Linked by Kroc on Wed 7th Mar 2007 18:20 UTC
Geek stuff, sci-fi... Augmented Reality is the overlapping of digital information and physical environment. Sci-Fi has often portrayed A.R. as interactive floating transparent computer screens projected into the air, or perhaps the most absolute example: standing inside an entirely computer generated world.
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Is this really AR?
by brecht on Wed 7th Mar 2007 19:01 UTC
brecht
Member since:
2006-06-02

Having more natural/direct controllers is one thing, but it seems to me that integration of graphics is vital for something to be really called AR, i.e. augmenting a view on the real world with computer graphics. With the Wii and iPhone everything you see is still on a separate screen. It's cool but it doesn't fit the definition of 'augmented reality' in my opinion.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Is this really AR?
by Kroc on Wed 7th Mar 2007 19:09 UTC in reply to "Is this really AR?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

True A.R. will come evetually I think, but to get there, the mouse will have to go first. A screen-in-the-air would be a pain to use if you had to stand there trying to interact with the data with a trackball in your hand instead of reaching out and 'grabbing' the data.

I think that the Wii & iPhone are A.R., but just primitive A.R. The way the Wii allows you to swing a golf club in the game, but have the feeling of a golf club in your hands by having something to hold, and move in direct correlation with the virtual world is a form of A.R. imo. Things have a long way to go, but it's all exciting!

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Is this really AR?
by hobgoblin on Thu 8th Mar 2007 11:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Is this really AR?"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

the wiimote can act as a mouse. hell, i think its used as such in most of the wii menus.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Is this really AR?
by renox on Thu 8th Mar 2007 14:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Is this really AR?"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Sure, the wiimote can be used as a mouse, but let's be honest: as a mouse it sucks, it's far less precise than a real mouse.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Is this really AR?
by msundman on Wed 7th Mar 2007 19:24 UTC in reply to "Is this really AR?"
msundman Member since:
2005-07-06

> it seems to me that integration of graphics is vital for
> something to be really called AR

Indeed. We need glasses or contact lenses with integrated displays, preferably with depth of field, lest our eyes will go way worse way faster than they do now.

Then we need head/eye tracking. And I mean seriously good tracking. I've been inside the VR cube at KTH in Sweden, and with the tracker it had it felt like my eyes were on rubber bands; when I moved my head the display was updated some 100-400 milliseconds later. This causes nausea in most people. We need to be talking microseconds instead of milliseconds here. Especially if the display is on contact lenses, because of the saccadic eye movements.

It would also be nice to have some kind of tracking of external objects, making computer graphics overlays possible, but I guess that's even farther down the road.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Is this really AR?
by drfelip on Thu 8th Mar 2007 09:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Is this really AR?"
drfelip Member since:
2005-07-06

Integrating most comments in this thread, I conclude that:

-True AR involves both "augmented input" and "augmented output" to achieve an augmented interactivity.

-Augmented input could include motion sensing, touch sensing, true voice recognition (understanding of natural speech, think about Star Trek computers), eye tracking and other alternatives.

-Augmented output could include an improved desktop metaphor (3D or not), information superimposed to visual reality (glasses or contact lenses with integrated displays, but I think glasses are way more cool :>), speech and other alternatives.

It looks like current state of AR is more advanced in the input area (motion and touch at least), but as Kroc points out nicely, software (mainly OS) has to evolve a lot to embrace this kind of interactivity and use it for increased productivity. And as said by Yamin, efficiency of keyboards is difficult to beat in this context, especially in places where other people are working.

In order to truly develop AR, some technological advances have to be made, and a true benefit for users has to derive from it. I think AR will eventually develop, but how fast, only time will tell.

Reply Score: 1

Wii iPhone?
by Wintermute on Wed 7th Mar 2007 19:18 UTC
Wintermute
Member since:
2005-07-30

I cannot agree the iPhone or the Wii can be seen as augmenting reality.

True augmented reality will happen when technology like Gibson's "Neuromancer" - simstims, jacking, now that is cool.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Wii iPhone?
by monkeyhead on Sat 10th Mar 2007 14:45 UTC in reply to "Wii iPhone? "
monkeyhead Member since:
2005-07-11

I burst out laughing when I read the part about the iPhone being an A.R.device because it has a touch screen. What a joke.

Touchscreens have been around for a long damn time... I remember my first encounter with one back in '86. They've been in use on portable devices such as palm pilots for quite some time. This is not revolutionary at all, nor does it represent augmented reality.

