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Tag Archives: New Media

Augmented Reality and the Future

Overview of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a very important technological application that can be applied to different mediated interfaces e.g. cell phone, video game, television, etc.  As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.  We are beginning to see more developments in a variety of different media platforms where augmented reality technology is being introduced.  The relevancy and importance of this topic to new/digital media pushes the envelope and current paradigms of how we interact with our current models of media and technology.  In the following articles, several people help to explain this growing phenomenon and its possible impact on our future.

How Augmented Reality Works by Kevin Bonsor

In this article Bonsor outlines five key points to augmented reality of its role in different interfaces like cell phones, video games, and the military as well as its limitations and its future.  He mentions, “Augmented reality adds graphics, sounds, haptic feedback and smell to the natural world as it exists. Both video games and cell phones are driving the development of augmented reality…Augmented reality is changing the way we view the world — or at least the way its users see the world.”  A rather simplistic definition is to superimpose audio-visual and other sensory graphics over our real-world environment in real time he exclaims.

One example that he references is called “Sixth Sense” utilizing some basic components like: a camera, small projector, smart phone, and a mirror tied around a lanyard that hangs from the users neck.  The user than has the ability to manipulate his reality with the help of this device.  “If he wants to know more about that can of soup than is projected on it, he can use his fingers to interact with the projected image and learn about, say, competing brands. SixthSense can also recognize complex gestures — draw a circle on your wrist and SixthSense projects a watch with the current time.” Bonsor goes on to offer some amazing examples of how cell phone apps which can be downloaded on the iPhone or Android can perform amazing functions.  One example, Layar, uses the phone’s camera and GPS capabilities to gather information about the surrounding area.  Another, Yelp’s Monocle will provide the user with information about the surrounding restaurants.  Next, Bonsor discusses the uses of AR in military technology and video games.

Total Immersion is AR software that allows baseball cards to interact in a very unique way by making the player on the card a 3D model that performs a specific action like throwing the ball.  Even with military technology, a squad in enemy territory doing reconnaissance can wear a “AR-enabled head-mounted display that could overlay blueprints or a view from a satellite or overheard drone directly onto the soldiers’ field of vision“.

Lastly, Bonsor concludes with some of AR’s limitations and challenges that must be overcome like GPS’ accuracy, the reliance on using cell phones, the concern for too much/an overload of information, and of course, issues dealing with privacy and security are mentioned.  He states, “The future of augmented reality is clearly bright, even as it already has found its way into our cell phones and video game systems.

Video: Bruce Sterling’s Keynote – At the Dawn of the Augmented Reality Industry

Bruce Sterling is as excited as a ‘kid in a candy store’ as he goes through some tips, predictions, and advice for the industry.  He describes three features to augmented reality 1) it combines the real and the virtual 2) it’s interactive in real time 3) and it registers in 3D.  People think they know what it is.  There’s too many companies, games, ads, applications, webcam, projected video technology, head mounted displays, and so much more that’s developing.  Along with these, there’s so much designing and skill sets that are required.  It’s a profitable business and AR looks “cool”.  It’s not too hard to understand, it’s not too geeky or remote.  It’s the most exciting thing happening in the tech industry.

  1. There’s a lot of hype that’s happening and awaiting.
  2. You are insulting the term’s pioneers when you try to change or neglect the term.
  3. It’s a tag.  A hashtag that you can look up on Google.  Where are people interested 1) Seoul, South Korea 2) Singapore 3) Munich 4) Kaula, Lam pour 5) Auckland… etc.  Augmented Reality is magic.  It works like magic. Yet, magic can be ‘cheezy’ and deceitful.
  4. It’s sleazy and is involved in pop.  It’s involved in porn, sells tampoons, sci-fi, comic books, politics, medicine, museum culture.
  5. Security advice – criminals are going to come.  Security is important to build first.  You are going to have trouble.  You are also going to get publicity of panics.  You are going to the ‘four horse men of infopocalypse’.  How do you deal with the political implications of AR?  You’re going to need an industry journal and code of ethics to help.
  6. Be prepared that the other guy will buy you out.  The major companies will buy you out.
  7. Host of problems: batteries will fail, screens are too small, environmental problems, roaming fees, walled gardens, opacity in pricing, etc.
  8. You need to have a look, an image.
  9. Everything changes for the better or everything becomes abandon for the worse.  Either case, you are in for a wild ride.

Can Augmented Reality be a Commercial Success for E-Commerce by James Gurd

Despite it’s buzzword appeal and social media’s increasing relationship with commercial planning, Gurd boldly asks the question of whether or not there is a commercial model that could make AR a practical tool in the e-commerce armoury?

