll jump out at you.
    • by JohnAsh (467866)
      From the article:

      Although Mann's wearable computer system provides reams of data when he asks for it, it can also block the world out with what Mann calls "diminished reality." This AR software can replace billboards, street signs, and ads on buses with stored digital images of waterfalls and other natural scenes.


      We might get an escalation of the spyware-adblocker war.
      • I want Filtered Reality!

        Think about it. Why should only those who are willing to suffer the effects of shrooms for days, or LSD for years, be the ones who get to see bleeding walls or leaking phones?! With a helmet around your head that filters your video and audio input (err, vision and hearing), you could have all the trippy hallucinations you wanted, when you wanted! Is that girl really wearing a purple elephant on her necklace, or would she be offended if you tried to feed it a peanut? Are there really bugs crawling into your skin? Better ask the piano!

        What a time to be alive!
  • Anyone remember Snow Crash? Seriously, there are loads of uses for this though, not just for secirity officers, tourists etc. I'd be well up for using it just walking around town.

    If everyone is carrying wirless devices, pumping out whatever info they want to passers by... this could remove the need to *talk* to strangers!

    It would be pretty cool though - all the advantages of meeting and chatting online, but with the advantage of being in the *real* world.
  • by patmfitz (517089)
    A well-realized use of this technology was presented in the book "A Deepness in the Sky" by Vernor Vinge. Of course the technology was such that people didn't have to wear external hardware to take advantage of it.

    One of the more interesting uses was allowing someone else to temporarily take control of your display - no more damn powerpoint slides at meetings!

    And imagine the military uses - targeting computers built into your field of vision, zoom in with enhanced vision, etc.

    • Actually there's another book called SnowCrash by Neal Stephenson, which also has some sort of immersive virtual reality concept. Agents working for various agencies gather intel info in order to be able to compete with each-other.

      The website also suggests that once databases are going to be linked, new contact with strangers about your (or their) matters will no longer amount to 'surprise' or offensive. In fact what you see no longer will be believable in the sense that people might have tampered with the metaintel you are seeing. You are also more vulnerable to sneak attacks or surprises. You depend on technology to stay alive. You depend on agencies to protect and double-check and verify your data. I Automatically get the reflex to say that hacking would mean freedom of mind in such a datadriven world.
  • Someone should change these into the Simpson's beer goggles. That way when I look at someone, I see everything I want, not everything I need to know.
  • Is anyone else sick of reading sentences like "the day of <insert technology here> could be closer than we imagined"? When does it actually work out in the end that the technology is available shortly after one of these statements?

    It's kinda like back in 1990 hearing "the days of high-definition television are closer than you imagined!". In reality, they're working out to be farther than I imagined...

  • Requirements:
    • Directives displayed omnipresently
    • Fourth, secret directive not displayed
    • All text displayed one character after another with a slight electronic *tick* sound for each one
  • by TonyJohn (69266)
    What you really want is for the other person's head up display to be monitoring their iris. If they look at you and their pupil dilates, when it adds an entry into their database to this effect. If you then look at them, your head up display displays a set of red cross-hairs for a possible target...

    Thinking about it, this could create something of a Cupid's Arrow Effect. Say you are looking at someone in a room and the lights go out - instantly you end up targetted in their display.

    Maybe a more reliable system would be needed, but it sure would be interesting.

    otoh, how attractive can a person be wearing goggles?

    TJ

  • by jsmyth (517568)

    Reminded me of HUD technologies (with AWACS support), where when a plane's radar picks up another plane, the HUD shows its location with a square, and various other information appears, generated from the AWACS feed, or other embedded signals in the radar (for friend/foe recognition etc.)

    There's an interesting article in New Scientist about similar technology, used to "supplement" what your eyes can see. A guy from the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics in Rostock has come up with a "Virtual Showcase" that has the target artefact in, and then with the aid of special goggles the wearer sees a superimposed image, with a likely representation of what the artefact may have looked like originally.

    You can find the link here [newscientist.com]
    (http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/tech/arti cl e.jsp?id=99991959&sub=Hot%20Stories)

    • Yeah, just wait until the the geek next to you starts yelling "VAMPIRE! VAMPIRE! BOGEY AT 3:30 CLOSING AT 5 KNOTS! ARM ALL TORPEDOES".

