Published on March 6th, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
The Promise of Universal Augmented Reality
There is a “sense of place” in every locale you encounter. At venturebeat.com, Chris McAlorum uses great masters of the arts to explain how AR has the potential to enhance any environment or location with significant meaning. This is what artists have been doing across the ages in painting, literature, cartography and more. This perspective gives us a much greater appreciation of our daily surroundings.
The future of augmented reality is being built today. Computing is entering the physical world. Steve Jobs once said technology alone is not enough, “ultimately it comes down to taste, it’s a matter of trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then trying to bring those things into what you are doing.” This type of thinking can be the difference between a good product and a product customers love.
As AR matures, as an enabled landscape becomes reality, there are two concepts from humanities that can inform a heuristic design principle for the creation of these new experiences. The “locale” and “sense of place.” Heuristic is the art and science of discovery and invention. A heuristic is a way of directing your attention fruitfully.
Mapping your world
Two hundred years ago the pinnacle of large-scale map production was scale six inches to a mile (scale circa 1:10,000). Today, the use case has changed. To enhance AR experiences, the ambition is to work towards a scale 1:1 3D real-time high-fidelity semantic mapping infrastructure, the AR Cloud. Human scale mapping, as described by Niantic CEO John Hanke. Virtual content interacting with the physical world via a mobile device. High definition mapping is also required as part of the autonomous vehicle ecosystem, however, the user experience between the two will differ. The former operates at the pedestrian scale, at the “locale.” It is at this scale at which we can learn from the humanities.
“All great civilizations are based on the parochial” writes Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh. Historically great artists have relied on the local scale. James Joyce’s literature focused on Dublin. Miro once said “all of my work is conceived in Montroig.” Vermeer worked exclusively in Delft. Picasso often repeated, “everything I know, I learned in Horta.”
The “locale” is not just location or topographical reference. It is where something happens or is set, that has particular events associated with it. It is like a theater stage for a minimalist Samuel Beckett play or an artist’s blank canvas. What is left in this blank and empty landscape? It becomes what Miro envisioned in his landscape paintings, animated momentarily by human action and interaction, a canvas for human creation, markings, relationship, and memory. What he would refer to as “the underlying magic.” Here the activity on the surface is amplified. A more emotional connection.
The actor James O’Neill, the father of Eugene O’Neill who like Bob Dylan, Seamus Heaney, and Samuel Beckett received the Nobel Laureate for Literature, once said “the world’s a theater, the earth a stage.” AR could make such manifest. Great AR design could use 1:1 scale topographical features as a stage for individual experiences that are universal for all people, amplifying and celebrating the rhythms and grandeur of ordinary life. Potentially serving over one billion individuals by 2021 according to Digi-Capital research.