Couldn't have said it better myself.
“Augmented Reality is a terrible expression,” says the AR demonstrator. “It’s a pity it doesn’t have a better name. So we call it XXooming. With two Xs.” Oh dear, I can tell this is about to be a presentation involving a string of brand-new made-up terms designed to mask the abject failure of the technology in question to have …
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I've had a few actually quite good pens from this kind of event, but they're usually the only tat worth accepting.
Anyway, leave showbiz to showbiz people. Getting it right costs money, sure, but IT is an industry that has money. Trying to use consumer-grade kit and live demonstrations is asking for trouble!
First and third page gave had me laughing, felt page 2 wandered off-topic and borke the flow, but overall very amusing.
I think the Augmented Reality thing will really only be applicable when the tech is less cuttng edge. A good example is those earsets you get on some museum tours, adding overlaid vision to those would be good.
Of course by the time that is cheap and affordable for museums, they'll have been replaced with fully virtual museums and antique items will be held in some sort of closed preservation with mock ups on the show floor.
Gaming it certainly has some possibilities, I quite enjoyed Face Raiders on the 3DS for about a week although the 'actual AR' card thingy was a pain, keeping the 3DS 30cm from my eyes and the right distance from the card was a pain.
Like many of us, I sit through a lot of PowerPoint presentations. This is of course very boring, but I find there is a lot of entertainment and education to be extracted from the presenter's Skype, Outlook and other assorted notifications - which helpfully pop up in the lower right corner at regular intervals.
Ah yes, did I ever recount the story about Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail, having to borrow an iPad from a gay IT minion in order to give a presentation to the board? Quite apart from all the Tindr notifications, just imagine what it might have been like in that boardroom if Gaydar suddenly announced that half a dozen potential contacts were nearby.
.. Demented Reality. Mainly because the people who try to sell me this technology seem to have entirely different ideas about what my reality needs to augmented with than I do.
My preferred augmentation is not augmentation at all in the dictionary sense: it's reduction. Most AR projects add data to sensory overload which is not exactly helpful. What I'd like to see is AR that takes away irrelevant data (maybe use the tech that allows you to lift an unloved person out of pictures) and only then add information to stuff that matters.
> "What I'd like to see is AR that takes away irrelevant data "
This is where googles glass missed a trick, detect when you are gazing idly at a ladys bosom, and desaturate the rest of the picture...
(I was going to add a bit about overlaid measurements, then I thought that would garner even more downvotes than this post it is going to get, or augment the picture with roses or cherubs, then I thought that's giving away that i'm that much of a weirdo)
"This is where googles glass missed a trick, detect when you are gazing idly at a ladys bosom, and desaturate the rest of the picture..."
Actually, this is where The Guardian Aced it with their April Fools day Guardian Goggles --- check out 01:45 where the demonstrator picks up an abandoned Daily Mail in a coffee shop
Teiwaz has a good point. In human factors analysis of accidents, information overload is often involved. Being able to remove irrelevant information allowing users to focus on essential features to immediate situation would be great. Assuming if there is a way to determine what the irrelevant is, (senior PHBs yelling is a certainty)
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To each his own I guess - I've got no problem with AR (aside of the bulkiness of most real-world kit needed to experience it). I'd be quite happy to see relevant tech information while I'm tinkering with something - it would sure as heck beat looking away and rummaging through the 101 simultaneously opened PDF datasheets on my monitor; for that matter, I would very much welcome just seeing a name and relation reminder hovering over people I sometimes meet and casually converse with trying to not let slip I have not the faintest idea who the heck they are. Also, I am a lot less critical of AR's possible entertainment uses - all current stuff may or may not suck, I have no idea, but there certainly is a potential for games that could never be played in any meaningfully similar way without AR.
"(aside of the bulkiness of most real-world kit needed to experience it)"
If you look back about 70 years the size of media toys has reduced enormously. Many things marketed as "portable" were in fact "luggable". There was a point when radios had shrunk enough for the volume control or tuning knob to be considered the limiting factor - then they became even smaller.
In about the last decade a 21" monitor has been reduced from a CRT needing two people to lift it with some effort - down to something you can pick up easily with one hand. Compare a smartphone with a 1996 era Compaq "luggable" PC that still needed a mains connection to power it.
Miniaturisation goes so far down the obvious technology track - and then a disrupting technology takes over.
Interesting that this article and the IoT article appear on the same day.