      Then see how fast you pretend they're just reading glasses.

      Personally, I wanna be that guy in the IBM commercial sitting in the middle of a Venecian square scaring all the pigeons.
  • Can you imagine wearing glasses or goggles that, when looking at a person, a built-in display would tell you everything you wanted to know about that person?

    XRay Glasses? Sure, they cost a couple bucks in the back of old comic books

    Seriously, I wear beer goggles when I need corrected vision, though after last night, I fear I'll need the beer to quell a broken heart. And by the way, I'm already imagining how this could lead to the great-granddaddy of all time Invasion of Privacy, or just plain old You Sick Pervert tiffs.

  • Hmm... sort of like in Back to the Future 2 when they were using the video phones. On the bottom of the screen was listed the other persons' likes, vices, etc. I wouldn't mind knowing a girl's vices before I walk up to her in a bar. :)

    Of course, I'm also still waiting for video phones. The best part of that scene? At the end when the show the AT&T logo and say something like "This call brought to you by AT&T". By 2015, it'll probably be "This call brought to you by AOL Time Warner Sony Viacom Verizon".

  • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp.freeshell@org> on Friday March 01, 2002 @09:50AM (#3089627) Homepage Journal
    He's almost completely the father of wearable computing. He wore a pair of glasses and a "keyboard" interface everywhere he goes, and worked for MIT media lab. People who have met him say he seemed more intelligent than he actually is, because his vision sensors send information back to the lab which he can route to others for aid in identification, and he asked questions on the LAN IRC (I don't think they actually use that protocol) and got the answers from the minds of MIT. Its as though he can answer any question.

    His page is at the University of Toronto [toronto.edu] now, and those glasses he's wearing are exactly the ones that I mentioned - at least, they're the fourth draft of the ones I mentioned.
    • I've had an eye (pardon the pun) on his work for years. I always wondered if I'd be able to build a wearable and use it on a daily basis; now that I'm working in .edu land again, there's more potential for this to happen.

      http://www.wearcam.org [wearcam.org] is (or at least, was) a good place to start looking for information on his projects. (Look here [wearcam.org] for an interesting screen shot of his view of the world, text interface and all.) There's also http://eyetap.org [eyetap.org]- a site actually described on wearcam as "a more organized and more desktop computer friendly site". Mann's older sites are not very "prettified" with nice tables and formatting; they're a fairly random pile of information, which probably woul;dn't look bad in a text-only browser, like what he'd have been using :)
    • Steve went to McMaster U [mcmaster.ca] for his undergrad degree. Here's a little info [mcmaster.ca] on what he did. That picture from '87 is classic.

      two years ago he did a talk on his research. it was great. although, he was quite awkward and it appeared as if he had little patience for questions. he might have been having a bad day, but the question period after was very tense.

      nevertheless, he adds alot of credibility to my school.
    • When he was an undergrad, he had wired up his undies to a humidity sensor. If the sensor detected that he was sweating, it turned up the A/C in the room.
      Of course, being a geek, there can't be any other reason for him to start sweating, right? ;)
  • by wfrp01 (82831) on Friday March 01, 2002 @09:51AM (#3089630) Journal
    I've been able to buy these glasses from Marvel Comics for decades now.
  • Ah, another great idea in science-fiction coming to life in front of my eyes.

    I love when this happens, and it seems to happen more and more often.
  • ...to be a gargoyle.

    --trb
  • Can you imagine wearing glasses or goggles that, when looking at a person, a built-in display would tell you everything you wanted to know about that person?

