Eccescopy, part 14

This week I visited the MIT Media Lab, where I talked to several of my friends on the faculty about eccescopy. I was surprised and rather delighted at the positive response. For example, Ramesh Raskar is fascinated by the possible form factors, and the ways they could be achieved.

Hiroshi Ishii feels that it is important to look at the entire Interface Ecology — how individuals and social networks communicate, and how an embodied face-to-face cyber-enhanced communication fits together with ideas about community.

And Pattie Maes has pretty much been doing this kind of thing anyway with her students, through things like smart light bulbs (which contain cameras and projectors), and position-tracked portable projectors that you carry around with you to visually augment physical objects in your environment (an idea that has been explored by Pierre Wellner, Hiroshi Ishii and Ramesh Raskar).

We all agreed that following Will Wright’s description of The SIMS 5 (“The game is already in the box … you just can’t open it yet”), is a useful way to frame things: While we are developing the physical support layer, we should be building applications as though that support layer is already available.

Today I was also told by a student about a book I am now going to try to read soon — the 2006 novel Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge. Apparently it is a world of the near future in which everyone wears a portable display that lets them see a cyber-enhanced world superimposed upon our real world.

Well, almost everyone wears a portable display. In the book there are some anti-technology rebels who insist on using good old fashioned computer screens. On some days I know just how they feel.

3 Responses to “Eccescopy, part 14”

  1. Doug says:

    The novel The Barsoom Project by Niven and Barnes centers around a live action role playing game where magic effects are conveyed by augmented reality glasses. I think it takes place in an abandoned arcology.
    Some of the ideas in Rainbow’s End are very interesting– the way they scan books (motivated by DNA sequencing) is entertaining– but none of the characters were likeable, to me at least.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Doug! Looks like we’re starting to compile a nice little reading list here. All suggestions are welcome!!!

  3. zeth says:

    feel the same way as Doug about Rainbow’s End. Interesting, but a bit chilly.
    I think you may have mentioned it already, but Snow Crash and Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson are both good fun and Dan Simmons had some cool stuff in Ilium (and whatever the second book was). . .
    Love the posts on eccescopy, btw. Really interesting stuff!

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