Augmented Reality

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Wikipedia defines augmented reality as:

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with (or augmented by) virtual computer-generated imagery – creating a mixed reality. The augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable. Artificial information about the environment and the objects in it can be stored and retrieved as an information layer on top of the real world view. The term augmented reality is believed to have been coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, an employee of Boeing at the time.
Paul Milgram and Fumio Kishino defined Milgram’s Reality-Virtuality Continuum in 1994. They describe a continuum that spans from the real environment to a pure virtual environment. In between there are Augmented Reality (closer to the real environment) and Augmented Virtuality (is closer to the virtual environment).
Milgram's Continuum

This particular topic fascinates me for a number of reasons.

Firstly, when I first heard of this type of technology I could not for the life of me wonder why anyone would want to stare at a screen of the world that could just look at in real life there and then.  Then I re-watched a video created by Microsoft on the Branch of the Future – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_dGWikwuXw.  It was through this video that I saw that people interact with their devices and they will want to bring information from that interaction to the real-world interaction, so why not merge the two into the device.

Secondly, there are many laws and regulations that will be tested through this type of technology and that is an exciting proposition.  Laws and regulations still have many leaps and bounds to catch up with the new forms of communication and media and this will be just another thing to try and bring the regulatory world into the 21st century.  What excites me about this, is the challenges that this change will bring to members of the risk community and the need for the risk community to innovate in line with these new technologies.

And finally, as a keen participant in using new technology, I see this as another additional piece of technology that contributes to your life in a positive manner.  For me, it will provide a great tool whilst traveling to provide you with information on your current location and even give you advice on things around you.  How many times have we traveled with books / maps / papers and wished it was all just on one screen?  Well now it will be and it will make finding things so much easier.

It will never remove the need for human interaction – in actual fact I see all these technologies doing the exact opposite – they will bring people to engage in conversation just as they did before, but it will be just for different reasons.

Change is not to be feared, for thousands of years now man has advanced and changed and this has brought new things to the world.  Ever year people become fearful of this change because it is not what they expect or what they are used to.  However, it is just change.

My personal view is it is better to participate in change and embrace it that challenge and be fearful of it.

Right now I am listening to Johnny Cash on iTunes whilst watching a visualiser showing a man dancing like the iPod ads – this would not be possible without embracing change!  Check out the visualiser here. Jumping Steve pays homage to Steve Jobs with a cutout jumping jack that dances to the beat. Hit the P key for a special iPod commercial-like silhouette feature.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Addendum to Post (28th December 2009):


Whilst reading Technology Review, a publication by MIT, there was an article on this very topic.


In this article, augmented reality was being used for an even more practical purpose, mechanics in the Army repairing a vehicle were able to perform the repairs up to 50% faster due to augmented reality. And some people feel this is a ridiculous concept!

I also found this very cool video from another blog site – Concept is Key:


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Scott North has extensive experience in enterprise risk management, internal audit, operational risk and compliance, risk strategy, scenario planning, technology risk, technology business analysis, systems design, financial accounting, and management accounting. Scott is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Chartered Accountants with a Masters Degree from the University of Melbourne in Business and Information Technology. Scott is also a Fellow of the University of Melbourne.