    What about the stuff you don't want to know? Here are some things I wouldn't like to know about someone I walk by in the local mall:

    Bisexual, but won't admit it
    Enjoys viewing squirrel porn scenes
    Works for Microsoft
    Has severe case of explosive diarrhea
    Etc...
  • by jimfrost (58153) <jimf@frostbytes.com> on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:00AM (#3089663) Homepage
    This is basically what Gibson's glasses did in _Virtual Light_. Not really a new idea. jim
  • Popular Science (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by erasmus_ (119185)
    Not to be negative, but one of the reasons I stopped subscribing to Popular Science was exactly because of articles like this. After many years of seeing them sensationalize technologies that never really took off, or after careful examination never even seemed to have had the ability to, I think I started to realize that they're almost like a techie tabloid. Flying cars, humans on Mars, universal vaccines - these items shouldn't be cover page news despite being interesting and worthwhile. On one hand, I realize you need to sell the magazine, but on the other, I prefer Wired a little more which has plenty of tech stories but seems to be a little more grounded despite the occassional "computers will rule us" or "cyborgs on the loose tomorrow" stories.
    • I've been laughing at Popular Science since I was a kid at the barber shop (and this was over 25 years ago, kids). Without fail, every article has an "artists conception" of some outrageous new technological innovation that's just around the corner! -- super vaccines, military of the future, cruise ships the size of cities, rocket planes, and so on. The only thing they seem to leave out is ESP.

      I'm sure many of the stories really do represent new applications for halfway-grounded-in-reality technology, but they extend it so far beyond reality. It'd be amusing to take 20 year old popular science cover stories and see what percentage even remotely resemble developed technologies.

  • Every other damn story on here ends with, "but what about the privacy concerns?". Is that all people have to worry about now? Yeah, the Microsoft thing is done with, they're bad, we know it, lets move on to whining about something else. Oh yeah, privacy, that'll keep us going for a year or two. Sheesh.
  • As several people have mentioned, such goggles/glasses were featured in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash and Diamond Age. Certainly, this technology could have many benefits. Think about the advantages of swift access to personal data in the courtroom and for police, or about how quick access to lab procedures, online resources, and other data would help scientists. Of course, if this technology is developed, however, it will not be possible to confine it to scientists, lawyers, policemen, and such. Others - spammers, perverts, criminals, etc - will get their hands on the technology, and the result will be intrusion on our privacy ranging from the merely annoying to the outright dangerous. Certainly, the technology is cool, and potentially very useful to many people, but there is, unfortunately, also a great potential for abuse.
  • Can't you just ask the person for such details ?
    The problem, IMHO, is that this may reduce the communication between people.
    Also, how exhaustive is the collected info ?
    Maybe this could be useful for some guardians willing to authentify incoming visitors but else, well, I don't perceive this invention, however breathtaking, technically speaking, as a step toward the right direction which is making people happy to co-exist.
  • ...the z80 assembly listings appearing in the Terminator's sights...
    How will they make such information compact enough to be useful and not dangerous (I don't want to have 2KB oftext to read while driving) ?
  • An addition to Megan's Law would provide the info that a particular person was a convicted sex offender. With such a technology, it would allow me to decide whether to let my kid run randomly through the park on a Sunday afternoon... or maybe I should move onto another park?
  • i bet youd have figured this out by yourself, but a link is always nice ;-)
    So check out the
    official page [columbia.edu]
  • Car HUD (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mattbelcher (519012)
    Motorists could put these things to especially good use. A Heads-up display like in fighter planes could point out road hazards and relative vehicle speeds. Instead of a rear-view mirror, a semi-transparent projection of the view from the rear could be called up with a little press on the steering wheel. In conditions of low-visibility, the HUD could enhance the lane dividing lines and point out other traffic indicators. Of course, maybe we'll just have cars that drive themselves before we get that far.
    • It's actually been shown that _current_ HUDs in cars aren't very useful (or at least not nearly as useful) as those in planes, because we aren't moving anywhere near as fast. Looking down to see our speed or look around to see around us is no big deal when your traveling 1/10 the speed of a jet.

      The big problem for enhancing object outside the car is registration. How to make each of the things line up correctly. Gaze tracking and magnetic head tracking have/are being tested, but it's a big problem.
  • Already in use. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheConfusedOne (442158) <the.confused.one ... com minus distro> on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:16AM (#3089723) Journal
    Boeing has been using augmented reality for some time now to help the people who are wiring up the new airplanes. The glasses project the relevant portion of the wiring diagram over the section that the worker is looking at.