Gurd answers his own question with a quaint YES.

He begins by briefly and simplistically explaining what augmented reality is.   Then, Gurd examines the current landscapes of different businesses and interface applications that are using AR in some examples of retail, publishing, and automotive.  Again, Gurd asks another question, “What will drive the uptake of AR?” and then adds that the increased usage of smart mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Blackberry, Android, etc.  will be driving forces for uptaking AR technology.

Lastly, he proposes some plans where AR can be applied to in retail and asks if it can add value to consumers and drive commercial value.  Here are some of his suggestions:

“The savvy marketers will deliver content and solutions that people didn’t even know they wanted but subconsciously always desired. I think retail can tap into this latent demand in several ways:

  • High street retailers can develop a Store Finder mobile app that overlays local store information on interactive maps – perhaps an aggregation of all major brands would provide cost efficiency.
  • Dynamic contextual advertising that displays offers and promotions based on the location and profile of the mobile user (e.g. iPhone user gets different message than Blackberry user) – next step on from voucher code sites.
  • Serving customer reviews to mobile devices to facilitate decision making on the move.
  • Dynamically generating cross and up-sell recommendations based on scanning a barcode in-store on your mobile phone.
  • For the fashion industry, improving modelling of clothes from home to help make purchase decisions – increased accuracy should also help reduce returns.

If You’re Not Seeing Data, You’re Not Seeing by Brian X. Chen

Quotes taken from this article >

  • “Augmented reality is the ultimate interface to a computer because our lives are becoming more mobile,” said Tobias Höllerer, an associate professor of computer science at UC Santa Barbara, who is leading the university’s augmented reality program. “We’re getting more and more away from a desktop, but the information the computer possesses is applicable in the physical world.”
  • “Augmented reality is stifled by limitations in software and hardware” Examples are batter life, prices in hardware,
  • “The smartphone is bringing AR into the masses right now,” Selzer said. “In 2010 every blockbuster movie is going to have a mobile AR campaign tied to it.”
  • “This is the first time media, internet and digital information is being combined with reality,” said Martin Lens-FitzGerald, co-founder of Layar. “You know more, you find more, or you see something you haven’t seen before. Some people are even saying that it might be even bigger than the web.”
  • “This industry is just getting started, and as processing speeds speed up, and as more creative individuals get involved, our belief is this is going to become a platform that becomes massively adopted and immersed in the next few years.”

New Media in (Outer) Space: Additional Reading Summary

A Better Network for Outer Space – By Brittany Sauser

Astronauts & robotic spacecraft presently stay connected to Earth via point-to-point radio links, specifically made for each new mission. Google’s vice president Vint Cerf designed the networking protocols that launched the Internet is looking to change this, though; he wants to put this same type of network in outer space. In hopes of making this a reality, he is currently working with NASA and MITRE Corporation on the Interplanetary Internet project. The project was set to be tested in 2009 aboard the International Space Station.

In an interview with Technology Review, Cerf further explains the project, where he notes that it began 10 years ago at the time of the interview (10/27/2008). He notes that one problem with space communication has been the “limited use of standards.” New communication software tends to have to be written every time a new spacecraft is launched, making it inefficient. Thus, the project was created to help develop a set of communication standards in space, much like ones already being used on the Internet.

One of the main challenges Cerf found in building this network is the delay time. Because of the vast distance in space between planets, it can take long periods of time for information to travel. Another major problem he found is that planets are constantly moving and rotating. Because of this, communication can not only be delayed, but also disrupted. Because of these dilemmas, part of the project involved designing a “delay- and disruption-tolerant networking system (DTN).” So far, no new equipment has had to be launched into space in order to facilitate this new network; only new software has had to be uploaded to already existing spacecraft.

These new standardized protocols could enable better communication between spacecraft launched by all nations in space. Over time, as new missions are launched, a better backbone for the system will start to be created. Cerf notes that, “every time you put up a new mission, you basically are putting up another potential node in the network.”

The Origins and basics of the Interplanetary Internet Project – By Vint Cerf

1. Node

If this video, Cerf notes that the Internet’s utility is in part a consequence of the standardization of communication protocols, making it easy for anyone from anywhere to instantly connect to the Internet. Because of this, Cerf and his team asked theirselves what type of standardization would be beneficial within the context of space? He explains that in 1964, the Deep Space Network was built, which consist of 3 antennas (one in California, one in Australia, and one in Spain) in varying locations. As the Earth rotates, at any one time, one of the antennas should be able to see a large amount of the solar system & interact with spacecraft. But, each time a new space craft is launched, the communications system must be tailored to this new space craft. Thus, Cerf and his team is looking for a more efficient way of communicating with spacecraft.

