Monday, May 10, 2010

a couple of ted talks on augmented reality

As a regular part of the AI classes I teach, I like to show related ted talks to my students. Since augmented reality is a big part of my research interests, I always include a few AR examples.

First up is Pattie Maes one of my AI hero's from MIT and her student Pranav Mistry's work, The Sixth Sense.

The sixth sense is basically a low-cost wearable AR rig that uses a projector and gesture recognition technology. It's a great hack to use portable projection. One of the cool things about this work was that it pieced together off the shelf parts into a low cost application... what a great job it would be to just think about how to put basic parts together to make radical new applications... The audience reaction is kind of like the shock of recognition that new leaps forward are possible and affordable if we are smart. It's not that I expect to see people everywhere pawing at the air in the near future but I don't think I could have seen the cell phone coming with it's half conversations polluting the landscape either.

Not to be too negative though, the sixth sense is a breakthrough in demoing that AR is just around the corner, that there are multiple workable approaches to the challenges of visualization and interactivity, and that we're ready to be blown away.

The second ted talk I wanted to mention was Blaise Aguera y Arcas's demo of Microsoft's new Bing maps...

So Blaise's talk was about some cool features of the new Bing maps. It's nice to see new work coming out of Microsoft research... Some of the things I like are: the 3D renderings in the map... I imagine being able to play games in map spaces and have those connect with live players and gps.... then of course there's the mapping of user generated content to the maps, images and even live video... now I can imagine some of the biggest challenges here will be in moderating this content... how will it be done? will people do this for free? will they be given feudal rights to maintain certain public spaces or will it be another job for cities and companies to perform... kindof like virtual landscaping or graffiti busters.

The bing maps kindof brings up more questions than it answers... like bandwidth... they were using a 4g network, but what happens when everyone want's their videophone? What about first amendment rights? is bing map space public space? or is it private property? Just wondering...

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