North, at their core, have some potentially useful technology. However, the developers are going for whizz-bang non-solutions to problems that have already been solved.
A useful application for AR? Copspace in Charles Stross' Rule 34 would be an incredibly useful application for AR in a real-world situation.but even Stross identified the potential for mis-application and function-creep embuggering a basic sound application.
The flight helmet for the Westland Apache AH64 helicopter is augmented to a phenomenal degree. BMW offer a HUD option for their vehicles. Both reasonable applications of AR.
The IoT I'm not so sure about, beyond the ability of my fridge to stock up on essentials (egg, bacon, milk, bread) and remotely order them for home delivery (I live in the country, supermarkets close at 9pm, 4pm Sunday's), but I don't use home delivery as it is. I'm left looking for a problem I have that needs a solution, but open to the probability that others may have problems for which IoT would be a godsend.
Talk about Augmented Reality, let's go SACO.
Stop And Conk Out. "Scanning internally, press OK" (fuck'd if I can remember, some Ford bollox).
Right, so I'm led to understand that if I lock a bumblebee in the car wierd shit will happen.
I work (actually I'm retired but the present tense suffices) in IT. All I need in a car is Steering, Brakes & Engine. I do not need american mirrors. I do not need computer"y" stuff. The Focus is a good car except for the new wanky body & electronic shit.
The boot is capacious. I locked my dog & my wife in there for an hour. I can now attest, in accordance with reddit, my dog was most definitely the happier to see me.
Looking at the decline in UI design during the last 15 years, I have formed the opinion the "people" who design the solutions do not have a clue as to what real problems are. As an example, take excel which went from a mostly intuitive useful application to a feeble desktop publishing app that might be usable for a few arithmetic activities, unless one sits thru hours of tedious courses.
Most IT, so far, except in a few cases where the users (shock, horror) were closely involved in design and testing has been a poor success. The big successes of technology are where it is invisible. Engine management systems, ABS and advanced aircraft design where it just works, silently and efficiently to improve machine performance, efficiency and safety. Unlike the tedious crap which elicits a baffled an "Uh?" when powered up eg Windows 8.0. And this is why UI design and implementation really shows up as bad when messing directly with users perception of reality.
Great article! LOL, literally.
About ten years ago a local school celebrated its many-hundredth anniversary with a series of talks. One evening was mainly Microsoft, with an EMEA-titled MS chappie demonstrating the wonders of PDAs. Unforch he didn't get the resolution right so the projector display was horribly aliased, provoking much negative commenting by the mainly retired audience who couldn't see what the fuss was about when you couldn't read what was on the screen. The follow-up was a MS-sponsored professor talking about e-books, but after he put up his Powerpoint title slide with two spelling mistakes and a mis-used apostrophe, he never really had the audience's attention either.
Later in the week another chap gave a talk on Bletchley Park, and his tech worked perfectly, including the real-life Enigma machine he let us have a go on. Ace.
ANY presentation taking place in a school, on school equipment is going to be a sad mixture of tedium and disaster.
The presenters will have limited IT skills in most cases. And certainly won't actually know how to make any kit work other than the one he or she used to prepare the presentation.
The only person in the school who understands the equipment will have long since given up attending any event that includes Powerpoint for the obvious reasons that a. he or she will end up working as an unpaid engineer and b. having been there, done that for any number of such occasions has long since lost any interest in attending anyway.
The equipment itself has been cobbled and bodged together over a number of years and has a complete set of incompatible cables attached to every possible place in or near it. Many of these are the wrong size or type and if actually required to work, will fall out at crucial moments, because should the right cable be in the right place it will not have the little screws that hold it in ( or alternatively will, but there won't be any little screw holes for them to go in to). The system will work with either the USB lead or the lead that should have had the little screws, but not both. However, no one has been told this, so the system only works when one of these falls out, which fortunately, as noted above, is pretty often.
The school is still using MS Office from 1980 something, but the presenter will have written everything in the latest geewhizz version, including some pretty slick effects that rely on the software being the latest version and having a good internet connection, which they never did get round to installing in the school hall.
The school computer will have been tied down and configured so that nothing, absolutely nothing, can be run from a memory stick without entering the password into three different places. Nobody there knows the password.
The bulb in the ageing projector has long since given up trying to produce light and simply sits and glows gently. Anyway the remote went missing years ago, and each time the button on the projector is pressed it goes a little more out of alignment. No one knows how to calibrate it.
