We all know that augmented reality is coming. But how is it going to change our everyday lives? This video entitled "Augmented City" from Keiichi Matsuda (check out an earlier post about Matsuda) shows how the technology could enhance some basic every activities. (And it's in 3D, so dig out those glasses from your last screening of Avatar.) Graphically it borrows plenty from the Minority Report-style gestural interfaces that we've seen before, but I really like the idea here of watching how the interface works on-the-go. Basically, using these sweeping hand movements through space will be the equivalent of using our smart phones in public. I have three questions about that. First, will everyone be able to see our personal interfaces, or just us? And second, aren't we going to all look pretty crazy waving our hands around like that? (Although I guess we already come off as crazy since we're talking to ourselves as we walk.) Finally, how long until we slap someone else in the face?
Matsuda's concept goes beyond the ability to answer emails and read the latest headlines. One of the most interesting parts of the video is watching a character choose architectural overlays that blanket the neighborhood, like era-appropriate facades, streetlamps, even graffiti. Not loving the bleak sidewalk you're strolling? Add some landscaping! Now contrast that with one of the scariest moments in the video—seeing how ads are integrated into the urban environment. As the characters step off the trains, ads swirl around them like little cartoon creatures, vying for attention. One would assume you could turn them off, of course, and viewing them this way means that they don't have to be printed on billboards and bus shelters. But which is more intrusive?