    All of the various privacy concerns are unfounded at the moment. The large challenge with any AR system is to figure out what you're looking at. For it to work with people you would either need some kind of facial recognition system built-in or the person would have to be willingly broadcasting a location AND identity signal to be used by such a system.

    Personally, I think the best Sci Fi example of this stuff is in California Vodoo Game. In this case Niven and Barnes used AR to deal with the fact that the previously expected Star Trek hologram technology hasn't been able to catch up to "reality" yet. The neat thing about that was that you had the combination of AR and MMORPG technology blended together to make LARP'ing really fun. (If you couldn't decipher all of those acronyms than you probably wouldn't be interested anyway.)
    • For it to work with people you would either need some kind of facial recognition system built-in or the person would have to be willingly broadcasting a location AND identity signal to be used by such a system.

      That makes a lot of sense though, when you think about it. A short range broadcast would be a great idea. IF, and only IF, it could be turned off. If you are among friends, or in a single's bar, you switch it on, and vilo.. if you are out on the street, you switch it off, and no one is the wiser.
  • by Alien54 (180860) on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:23AM (#3089753) Journal
    Part of what makes the mind so efficient is the filtering process. So at some point, you would have a filter so that to do not get overwhelmed with data.

    I Imagine that the interface would have to be something familiar that most geeks can deal with.

    I suggest a gaming interface like Doom [unm.edu]. There was that admin tool for killing off zombie processes. Something similar could be used to symbolically represent the people you meet. Bill Gates As Satan, for Example.

    Of course, you would have different patches depending on your tastes and opinions.

  • This has been a popular thing in cyberpunk fiction. Gibson's Virtual Light was centered around just such a set of glasses... and I remember the gargoyles in Stephenson's Snow Crash had the same things... laser would scan your retina from a distance, reference all your information from a database...

    Wow, am I a geek or what...
  • This device could certainly put a new spin on the old addage "undressing someone with your eyes". <g>

    Seriously though, I do have to wonder how long it would take before someone ends up making an analyzer to do just that considering the porn industry in this country.

    (I have also been suspicious about those little mini-cameras. My paranoia says that 25% are probably ending up in places noone would ever want them.)
    • "I have also been suspicious about those little mini-cameras. My paranoia says that 25% are probably ending up in places noone would ever want them."

      Yeah, like in the damn popup and popunder adverts!

      Maran
  • Another use for it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 42forty-two42 (532340)
    When you're walking down the street, an arrow shows you how to get to your destination. No need to pull out your PDA when you get lost! It could also be a way to do 3d videoconferencing...
  • by pacc (163090)
    Can you make it scroll some commodore 64 assembler code to complement that information.
  • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Friday March 01, 2002 @10:36AM (#3089804)
    on the last page where it says this stuff can replace ads and billboards with waterfalls and stuff... Im going to replace everything with naked women....
  • Do you know how much more productive you could be with this sort of information at your fingertips. The point of this device is not to list info about ppl you see specifically, but to give you instant access to any publicly available information. I can NOT wait for the day when this type of thing because feasible in reality.

    Privacy concerns in general, it's a losing battle. Personally I don't really care if you can find out what my preferences are, what I really want though is for the SPAM etc that comes my way be truly worth it. Could you imagine if little stories popped into your display that you actually wanted to read. Who would be annoyed if slashdot-esque information came and found you?

  • "Can you imagine wearing glasses or goggles that, when looking at a person, a built-in display would tell you everything you wanted to know about that person?"

    They're called " beer goggles [lasalle.edu]"....7 or 8 pints of Hefeweizen and I know all I ever need to know about that woman. All I don't know is "why I never realized she was hot before".

    Now, if only they could invent something to avoid the Coyote Ugly Syndrome of the next morning...like some sort of shoe-horn or spatula. I'm sick of having to gnaw my arm off to escape the bear trap.

    (Score -5. Chauvanistic Jackcass)
  • Thoughts... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shut_up_man (450725)
    I think AR stuff is pretty cool. Those sunglasses in Virtual Light, Gargoyles in Snow Crash, it's a pretty darn useful information tool, as long as the information is useful and trustworthy. To that end, I feel that corporations should be kept as far away from this as possible. Otherwise AR will be a mass of ads, spam and lies.

