Thursday, January 7, 2010

The next shift...

Been thinking about the next Geek Culture shift.. (Tech Geeque?) and what flavor it is likely to have.

Certainly it will have something to do with AR (augmented reality).

If you look at the evolution of music 'technology' and 'usage' you have:
* LIVE - nothing but live performance for centuries, limited to what local culture preferred and what talent could offer
* RECORDED - musical recordings made a wide variety of music available to anyone at almost anytime
* BROADCAST - broadcast music made music easier to access and built an economy of scale for popular performers
* PORTABLE - listening to music became portable thanks to smaller devices and car stereos
* PERSONAL - music became more diverse and more intensely 'personal' thing thanks headphones/earbuds
* PERVASIVE - internet radio stations at work, car stereos, music in stores, it's inescapable

To a limited degree much the same has happened with movies, which use to be more of a social phenomenom, now with home theaters, netflix, iPhones, tivo, LCD screens running commercials at gas pumps... watching visual media has also becomes portable, personal and pervasive.

Person to Person communication, from written correspondence, books and newspapers to email, twitter, facebook, and (video) blogs on the 'text' side and on the voice side you go from hit-or-miss shared party-line bake-a-lite house phones to blue-tooth earpieces. Both being more portable, personal and pervasive than ever.

Even computing resources, which started off as large timeshared systems are now laptops, tablets, PDAs, and of course, more portable, personal and pervasive, etc.

Same will be true with "Augmented Reality". At the moment it's little niche-y instances like "hold this postcard up to your laptop camera and on the screen you'll see some 3d model spring out of the page. Or the iPhone app that uses GPS to provide you a clairevoyant view of transportation/services around you. (

As rendering/display technology gets cheaper, lighter, smaller, faster it won't be long before semi-transparent glasses with built in displays become available, tied via bluetooth or something like it to a key-fob sized processor allow us to view the world through filters that we select. You like noire? Stroll through downtown and through your lenses all the buildings will be dark with red velvet drapes in every window. Jog through the neighborhood and use the sky as your big screen to watch the music video that goes with the music you're listening too. Easily see the names of friends at crowded events.

* driving, you could have lanes of traffic or off-ramps haloed in red, yellow or green depending on reported traffic conditions, and have 'personal signs' added to the side of the road guiding you on your way

With simple eye-tracking controls you could, for example:
* activate a digital zoom, night vision, or digital 'x-ray' view, snapshot or record video of what you're looking at
* go shopping and look at UPC codes as you pick up items and price compare, or count calories, or manage your shopping list.
* scan and mark your personal calendar nearly instantly
* be reminded of names and notes of people you encounter with face recognition

As phones are rapidly becoming 'hands free' devices. It's only natural that PDA's will too, eventually.

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