There isn’t a binary distinction between virtual reality and base reality. Mixed reality, augmented reality, these are different user interfaces for computers. Rather than a headset based user interface, existing objects and environments can be turned into a canvas to project onto and accept feedback from, a reality GUI. Mapping real environments and things allows us to augment reality.
The graphical interface lets us control information we would otherwise struggle to interpret. Interfaces are points of translation. The escapism of virtual reality is negated when you involve the real world and other people, this is a definite shift but not a complete reversal from immersive virtual reality. Mixed reality makes it easier to have multiple people involved with current computing power. Channels for signals to flow through and mingle are being opened up through different engineering styles.
Oblong and Watson
“Information surrounds us. It is everywhere. But we find it impossible to keep up, to read all that we should. Watson makes connections and learns from massive amounts of digital knowledge, helping us become better professionals.”
Dario Gil, Director of Symbiotic Cognitive Systems at IBM
Watson has been around awhile now, and is always growing new features. The Watson Client Experience Center is a big board of information 41 feet (12.5m) in length. Its like an art exhibition crossed with a spy agency. The “immersion room” next door is a hexagonal shaped 45 screened extension of the mind. There are organisation manuals to convert your life to plain text, imagine the power of intuitive projection of your life on a screen. Social networks would take on a different meaning if displayed in this format. Consumer command centres are a daunting proposition, perhaps unachievable with the current consumer hardware. We’re still used to devices separate from us, having our senses manipulated in a more direct fashion failed to launch with Google Glass, because they looked weird. Adjustments are being made and the pay-offs of using a mixed reality system are becoming more well-known.
Hololens and Magic Leap
Extending the whole world to be part of the computer’s canvas is hard work, Magic Leap has only recently began to release footage of its product. Hololens is a bulkier device you would wear especially to do work, the data Microsoft’s projecteers will get from real usage highlights their pragmatic approach as an established company. Magic Leap is aiming to produce something otherworldly. They are probably going to be the next Apple. All the right investors are in, the tools are actually used by staff without straining, it really enhances their abilities, more so than any perceived innovations with smartphones in the last few years.