London architecture student Keiichi Matsuda has posted a brilliant and scary visualization of the near future of augmented reality.
Today’s AR apps don’t offer a solid user experience.
The future of the moving image depends on video production getting a lot easier. In the last five years, digital video capture and editing have made TV shows simpler and cheaper to produce, but you still need too many people to make a minute of television: camera operator, sound tech, hair and makeup, video editor and broadcast/DVD engineer. New de-skilled video authoring tools like Serious Magic’s groundbreaking Visual Communicator make desktop video more like desktop publishing: “Think it. Mouse it. Print it.” But we need a big leap forward before TV is easy enough.
A pioneering research effort at UC Berkeley’s Garage Cinema Research applies artificial intelligence techniques to understand the “semantic content and syntactic structure” of video. GCR has posted some sample of their intelligent video productions on their web site. See the thumbnails for some interesting experiments:
Much of the Berkeley language is pretty dense and academic, but the take-home paragraph is on target:
Our research is about making video a data type that humans and computers can create, access, process, reuse, and share according to descriptions of its semantic content and the principles of its syntactic construction. Our research aims to make this process as effortless as possible.
Notice that the next generation video producers will be computers as well as humans.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about augmented reality on a personal digital assistant with a link to a video from a Finnish company that created an AR visualization of a new building. This morning at a Vienna University of Technology conference in Austria, a team of developers will demonstrate The Invisible Train, “a mobile, collaborative multi-user Augmented Reality (AR) game, in which players control virtual trains on a real wooden miniature railroad track. These virtual trains are only visible to players through their PDA’s video see-through display as they don’t exist in the physical world. This type of user interface is commonly called the magic lens metaphor.
The computers in our pockets are getting very interesting applications: from calendar, contacts, and to-do lists to mobile telephony, digital imaging, email, Web access, WiFi links, MP3 playback, GPS, multimedia, pocket video and now the “magic lens.” A few more doodads and we’ll finally have reinvented Spock’s tricorder.
Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do? Watcha gonna do when they come for you? The dashboard video cameras that give us so much pleasure in syndicated televisions shows like “World’s Most Dangerous Police Chases” will soon have a handheld Camera 2. At the U.S. Maritime Security Expo in New York this month, Camlite Video Systems showed a cop-sized flashlight with a camera wirelessly linked to a Sony Video Walkman. (The whole rig is available in an attractive fanny pack option.) With a range of only 1,000 feet, a fairly grainy analog signal, and a price tag of upwards of $3,500, you probably won’t find this unit in many civilian applications. The brochure suggests DUI stops, searches and seizures, domestic distubances and “patron removal incidents.” But as part of the pervasive video surveillance trend, it may not be too long before somebody launches a late night show along the lines of “World’s Weirdest Cavity Searches.”
Sony took a big step in commercializing Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays yesterday with the introduction of the Clié PEG-VZ90, a Palm OS PDA pitched as a portable multimedia device. It looks a lot more like a pocket TV than a Palm Pilot and comes with a multimedia control panel and audio and video playback software.
Sony stopped selling Clié s in the U.S. market this year, and the new unit costs over US$850, but the integration of multimedia features and the use of the slimmer, brighter, faster, less-power-hungry, better-viewing-angle OLED display in place of an LCD is a milestone. For the specs on the Sony OLED, see their press release. Check out lots of pictures of the new Clié from the Japanese Clié User Club by way of Engadget. And see our video “Pocket PC: Turbocharged PDAs” for the big picture future of the computer in your pocket.
I’ve always been a fan of wretched excess. I like it when people spend money; it’s good for the economy and often good for the spirit. But even I think that the Hummer is a step too far: huge, heavy, wasteful, hard-to-park … hard to climb into if your back is sore.
As part of IN3’s Pervasive Video study, I came across a passel of companies that make the Hummer even more wretchedly excessive by adding TV screens inside the car. There’s a 3 inch monitor that mounts near the rear view mirror and hooks up to a camera hidden in the back bumper. This way you can see who you’re backing over. I wonder if there’s a hidden microphone too so you can hear their screams. There’s also a thermal imaging camera that hides in your grillwork and projects to a heads-up display in front of the steering wheel to give you night vision.
OK, navigation aids: so far so good. For your spolied brat kids in the back seat, there’s a DVD player that sits between the bucket seats, and you can also buy video monitors built into each of the headrests, as many as six of them in a fully-tricked out machine.
The scariest idea, though, is a visor-mounted monitor for the front seat. The manufacturer’s installation manual makes the point that many states don’t allow video screens that are viewable by the driver while the car is moving — the monitor is designed for the passenger-side visor — but my faith in human weakness tells me it’s bad enough to be driving with nine different video screens going at the same time. This tenth TV in the front seat just seems like a bad idea in a six thousand pound mechanical beast driven, no doubt, by some smug idiot on a cell phone.