2. Frequency

The data rate that information can be moved at from spacecrafts to antennas on Earth is currently very low, as a result of the spacecrafts having little power and little antennas. To help boost power for new spacecraft, the project is looking into whether or not current spacecraft already launched can be used to help facilitate communication between Earth and space. The common answer has been “no,” since there is no standard set of communication protocols between the spacecrafts. But, over the past 20 years, there have been small attempts at standardizing certain parts of the spacecraft communication systems. There are many different levels this can be done at, with the 3 typical levels being: the bottom level of  “actual transmission over radio length,” 2nd layer being “link management,” and the 3rd level up being the network level, consisting of routing traffic. The 1st layer of radio transmission has been standardized. Furthermore they are also beginning to standardize the 2nd layer of link management. But, they have not been able to standardize too much above this 2nd level.

3. Standardization

Here, he talks about the theory that with more standardization comes the ability to more easily use previous spacecraft within the scopes of the new space mission. He uses an example of 2 rovers that were sent to Mars, which has radios attached in order to send information between the rovers and the Deep Space Networks antennas. But, these radios had to be shut down after 20 minutes of use, otherwise they would overheat. Three orbiters were surrounding Mars, though, that, because of standardization, allowed the Mars rovers to send information to the orbiters, which could then be sent to the DSN antennas at higher speeds & longer periods of time.

Vint Cerf Mods Android for Interplanetary Interwebs – By Cade Metz

This article discusses Cerf’s work in trying to bring his Interplanetary Interwebs protocol to mobile networks on Earth. At first, Cerf and his team had tried to make his Interplanetary Interwebs protocol work using the Internet TCP/IP protocol, noting that it did not work because of, “a little problem called the speed of light” and the rotation of planets. Instead, the created and launched the Delay-Tolerant Networking (DTN) protocol. A main difference between TCP/IP and DTN is that, “unlike TCP/IP, DTN does not assume a continuous connection.” With DTN, if there are delays in transmission, nodes will not send out information until there is a safe connection.

Now, Cerf and his team is looking to bring DTN to earth. It has been tested in Sweden through using laptops in moving vehicles. Furthermore, the protocol has already been added to, “Google’s Android open source mobile stack as an application platform – ie it sits on top of the OS.” Cerf sees DTN helping out with mobile connections, since it is a “dense and hostile environment,” as a way to increase coverage.

NASA Launches Astronaut Internet in Space – By Tariq Malik

As of January 22, 2010, astronauts on the International Space Station have a live Internet connection, and have even been using Twitter.

While astronauts have used Twitter during space missions before, the tweets were dispached through Mission Control and posted by a third party.

The space Internet uses the station’s high-speed Ku-band antenna, making the Internet functioning whenever the station is connected through this. “To surf the Web, astronauts can use a station laptop to control a desktop computer on Earth. It is that ground computer that has the physical connection to the Internet.”

NSSA Applauds Presidents Commitment to the Mission of NASA and the Role of Space in Providing for the Future

In this article, the “National Space Society applauds President Obama for his expression of firm commitment for human spaceflight, and for moving forward in refining the administration’s plan for space exploration” during his speech on April 15, 2010.

Within his plans, Obama mentioned the importance of extending the life of the International Space Station. He also explained the importance of the, “critical role of breakthrough technologies in enabling NASA and our nation to create the future we wish to see come to pass.”

New Media in (Outer) Space

New Media is certainly aiding man in its search for new frontiers. Beyond are some introductory readings/viewings to where are these efforts leading:

Required Reading/Viewing:

  • Vint Cerf explains the origins and basics of the Interplanetary Internet Project (3 very short videos)
  1. Node
  2. Frequency
  3. Standarization

Recommended Reading:

Optional:

Concluding post: What makes people collaborate online?

The answer is: a mixture of circumstances. Some of them we can’t control, but in general what the leader of the project does or doesn’t, either helps or complicates the process of online collaboration. The key element? Planning.

During the past 3 weeks, I tried to get people to share pictures of interesting situations they encountered in the subway. I tried with a web page, a Facebook Fan page, and a Twitter account. What I got was collaboration from my own social network—friends, or friends of friends submitted some stuff, but always with a short-spanned interest. The next attempt was to tap directly on audiences already interested in the subject—Flickr groups that shared subway pictures. I also added the competition factor—first, the prize was only about prestige: getting voted as the best picture. Then, I finally got an online photography blog interested in publishing the winner picture on their site.

