Saturday, April 27, 2013

Augmented Reality, Google Glass, and the Holideck

Ok, be forewarned… I am about to reveal my geekish side.

Growing up, my mother use to tell me that anything we can imagine can be done – maybe not today, but as we advance, anything imaginable can be done. You are probably thinking, wow, she has a cool mom… and yes I do. Few adults can brag that their mom is more tech savvy than they are. I suppose she is why I am so fascinated with tech today.

In light of the ‘anything imaginable can be done’ mentality, I grew up a Star Trek fan, wondering when (not if) the holideck would become a reality. For those not familiar, the holideck was a place on the Starship Enterprise where crew members could go for a virtual reality experience. The holideck created an entire virtual world of sight, sound, smell, and touch, designed according to the user’s preference.

Fast forward to the early 2000s and introduce sites like Second Life where a person can create and “live” in a virtual world through their computer. I admit that this was an interesting concept, but still weak in comparison to a holideck. Fast forward again to present day and introduce augmented reality.

Of late, I have become fascinated by Google Glass. Imagine it, walking around with glasses that fill in the gaps, connect people, and explain things.

While Google Glass is still in its infancy, I see so many possibilities for how technology such as this will transform the way we interact with the environment and the people around us.

I think, from this point it is only a matter of time before mainstream implantable devices create constant, bigger experiences; experiences that include sight, sound, touch, smell, and even emotion, as it collects data to continuously refine the experience.

Think about big data for a second. Think about all the places from which data is collected and how many more data sources will be collected in the future as more and more devises and people connect. This may include information about the population in aggregate as well personalized information, even real-time health monitoring. Think about how that information could be used to augment individual reality.

Not only would this change every person’s reality but something like this could have a huge impact on healthcare. Connected doctors and nurses may be able to receive real-time, individualized instructions for patient care. Doctors would have access to deeper, more detailed patient records including life-style information. How about real-time, personalized care instructions for patients? How about if a patient being able to know about predispositions to and/or extremely early signs of illness?

My mother was right; anything that can be imagined, can be created. I know that this could start a huge debate of the good versus the evil of such technology, but this post is just pointing out the interesting factor – not discussing the philosophical debate…So, those are my thoughts for today...


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