No one has ever worked out how to make the speakers work.
All premises-provided presentation kit will trip you up and the more modern the tech the greater its ability to do so. Projectors will have been configured to work only the resident technician's own device, possibly a Sharp Zaurus or nothing at all.
But modern tech isn't needed for this. I recall the conference with a slide projector set to timed autoadvance so the presenters had to keep back-pedalling the remote to stay on the slide long enough to talk about it. Presenters can still score their own goals; I remember one lecturer turning up to give a lecture - in a theatre shared by his own department! - with a set of slides larger than 35mm but still too small for the ancient alternative projector.
We all are supposed to worry about AI destroying humanity, but the real danger is us turning over our high-resolution eyes and massively parallel high-efficiency brain to these plastic boxes and expecting them to augment our powers.
Just a couple of days ago I had the privilege to observe two Gen-Xers or whatever young people are called these days - they were tourists in my city and they were trying to locate themselves on a map. Both had smartphones, one was an iPhone and the other some sort of Android device.
The two teens started with Google Maps, but had some sort of issue with geo-location not working, so their street search gave them a location of a neighborhood in a country that was in a different continent. The iPhone guy said "I'll use Siri", so I hear him ask for his current location.
Siri Tries, Fails
I couldn't hear Siri's response, but he turns to the Android guy and says "Does 11 + 1 mean anything to you?" His friend gives him a blank stare and slowly shakes his head in the negative.
Now, the whole time, dear reader, the whole time there was a street sign right behind them with the name of the street they were looking for, but neither looked up to read it.
I couldn't help but think about the layers and layers of absolutely awesome technology working in concert to solve this computational problem - even Siri, a disembodied artificial intelligence being deep in the bowels of the Wolfram datacenter, connected via satellite, was helpless in the face of this grand computational challenge as old as the sun:
Effectiveness of communication is limited by the lower of the intelligences on either end of the channel.
And it's not always the computer.
I think I might find some kind of AR device that gives me a Robocop type view of the world quite interesting at times. Zoom vision, targeting, range, enhanced audio but real time, real world stuff ( and in a device that doesn't make me look like a complete twonk). the trouble with a lot of so called AR hitting the markets is the designers don't seem to have much idea of what reality actually is, rather than augmenting the world around us they seem to be trying to create a surreal world that has nothing to do with reality.
Swampdog can you tell me how to remove the muesli your post made me eject all over my keyboard?
I think. I think this was spot on -- the crazy amounts of problems presenters seem to have. Especially if they are using Windows (and Apples where they forget the proprietary connectors.)
The uselessness of AR too; ShortLegs brings up one definitely useful use (and I've read about a few USAF jets also having a heavily augmented flight helmet) but in general, mostly I've seen a few fairly useless (but less double entendre-filled) tech demos, with no suggestion of what it'd actually be used for.
@henry wertz 1
The Apache helmet is one of the -sadly very few - examples where MoD R&D worked with the end user throughout the whole process, and the end users' feedback was submitted direct to the boffins, sans 'flavouring' by someone higher up the ladder.
All too often the MoD will design an trial equipment without feedback from real end users; typical examples being boots designed for operational use given to clerks, who find them too uncomfortable to wear... in the office. The last phrase being omitted! SA80 was another example, where feedback from the booties was censored for political expediency. Consequently MOD paid £850 per unfit-for-purpose rifle, when the perfectly acceptable M16 could have been made under licençe for £150.
When it comes to presentations, the Army taught it's JNCOs how to give classroom instruction, and how to use a slide projector. The key lesson learnt was to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse; prior preparation prevents p*** poor performance, you could spot a poorly prepared lesson within seconds. A good grounding, it served me well in civvy street giving presentations extolling the virtues of my NMC to customers with £multi-million accounts.
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If the bar to being an engineer is the successful operation of a projector, then that means that half of the sales and HR team here are in-fact bone-fide, highly qualified, engineers. Whereas most of the people with Engineering degrees are here on false pretences.
Be right back.. Gone to get security!
In a couple of years time you will be able to enjoy a similar demonstration but involving the MacBook's 1 (one) USB port.
In fact you could republish this article again in a few years with the MacBook edited in some blank space and call it a Special Edition. Your most devoted fans would say it was an abomination and demand the original edition back, you would grudgingly oblige years later but on a magenta background.
Well it worked for Lucas.
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