In commentating in the Sunday Herald earlier this week on the meteoric international uptake of Niantic’s Pokémon GO app, I predicted that next for augmented reality (AR) would be apps that make virtual communication a little more real. I drew the analogy of R2D2’s playing of Princess Leia’s plea for help to Luke and C3P0 in Star Wars IV. My comments inspired a great Star Wars image and headline in the newspaper, but will communication via augmented reality come about? Whilst holography (like Leia) is harder to achieve, telepresence is fast progressing, as are virtual venues that host avatar driven social experiences with virtual reality (VR), such as vTime. Whereas VR demands a full headset covering your eyes, AR does not. We know that wearable tech like smart spectacles was invested in for the opportunities of AR. (I wrote about the potential threats and opportunities for Google Glass and AR back in 2014 for Australasian Leisure Management. That prediction did not manifest, as due to people’s fears for privacy – it was not clear if someone wearing them was in fact recording you with their specs, just by looking at you – Google Glass was shelved). But what the Pokémon GO phenomenon of the last few weeks proves is that people are very happy to engage with AR on their mobiles and tablets. Bringing in someone’s visual image captured by a video camera, and blending it with the reality that a smartphone camera is looking at would make virtual communication feel extremely tangible, as if the other person was located in your real space, and could be something we experience soon.
The reality of Pokémon GO’s AR collecting and battling game, with 10m active players a day making in app purchases of virtual products and services, is that it will significantly augment Google-funded Niantic’s bottom line. But a successful platform for AR with millions of users changes the opportunities made available to advertisers via the Google Earth/Maps GIS and GPS landscapes.
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|23 September 2016||to||27 September 2016|
Dr Hannah Rudman and Andy Lloyd of the Designing for Creativity and Innovation in Informal Science Learning project will present learnings and findings to international informal science learning practitioners and academics at the 2016 conference of the Association of Science-Technology Centers in Tampa, Florida.
The Chair of the Wellcome Trust, Baroness Manningham-Buller visited the exhibit pod, and spoke to the Design for Creativity and Innovation in Informal Science Learning team of academic researchers and science centre practitioners. The team explained to the Baroness about the live science experiments we are undertaking with it, and the research outcomes we might see. The Baroness officially opened the Brain Zone gallery at the Centre for Life, where the exhibit pod is hosted amongst other exhibits that engage people with exploring how our brains work.
The Brain Zone has had input from practitioners and designers, and also from from a wide-range of scientists and researchers, from neuroscientists to psychologists. However, our multidisciplinary team of academics from Durham University broadened out the disciplines represented to include anthropology, digital humanities, and computer scientists (Dr Hannah Rudman is Honorary Fellow at Durham University, and brings the computer science discipline of information systems to the team, as well as her design thinking and participatory action research methods).
You can read more about the scope of the Design for Creativity and Innovation in Informal Science Learning research project at Creativescienceatlife.com, or continue reading about the launch of the exhibit pod.