Towards a Blended Reality: Interview with augmented reality pioneer Thad Sterner

Towards a Blended Reality: Interview with augmented reality pioneer Thad Sterner

Summary: Technologies such as Google Glass and 3D printers are beginning to bend and blend our experience of physical and digital realities...

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I've been thinking about a recent conversation with Matthew Greeley, CEO of BrightIdea. He had a great take on 3D printers. He pointed out that when the time between thinking something up, and then physically having it – shrinks towards nothing – as with future 3D printers, our reality becomes less distinguishable from living in a digital reality, the Singularity. 

He's right and it's an interesting idea to explore further. In a similar vein, products such as Google Glass offer a similar merging of the worlds. Former magazine publisher Fred Davis showed me his Google Glass and I appreciated the fact that he could near instantaneously looking something up online, or take a photo. The lag between thought and action is shrinking.

When Google Glass figures out what I need, and when I need it – because it knows my physical context there will be no lag time, I'll get exactly what I need when I need it. I won't even need to go through a process of "wanting" something, say my supermarket shopping list, because it'll know I'm in the supermarket and it won't let me pass by the tomatoes.

With no need to "want" I'll always get the digital things I need in the physical world. This experience of a "blended realty" won't be far off from a true experience of a digital Singularity. "Doe's it blend?" will have a whole new meaning when applied to digital gadgets and technologies.

I found an interview (above) of Nikola Danaylov talking with Thad Starner, professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and technical lead for Google Glass. He coined the term "augmented reality" and is a pioneer in wearable computing. It has an intriguing headline: Reduce the Time Between Intention and Action

Here's a description:

We cover a variety of interesting topics such as: how he coined the term augmented reality (AR) and the definition thereof; what is wearable computing and how it is different from AR; Google Glass -- its major breakthroughs, popular apps, misconceptions and implications; Starner's other cutting-edge projects such as the passive haptic learning mobile music touch glove; his personal advice for young augmented reality designers and developers; Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End and the technological singularity…

Topics: Printers, Google, Google Apps

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  • sigh . . .

    "our reality becomes less distinguishable from living in a digital reality, the Singularity. "

    The technological singularity is the a theoretical point at which our technology becomes smarter than us and starts advancing independently of us. It's not necessarily a digital reality, it does not necessarily need a digital reality in order to take place, and it does not necessarily lead to a digital reality we can participate in.

    *Maybe* the two may be tied together somehow. But they need not be.

    . . . and the abuse of the English language by ZDNet writers continues.

    "When Google Glass figures out what I need, and when I need it – because it knows my physical context there will be no lag time, I'll get exactly what I need when I need it. "

    Except that's a lie. Because where we're at may not be tied to what we're thinking of at the time. I may be on a train touring London, but my mind might be on my code for my current project. You actually need actual mind reading capability to actually reliably be able to know what I need when I need it.

    . . . and no, I'm not actually gonna watch an hour long video, sorry.
    CobraA1