Reply Score: 1

My Augmented Reality
by fretinator on Wed 7th Mar 2007 20:04 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

Comes from a good cup of java (not Java). YMMV

Reply Score: 4

Total Immersion 2007
by OSGuy on Wed 7th Mar 2007 20:08 UTC
OSGuy
Member since:
2006-01-01

Hmm something like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8Eycccww6k

Reply Score: 3

RE: Total Immersion 2007
by Kroc on Wed 7th Mar 2007 20:23 UTC in reply to "Total Immersion 2007"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Or like this
http://fastcompany.com/video/general/perceptivepixel.html (think iPhone on a 100" screen)

Reply Score: 3

efficiency
by Yamin on Wed 7th Mar 2007 20:36 UTC
Yamin
Member since:
2006-01-10

"In order for computers to evolve to the next generation, they will need to dispatch of the mouse. Pen based and voice input can provide simpler, quicker access, usable by a wider range of people."

Let us for a minute assume we perfect pen and voice recognition. Is it really better than what we have now?

I personally type much faster than i write with a pen. I also find it way easier than writing. I'd also not have to sit there and talk 50 pages just to write an essay.

The mouse is also a very good design. A pen is unquestionably better for graphic art work. I've used convertible tablet pcs where i can get the benefits of both worlds. Do I find myself more drawn to pen-mode? No, because for many tasks, I need a keyboard (see above) and the mouse is a much better companion to a keyboard than the pen (I doesn't need to touch the screen...it is a much quicker switch from keyboard to mouse...than from keyboard-pen-screen)


A common example of this is the voice-menu systems over the telephone. It used be the voice would say "press 1 for x, press 2 for y, press 3 for z". And you would press a key. Now its "tell me what you'd like to do" and you have speak to this machine. Especially at work or something, it's far more convenient to just let me press numbers than to interrupt everyone around me with me answering voice prompts.

By all means A.R is getting better and I welcome any new changes. But they have to actually have a benefit. Off the top of my head, the only thing more efficient than typing would be some kind of direct connection to the brain ;)

Reply Score: 3

RE: efficiency
by Kroc on Wed 7th Mar 2007 21:15 UTC in reply to "efficiency"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Voice has been slow because the computer has not yet been able to understand us more fluently, and nor has an OS been developed that is not trying to replace the mouse pointer with the voice

For example, what's quicker?
Saying "Computer, play the 25 highest rated songs that were last played on tuesday please",

or saying the clicks out loud - "Start, All Programs, iTunes... File, New Smart Playlist..."

And to iterate your phone menu system; again current systems are no more than replacing clicks or buttons, not /real/ speech. In the future, you could expect to just say "I'd like to talk to the finance department please" and instantly be taken to the right place without silly menus.

Edited 2007-03-07 21:17

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: efficiency
by msundman on Wed 7th Mar 2007 23:20 UTC in reply to "RE: efficiency"
msundman Member since:
2005-07-06

> "Computer, play the 25 highest rated songs that were last
> played on tuesday please"

It's good that you're polite to your computer, lest it starts playing Step by step (by New Kids on the Block) on repeat instead. :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: efficiency
by devurandom on Thu 8th Mar 2007 09:31 UTC in reply to "RE: efficiency"
devurandom Member since:
2005-07-06

Saying "Computer, play the 25 highest rated songs that were last played on tuesday please",

or saying the clicks out loud - "Start, All Programs, iTunes... File, New Smart Playlist..."


What's actually easier, nicer and maybe even faster is clicking with a mouse through the thing, expecially if you already did the smart playlist.
(I don't know how it works on iTunes, but on Amarok it would be so).

Voice interfaces? No thanks (see my other comment about it).

Reply Score: 1

(2+epsilon)D is better than 3D
by mdmkolbe on Wed 7th Mar 2007 20:39 UTC
mdmkolbe
Member since:
2005-09-15

3D may be great for demos and games, but lets not forget that human eyes are 2D input devices. Our brains may reconstruct 3D information via a number of clues, but even that reconstruction is only be partial (e.g. walls or objects may occlude my vision).

Books, signs, and graphs all encode their information in 2D because that is the only way to present all the information at a single glance. Eyes can move about a 2D interface faster than legs can walk about a 3D interface. (Information that in inherently 3D (e.g. architecture models) not withstanding.)