I hoped that would spark interest a bit more, but the fact is that the new collaborations continued to spring from my previous social network and its subsequent effects. That is, when I launched the contest, I got more response from my original Facebook group (which had grown from my own contacts and the “work” I’d previously done on that platform) than from my call for Flickr collaboration. Even though I tapped on the communities that were already interested in the topic (three groups focused on underground transportation photography) and got “professionals” involved by getting them to publish the winning picture on their sites, my guess is that the Flickr group didn’t find enough reasons to take me seriously: I’d never been an active participant in Flickr before, all of my photos are uploaded on Facebook, and I’ve previously “worked” that audience much more.

What did this experience bring? A lot of learning. Not just based on my own travelogue, but I tried to learn from Leslie’s excellent results what had worked in her case as well.

I’d like to share my findings in this video:

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As sidenotes:

Even though the contest wasn’t successful, I did receive some great pictures, and I’d like to share with you the most popular:

metro zocalo

Author: Davii Rangda.  Caption: A night before the “Day of the Dead” in Mexico City.

I will submit the picture to http://lagiraffe.com/, the site that was most interested in publishing the contest pictures.

Special thanks to Leslie for her help and sharing.

New Media: An exciting opportunity for cultural institutions!

New media are pushing the boundaries of cultural institutions by providing them with new tools to play with.

But most of all, new media are the opportunity to reach a broader and younger audience.

  • Required viewings

Even though lots of museums have understood how interesting it is to embed their educational mission in new media, they remain a bit confused on how to use the technology on purpose.

Then why not starting by using new media to ask for people’s advice like the Smithsonian (“the world’s largest museum complex and research organization”) did:

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This interesting initiative generated great content! Look at that it’s really worth it!

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  • Required readings

Here is a guide based on a new book by Nina Simon providing advice on how the museums should work on their relationships with their community

The participatory museum

Nina Simon also feeds a blog: Museum 2.0 (you might like this recommendation that Harris gave to me)

  • To go further…

For those who would like to learn more I strongly recommend to look at the Brooklyn Museum who has become a reference in terms of new media strategy

Also the web site Museum and the Web 2010 has really great academic resources on the topic.

New Media and The Digital Natives

We are no longer citizens of different nations, but citizens of the internet…

Required Reading:

  • We Are Digital Natives by Barrett Lyon – “Some Digital Natives are deeply affiliated with all sorts of interests that bring them together organically: Piracy groups, massively multiplayer online games, open source software development, cracking encryption, etc. Others become deeply interested in movements such as Anonymous, the RBN (Russian Business Network), or even terrorist organizations.”
  • The Future of The Internet and How to Stop it by Jonathan Zittrain – “The Internet’s current trajectory is one of lost opportunity. Its salvation, Zittrain argues, lies in the hands of its millions of users. Drawing on generative technologies like Wikipedia that have so far survived their own successes, this book shows how to develop new technologies and social structures that allow users to work creatively and collaboratively, participate in solutions, and become true ‘netizens.’

Recommended Viewing:

  • Born Digital presentation by John Palfrey – “As part of the Google D.C. Talks series, and in partnership with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Professor John Palfrey offers a sociological portrait of “digital natives” — children who were born into and raised in the digital world — with a particular focus on their conceptions of online privacy.”
    (you can play it in the background, it’s not very visual)

New Media and the (Uncertain) Future of Journalism

Potential Topic in New Media: “New Media and the (Uncertain) Future of Journalism.” We touched on this briefly in the beginning of the semester, but I think it is an area that is very rich and could benefit from a deeper discussion. How bad is the existing journalism “crisis”? What are potential solutions? What will it take to get us there? What is the appropriate role (if any) for government funded journalism? I tried to make these required and recommended readings reflective of the debate more generally, and what is happening currently in the field.

Required Reading/Viewing:

Recommended Reading/Watching:

Online collaboration–pre-conclusion.

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Sorry about this temporary conclusion. In the end, the project finally started to give some results, but very slolwly. There’s a lot to learn from that, too (I know there was a reason). I will definitely post my conclusion, but I thought I needed to wait a bit more and see if I could reach the final stage or not. Thanks, guys.

Museums struggling for life?

Click to discover what it is to be a museum in 2010 and what are the new challenges museums have to face to survive!



Thanks Nadine for being the best Audicity Hotline ;-)

What is a museum in 2010? Part 2

Here is my Travelogue part 2

I tried hard to make my media richer by adding a podcast.

To be honest, I am very sceptical on the input that it actually brings to my presentation but at least I am happy that I achieved to create it. It should be even better next week!

Also after watching my slides, I encourage you to have a look at Nina’s work on her blog.

http://whibi.tumblr.com

Let me know if you have any questions I am supposed to meet with her on Friday…

Enjoy!