    I think a link to a personal datasource is the way to go, with various connections to trusted information providers. If the map company decides to put ads in its building descriptions, disconnect from their service and join with one who doesn't. You should be able to put on your goggles and see NOTHING AT ALL, and add only the stuff you want.

    Personal datasources might link to other people's sources, in a kind of collaberative system that allows feedback ("you liked that bar? It SUCKED!") and filtering (browsing the world at +5 to avoid the trolls and goatse.cx).

    In order to further clean up the datastream, rocksolid specs for different types of data should be established, probably using XML. No executables either, that way people can't stick Flash animations or viruses in their location descriptions.

    I wonder if use of these kind of info-tools will result in weakened memory, sense of direction, etc... not to mention the social awkwardness of people staring off into space while they process the latest blip.

    Oh, kinda off-topic: I googled and found what looks to be the full text of Virtual Light [lib.ru] by William Gibson.
  • Privacy concerns aside, isn't there another concern to the story.... safety.

    Think about it: You're walking down the street, too distracted by all the information popping up in your display to pay attention to your immediate surroundings. You accidentally step out into the crosswalk, not noticing the traffic heading towards you at a high rate of speed.....

    How about wearing this contraption while driving? Cell phones, passengers, radio controls, etc, are enough distraction for the driver, do we really need another distraction?
  • (Much older than Gibson)... there was a device people would wear on their foreheads... I think the first version showed whether you were lying or telling the truth... then a second version also showed whether or not you were attracted to the person you were talking to...

    I don't remember the plot device that explained why people voluntarily wore the things.
  • They predicted flying cars for years, too.
  • .. well, it takes some input
    searches for something based on that input
    displays some results from the search
    hmmmmmmm
    Googles anyone?
    i'll shut up now.
  • It seems to me, that this illustrates a growing problem in the tech industry; supply is dictating demand, whereas demand should be dictating supply.

    rant() {

    I can't help but imagine somewhere some marketing wank telling the VP of R&D that he can convince people that we can't exist without some high-tech widget that humanity has existed tens of thousands of years without, and having convined us, make bank off it. Never in my life have I heard anyone musing "hmmm I wish I could walk around town with dorky looking goggles that would tell me everything about the people I look at. I already have a pair of glasses that tell me every thing I want to know about the people around me...they're Ray Bans, and they tell me nothing.

    It just seems to me that in some cases, the tail is wagging the dog with this gadgetry. And that would be fine if the gadgets weren't forced down the throat of pop-culture to the point that is it impossible or at least extremely inconvenient to avoid participating.

    }

  • I turn my head when a knockout enters the room and am presented with:

    Age: 23
    Height: 5'9"
    Weight: 120lbs
    Measurements: 38-24-36
    Status: Single - 3 months
    Favorite Drink: Anything with kick
    Residence: 1 bdr apt - 3 blocks away

    Warning : Syphillis!!!

    Shoot... well, it was a good daydream while it lasted...
  • by kryzx (178628) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:33AM (#3090214) Homepage Journal
    There's no mention of what I consider to be the most interesting possibility: the ability to "see" the non-visible parts of the spectrum. With something like this you could have sensors to detect infrared, ultraviolet, microwave, etc., and display it as an overlay. Depending on what you were doing you could adjust what parts of the spectrum were shown in your display. That would so totally rock. I can think of tons of uses for it, and technically is seems more feasible than most of the apps described in the article.
  • According to an article in Popular Science

    Does anyone really need to read further than that to know that the technology is all pie-in-the-sky bullshit?

    Quoting from Popular Science is like quoting from The Enquirer. Shouldn't /. be a little above that?
  • combine this, the mechanized exoskeletons that the military is working on, and their spider-silk armor and suddenly all our Marines become Robocops. The REALLY amazing thing is that ALL those pieces are being worked on and have ALL been demonstrated at some level... The marines are talking AR for special forces by 2003 and all troups by 2005. I wonder if they'll have their exoskeletons working by then... A soldier equipped like that could probably take on "normal" soldiers 100-to-1 or 1000-to-1 and win hands down.
    • A soldier equipped like that could probably take on "normal" soldiers 100-to-1 or 1000-to-1 and win hands down.

