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I went to a seminar on 3D-printing and 'Augmented Reality' Monday night. The speaker (Jon Lund) also made some good points about pervasive computing—although they would have been more convincing if the WiFi in the room had been working *G*

The 3D-printing bit was perhaps the less interesting, as I'd heard about both sculpture printing and organ printing before, though this pastry printer was new to me. The most interesting part was Jon's view on the use of robotics in production and how the growing use of robots in manufacturing might change future production patterns. The point was, "Why outsource to a fully robotic plant in China if you can use robots in your home country and save the freight cost?" This is of course debatable, but an interesting perspective nonetheless.

The part about augmented reality was a good update on the current state of the technology. Augmented reality is the term for a program that uses the live video stream of your smartphone/iPad to overlay digital information and/or graphics onto real world images.

The examples included a star map you can use in your house—compass and gyroscope in the device find out what way you're 'looking' and displays the stars' position on a cloudless sky. Jon also brought this Drone, a quadricopter that you control and fly with your iPad. The augmented reality in this case consisted of various graphical overlays that enabled you to test your navigational skills or participate in a dogfight against a friend with a similar drone. Similarly, apps for tourists can show you pictures of what happened in specific parts of a town at different times and add them on top of the display on your smartphone.  

While these were cool examples of the technology in its current state, the science fiction writer in me was a little disappointed in what he could come up with in terms of future applications. I thought Charles Stross's Halting State, for instance, has a much firmer grasp on the possibilities, dilemmas, and dangers of augmented reality... So, even with an expert like Jon on the stage, I guess it's fair to say that you can very well turn to Science Fiction to get a firm vision of the future :-)


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 28th, 2011 04:19 am (UTC)
It's exciting to think we're we'll be in thirty years (though in my case, the answer may well be 'An old people's home' or 'In a jar on the mantelpiece').
Sep. 28th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'm pretty sure there's already an app that can do that for your head... The old folks' home will hopefully be a lot of years into the future for you, but I'm sure there'll be plenty of robots around to take care of you then.
Sep. 28th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
Lol, if robots are going to look after us in our dotage, why bother with children? ;)
Sep. 28th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Lol, good point. Although, if we don't bother with the ones we already have, we're much more likely to end up in a jar on somebody's mantlepiece ;-)
Sep. 28th, 2011 09:42 am (UTC)
I just put up a post on FB about the writing in a TV show I watched last night. You've got this here, boiling things down to a writer's perspective. Are we all this obsessed with our writing that it infiltrates EVERYTHING!? Hahahaa!!
Sep. 28th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
I do admit to a slight degree of obsession about my writing. I mean, it makes me happy to see my stories take shape.

I COULD argue that this post is more deliberate than obsessive, because I wanted to study 3D printing and augmented reality for my writing. On the other hand, if writing determines my spare time activities, then it's actually kind of obsessive...

Well, writing was never the sane person's first choice.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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