Blink twice and you’re on the internet: Augmenting reality with new technologies

Arizona State University‘s Dr Mina Johnson-Glenberg recently made some interesting observations in her presentation, titled Embodied, Gesture-based Learning – Mixed Reality and Serious Games at a Learning & Teaching Research Cluster meeting here at Macquarie University.  Her research looks at the impact of embodiment and gesture on the learning that occurs in virtual settings. Some of her research programs involve getting students away from computer screens and into display spaces that require gestural input to make things happen.

According to Dr. Johnson-Glenberg we’re about six years away from having commercially available contact lenses with built in displays, capable of putting up a net browser or augmenting the visual reality with additional text-based information.

Here’s an amusing and slightly dystopian view from Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo. on how augmented reality might work in a personal sense:

Sight from Vimeo.

The video clip from Keiichi Matsuda, below,is another commercially-enhanced view of how augmented reality might appear from the user’s point of view:

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop from Keiichi Matsuda on Vimeo.

The Google Glass project incorporates a single-eye heads-up browser/data display into a lightweight headband. The latest version also captures and shares video. Like Dr Johnson-Glenberg, Google seems keen to get people away from the desktop and more into the (augmented) environment. The design team made deliberate choices about the positioning of the image viewer (above the direct line of sight, monocular only), presumably to discourage people from viewing while driving or walking into traffic.  Like mobile phones, this technology offers incredible advantages such as access to instant information for its users, but also come with its own risks in terms of personal safety.

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