Monday, March 13, 2017

xR beyond Pokémon Go

Singapore’s Changi airport is one of the world’s best airports, not only from the services, facilities and infrastructure, but also in terms customer/client engagement. Changi is very much in synchronization with what happens elsewhere in the world. The appearance of the lounges changes very frequently to adopt to a current theme, be it Star Wars or any other latest film release. Pokémon Go, the latest location based Augment Reality (AR) game developed by Niantic, was no exception. Airport wide advertising could be seen inviting passengers to capture Pokémons. Sounds weird, but this is where the world is moving today. Different forms of Digital Senses are being introduced, including AR, Virtual Reality (VR) and Human Augmentation (HA), blurring the lines between the virtual and real worlds.
I’ve used xR to mean “anything Reality” as we now have different forms of realities - AR, VR, HA and possibly many to come in the future. All these things are related to how humans see/visualize things from their eyes and feel based on that. If you are not blind, you naked eyes allow you to see everything around you in three dimensions (3D). That’s real reality. By using different accessories, like smart phones, smart glasses and smart gears, we can see different forms of realities and the most widely used ones today are AR and VR.  
  • AR brings computer-generated graphics to life, superimposing near lifelike, digitally processed images on what the person actually sees in the real world (ex:- Pokémon)
  • VR immerses people inside virtual worlds that mimic the real one or fictitious ones.
  • HA (sometimes referred to as “Human 2.0”) focuses on creating cognitive and physical improvements as an integral part of the human body, sometimes combined with VR applications.
While there are pros and cons of xR, we can certainly take it beyond Pokémon Go, solving some of the real world problems. Let’s look at some of them in little detail.


Hands-free reference

If you are repairing or operating a complex machinery or equipment, you need to refer to its user manual. User manuals are either in printed or digital formats and need to be read on paper or on digital display like a tablet or laptop. Both need the use of your hands. If we can have an AR helmet with the wiser as an AR display or a pair of goggles with the glass as a display, we can free up our both hands to do the work more easily and effectively. The display will display the instruction manuals or videos for easy reference. In built cameras, motion sensors and gesture sensors can manually or automatically control the information to be displayed.  


Virtual therapy

Anxiety, depression and different forms of stresses can be addressed if the patient or the person in question can be exposed to VR worlds of different attributes, instead to a real world. For example, if someone has a fear of speaking to large crowds, we can simulate a large crowd on a VR headset and ask the person to practice the speech/ talk at his own convenience. The crowd could be dynamic with motions and sounds.


Disaster Recovery training

How to behave in a disaster is something very difficult to train, unless you’ve faced a one on your own. But, today we can use VR to immerse you in a disaster situation and train you in a real lifelike environment as to what to do and how to do to save your own life and the lives of others.


Criminal trials

One of the difficulties in doing a criminal trials is the difficulty in visualizing the real crime scene. The legal system usually relies on material evidences, photos and drawings. If the jury can be given a facility to virtually be in the crime scene using VR, it will surely enhance the knowledge about the surrounding, fine details etc. and will surely help the correct and efficient decision making. The present legal system will surely take some time to use this type of technologies for the legal process, but this is certainly an option.


Witnessing news, instead of watching

Traditional news is delivered either to listen or watch. The real feeling, for example, the news reporter has on the ground (ex:- battle field) is not really transferred to the viewer. If we can have VR based news, the viewer can actually immerse in the situation and actually feel the news. This can be used for live events also.

I’ve listed only few possibilities of  xR and you can see the possibilities are actually endless. As xR is getting closer to reality, will people eventually prefer the virtual over the real world? I don’t know yet. Let’s wait and see what xR can really do to the human mind and eventually to the society at large.

1 comment:

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