      I doubt it. Remember that a tank can be taken out by a lone infantryman carrying a LAW-80. In Somalia, American troops with state of the art military technology got their asses handed to them on a plate by untrained tribesman carrying WWII vintage weapons. And the Afghans defeated the might of the Soviet Empire, despite the Soviet's incalculable (on paper) superiority (back when they were on our side, of course).

      Technology does give you domination in the air, but on the ground, things are a little more subtle, and relying on technology more often than not ends in disaster. Could a single soldier with the best technology currently available take on 100 WWII era soldiers? Not a chance. 1000 spear-carrying Zulus? No way - he would run out of ammo long before he'd killed a small fraction of them.

      The US Marines are an effective fighting force because they've never forgotten that you're an infantryman first, and APCs, Apaches and F18s are just the icing on the cake.
  • Overlaying information from DBs onto our field-of-awareness is fascinating. Also useful would be Enhanced Sensory Perception. Devices exist for this already, but they have not been fused into a single field-of-awareness device. Some categories of Enhanced Sensory Perception are :
    • Super Sensory : Our current senses are extended to sense lower intensities and wider spectrum. e.g. Hear faint conversations, sounds too high or low in frequency. See faint things, see infra-red, utraviolet, etc. Smell faint traces, smell chemicals beyond our current detection.
    • Extra Sensory :Sense information that is alien to our sensory system. e.g. Sense UWB Radio to "see" through walls and into the ground. Sense magnetism.
    • Limited Sensing : Cap the intensity of sensory input, to prevent the "stun", and temporary loss of perception effects of extreme intensity inputs. e.g. Reduce the intensity of loud bangs and bright flashes. Another critical goal of limited sensing is to prevent sensory overload. Sensory overload is easily reached when fusing Enhanced Sensory Perception and Information from DBs into our field-of-awareness. The system must attempt to limit this augmentation to areas that represent danger, are of known interest to us personally, or are in our current focus area. e.g. Do we want to hear every faint sound ? ... or just the voice of a distant person we are looking at? Do we want to see the IR signature of everything? ... or just when it would enhance our perception of danger, interest, or current focus? Selectivly limiting and hilighting sensory input is the make-or-break job of a usable Augmented Reality Device.

    Jono
  • Ouch! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dr. Bitchin' (562695)
    I can easily imagine someone walking into a lamp-post because their vision is blocked by a "blue screen of death"... talk about adding insult to injury
  • Boeing... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cr0sh (43134) on Friday March 01, 2002 @03:02PM (#3092652) Homepage
    IIRC, Boeing used (or tried out) an AR system several years back for the purpose of wiring the electrical systems of their planes. The wiring harnesses in the planes consist of several miles of wiring - all over the place.

    From what I understood, the idea was to get the tech to the point where a worker could simply look at the connection points, and the AR system would show what wires went where, via an overlay. I suppose some kind of tracking system would have been needed, to position the overlay properly (and from what I have been following lately, that problem is still unsolved in general AR/VR applications - but getting there rapidly). The whole idea was to eliminate the need for a worker to stop what he is doing, exit the frame, pick up the book of diagrams, leaf through them, and figure out what goes where "abstractly". With such an AR system, production and install times would be lowered - I am sure it could be applied to a number of other areas as well (including repair after the plane is built).

    Not sure where they went with it - if it was a limited trial, how well it worked, whether the equipment was up to task (I tend to think it wasn't), how workers liked it, etc. By the lack of talk on it, I tend to think it wasn't too successful - but the idea gives an example of what really can be done with AR.

    What is funny about all of this is that the first "real" VR style system (ie, the "Sword of Damaecles" (sp) by Ivan Sutherland in the late 1960's) was an AR system, complete with see-through optics and "wire-frame" virtual objects...
  • ... I just want to be able to type stuff into 2 databses just by thinking the words -- IMDB and Google.

    -- oh and page up & down. Is that too hard ? Can I have it embedded please?

    Let me know when its in beta :-)

    Winton

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