Is the next exodus of mass media in 3D Optics, Gestural Interfaces and Augmented Reality?
I am going to tell you right here, right now, we are in for a complete paradigm shift of what content and advertising will mean. I don’t want to scare you and I don’t want to change subjects, but I just discovered the word – Techno-telepathy, you see what I’m saying, get ready to be flipped upside down.
So back on track, have you heard of Microsoft Hololens or Oculus Rift, how about Daqri Smart Helmet?
So with the Microsoft Hololens they’ve created a personal and workplace device, a headset that renders 3D content only the wearer can see. To the outsider you will just be wearing buggy eyed glasses. This AR (augmented Reality) system is overlaying images and objects onto your living rooms and offices. Don’t worry, It affords you the mobility to maneuver about the space without injury.
The headset tracks your movements, pays attention to your gaze and reorganize what it is you see by projecting light at your eyes with no ill effect. Since the device tracks where you are, you can use hand gestures; for now it’s limited to midair clicks by raising and lowering your finger to interact with the 3D images. The headband has a suite of sensors to register your movements in a room and it uses this information along with layers of colored glass to create images you can interact with or investigate from different angles.
For instance if you’re inspecting a virtual model of the statue of David, if you walk around to the other side of the statue be ready to get a glimpse of some backside. There is a forward camera that looks at the environment, so the HoloLens knows where tables, chairs and other objects are. It then uses that information to project 3D images on top of and even inside them. Get ready to play with dimensional spaces in a way you’ve only dreamed about. The potential for delicate technical instruction is massive, think doctors or pilots.
Now let’s move on to an alternative concept, this is the VR (Virtual Reality) department – the Oculus Rift. Oculus‘ headset looks somewhat like Microsoft’s HoloLens in that it’s a device worn on your head, but after that the similarities end.
Where Microsoft wants interaction will the world in an innovative way, Oculus wants you to be there inside the new universe being created. Basically the rift headset is an open screen on your face that produce a conscious shift in perspective as if you were transported into a pocket dimension existing within our own. If you haven’t tried the Oculus Rift some have said it’s like “playing a role inside of a 3D hologram.”
The objective for Oculus is to ground you in an illusion, so you believe you are actually there.
The feeling is called “presence,” an ambition Microsoft’s HoloLens isn’t reaching for. Since Virtual Reality puts its best foot forward to immerse you in these new settings, developers don’t need to exaggerate content to hold gamers’ attention. New mediums like VR can be a great breeding ground for imaginative and unexpected new content, and can also open the door to other unexpected players.
Don’t think that Oculus is just a video game outlet, the company wants you to know that VR is great for immersive movie experiences, too. Even though gaming is a huge niche market, everyone loves movies. Oculus is producing films and nobody knows better how to show off the capabilities of the Rift than the company that made it. So they have just opened a cinema division called Oculus Story Studio. The first release will be a short interactive film called Lost. Oculus is launching a total of five VR movies this year. So much to look forward to.
Then to top it off we have Los Angeles-based startup DAQRI’s smart safety helmet for blue collar workers! Their site states “every aspect of DAQRI Smart Helmet was designed with the industrial work place in mind, from its advanced sensor package to the intuitive user interface that requires zero calibration, to the battery life that lasts an entire shift”.
DAQRI claims that the helmet has more computing power than any other wearable device, sporting a couple of Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. The company has developed their own custom software called IntelliTrack that overlays augmented data onto real-world surfaces in real-time. There are sensors that wrap around this device that afford a 360 degree field of vision with HD video and photography and is supposed to operate just fine in low light. It appears they are really pushing augmented reality technology to that sci-fi movie playing field. The device has been in the works for four years and what I’ve read and seen has impressed me.
But Oculus, Microsoft, Daqri and others believe in a different, potentially more natural way to interact with our technology. These innovators are out there creating hardware that is going to redefine how we enjoy ourselves and run our businesses by using hand gestures, 3D images and images superimposed on reality. Welcome to the world of next-generation tools for productivity, communication.
In all seriousness, if you are looking for employment in a field that just plans on getting bigger and bigger, consider what your knowledge of AR, VR, optics and so forth are and try to market yourself towards companies that are already headed in that direction and jump on board and get surreal.