One qualification on this is that most GUIs include the ability for objects to overlap or stack on top of each other. Good interface design often revolves around how to use these sorts of tricks to hide the information when the user doesn't want it (e.g. menu collapsed or a window behind another one) but still show it when the user does want it (e.g. menu expands, etc). The information is still 2D but it is a mangaged 2D with occlusion and hiding that you might have in a 3D world. I belive the future of user interfaces lies not in 3D but in developing these (2+epsilon)D interfaces to make it easier for the user to navigate information and applications. I for one would like to be able to just think at a menu to have it open or to switch between the window I'm reading from and the one I'm writing notes in.

Reply Score: 3

Snow Crash
by StephenBeDoper on Wed 7th Mar 2007 23:52 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

Neal Stephenson got it right back in 92, if only someone would get around to building the technology. I want my metaverse, damn it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Snow Crash
by stew on Thu 8th Mar 2007 14:00 UTC in reply to "Snow Crash"
stew Member since:
2005-07-06

It's called SecondLife and it's boring.

Reply Score: 1

Ar discussion and nobody mentions arquake
by dizzey on Thu 8th Mar 2007 01:48 UTC
dizzey
Member since:
2005-10-15

arquake thats great ar for you
http://wearables.unisa.edu.au/projects/ARQuake/www/

and dont forget the
http://www.tinmith.net/backpack.htm

thats some fun ar

Reply Score: 2

Please don't do that
by devurandom on Thu 8th Mar 2007 09:29 UTC
devurandom
Member since:
2005-07-06

In order for computers to evolve to the next generation, they will need to dispatch of the mouse. Pen based and voice input can provide simpler, quicker access, usable by a wider range of people.

Apart from a bit of wrist syndromes, the mouse is a damn good usability concept. It is easy to implement as a control on the computer side and it is extremly logical to use.

Voice interfaces are actually much worse. Do you imagine a train/plane full of people speaking to their laptops? An office full of people speaking to their desktops? What if the PC answers to talk in the room instead of your one? You can use some clever filtering/recognizing, OK: what if it answers to *you* talking with someone else? Do I have to begin every sentence with some "My Computer please" header? What about voice strain? And what would be the advantage of such a mess coupled with the increased development difficulty and costs?

On a sidenote, touchscreen interfaces are also subpar. See http://catb.org/jargon/html/G/gorilla-arm.html on the Jargon File for explanation.

Edited 2007-03-08 09:32

Reply Score: 1

RE: Please don't do that
by drfelip on Thu 8th Mar 2007 09:59 UTC in reply to "Please don't do that"
drfelip Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree about the gorilla arm thing, our arms are much better adapted to perform small movements while resting or being supported on a desk, but I think touch recognition can bring some enhanced interactivity. Maybe a better alternative would be some kind of big touchpad integrating keyboard and mouse roles, or something similar to a laser keyboard tracking finger position and gestures.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Please don't do that
by diskinetic on Sat 10th Mar 2007 17:40 UTC in reply to "Please don't do that"
diskinetic Member since:
2005-12-09

--"Voice interfaces are actually much worse. Do you imagine a train/plane full of people speaking to their laptops? An office full of people speaking to their desktops?"--

Not really different than people talking to each other, if the technology is implemented properly. I would also want a tactile trigger to let the computer know I was talking to it, and not a flight attendant, but if you do it right, speaking conversationally to anything would be pretty close to ideal. Not because it's efficient, of course, but rather that it's easily taught to humans and puts the work firmly back on the robots where it belongs.

Reply Score: 1

tablet os
by hobgoblin on Thu 8th Mar 2007 11:41 UTC
hobgoblin
Member since:
2005-07-06

thats the one part of this opinion piece i agree with.

hell, i sometimes wonder if not a good tablet os may even make for a good pc os as i sometimes think the desktop metaphor have become way to literal...

mind you, more often then not the underlying os do not have to change, its just the gui that have to do so.

linux, windows, mac/bsd, it can all be used, one just need to rethink the gui, the part that the user interacts with on a daily basis.

for that i find it interesting that the tablet/umpc part of vista now comes with a special gui for launching apps and some other stuff. more like their htpc gui then a desktop gui iirc.

hell, even the htpc gui works better because its more focused. movies? all are found under the movies area. pictures, sorted where you expect them to be and so on.

much more focused then the dekstop gui with its general purpose file manager.

sure, there have been inclusions in xp and vista of folders that are specifcally there to house specific kinds of files. but in vista, are they auto-updated search folders?

hmm, i need to have my gui thoughts hammered out into a coherent whole. linux (or maybe something else. but linux is a ok start) kernel, database assisted file system, file/object/action centered gui with plugin/kpart style backend. dropping the overlapping windows in favor of something that tile windows automatically for those times when one needs to move or compare stuff.

Reply Score: 3

RE: tablet os
by drfelip on Thu 8th Mar 2007 14:03 UTC in reply to "tablet os"
drfelip Member since:
2005-07-06

That would be an interesting and handy approach. I think Linux is good to experiment with new GUI concepts. The problem is to find the right people to face such challenge!

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: tablet os
by hobgoblin on Thu 8th Mar 2007 18:25 UTC in reply to "RE: tablet os"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

well i may have to learn to program to ever see it make any headway beyond a few drawings and ideas...

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: tablet os
by drfelip on Thu 8th Mar 2007 22:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: tablet os"
drfelip Member since:
2005-07-06

I know, "if you want something done, do it yourself, but you know, ideas have power. The best programmer in the world can't bring anything really brillinant without innovative ideas. Look at Microsoft: lots of money and good programmers, lack of new ideas. A lot of projects need a lot of people working on it: programmers, designers, testers... and people thinking about goals, objectives and so. So not being a programmer isn't so bad :>)

Ideas need to be spread to be useful, communicate them. Maybe you will start a huge project, maybe a small one, maybe inspire somebody, or just start a nice discussion, like the one inside this thread, that is, by itself, a good thing. At the bottom line, speaking/writing is gratis :>)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: tablet os
by hobgoblin on Thu 8th Mar 2007 22:54 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: tablet os"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

that it is, but i fear some corp will grab my ideas and run of with them before i get any kind of project going. and then sue my ass of later on...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: tablet os
by drfelip on Fri 9th Mar 2007 08:16 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: tablet os"
drfelip Member since:
2005-07-06

Right. So, for your project, you need lawyers. Lots of them. A few programmers and designers won't hurt, too, but mainly lawyers.

Have luck :>)

Reply Score: 1

Still lack the proper input device
by renox on Thu 8th Mar 2007 14:33 UTC
renox
Member since:
2005-07-06

While I agree with the article that for AR to be useful, it needs a proper input device, but I fail to see which input device can be used:
- a wiimote: it's not very precise.
- voice input: not reliable especially in noisy environment, annoying for bystanders..
- pen, touch: those usually tires the hand fast.

Plus the presentation device is quite tricky: many display will induce sea-sickness for users.

Reply Score: 2

Just Communication
by chaosvoyager on Thu 8th Mar 2007 19:08 UTC
chaosvoyager
Member since:
2005-07-06

Frankly, I think some form of sign language will be the lingua franca of the AR era.

And voice and gesture only seem less efficient, because people typically don't create and use new words and movements to communicate. Yet we make new words when programming a computer by keyboard all the time. It could even be argued that creating new words is at the heart of what programming is.

The biggest technical reason AR is not quite here yet is that latency is still an enormous problem. The system just doesn't respond to human action fast enough. Head trackers are too slow, translating complicated movement takes too long, and Immersions' 3D stylus jumps and stutters when moved too quickly (at least last time I used it). Even video through firewire has a very observable delay.

Until that nut is cracked, AR will not have really arrived.

Reply Score: 1

"computer...computer"?
by matthekc on Fri 9th Mar 2007 02:09 UTC
matthekc
Member since:
2006-10-28

i'm reminded of the star trek movie where scottie picks up the mouse and yells into it.

In an office voice tech could never work to many people but at home from the couch it could be cool.

Edited 2007-03-09 02:13

Reply Score: 2

iphone !
by josephclark on Wed 14th Mar 2007 03:48 UTC
josephclark
Member since:
2007-03-09

Cool UIs dont really bring productivity unless you can connect easily to DATA. Past and Present points to

Apple unwilling to roll with Corporate environments.

http://www.iphone-converter.org/

Reply Score: 1

crazy!
by josephclark on Wed 14th Mar 2007 05:39 UTC
josephclark
Member since:
2007-03-09

quote:"Voice interfaces are actually much worse. Do you imagine a train/plane full of people speaking to their laptops? An office full of people speaking to their desktops?"

crazy! Get iPhone Converter http://www.iphoneconverter.com/

Reply Score: 1