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Augmented reality

Augmented reality is nowadays more and more emerging in our society. This offers chances within the society of tomorrow. You see the first applications appear on mobile phones, tablets and gaming devices.

Layar brings augmented reality to printing. The company aims to make magazines, papers and promoting prints interactive. There is put an augmented reality layer on top of the print where the user could interact with.

Also AR games appear on mobile devices, on the PSP vita there is a whole category of AR games. The Vita aims to bring the real and game world together while creating a new way of gameplay. AR games are appearing on the top of the table, virtual soccer players are playing on the table top and virtual tanks are occupying the tables of the modern society.

Also on the smartphones and tablets simpele game appear using AR. AR defender is a kind of tower defense game where you put an AR tag in the real world and on your mobile devices appear a whole tower that is attacked by different virtual units in a real environment.

In the market of gaming will be place for augmented reality playgrounds, where young people and kids come to play a game together. When I was I kid I really liked to build a city of blocks and play as it as it was a medieval city with soldiers ready to attack the city of my best friend! Imagine a playground were several kids can play a multiplayer strategic game in an augmented world were the toys and blocks become real objects of a virtual game. That will be realistic view of the world of tomorrow with the upcoming devices.

However, the interaction with the applied augmented reality nowadays is usually realized by mobile screens variating from 3 tot 10″ inch. In the world of tomorrow we’re able to manufacture wearable computing.

This new and upcoming business is a very broad in sense of possible devices and will grow the coming years very hard. Intelligence in clothing will evolve and measure several aspects of your body. Intelligent devices will appear in the front of your eyes in the most subtile way. Or your intelligent watch will substitute or append your mobile phone.

Google glass is one of the pioneers in this area of business market. In the market of heads up displays Google glass aims to bring augmented reality in a subtile way in glasses. The device is controlled by your voice and will bring all kind of information and interaction in the front of your personal view. However, this new product has his positive and negative effects (and risks) of, interaction with other people.

Concluded, the society of tomorrow even as the social interaction of tomorrow will look different due the new layer of augmented reality that will be altered by the new wearable computing. Maybe the mobile phone will disappear in the world of tomorrow where we only need our intelligent devices of our body. Personally I hope this evolvement of wearable computing will be subtile and absolutely not substitute our perception of the real world where we eventually live in.

Microsoft Gadgeteer

The Microsoft gadgeteer workshop offers an introduction to the Microsoft Gadgeteer program. Gadgeteer is a rapid prototype platform where you can develop electronic prototypes featuring lots of different sensors and actuators without soldering anything. We could just write a digital camera (camera + button + lcd screen) with just 4 rules of simple C# code!

This short introduction was a very nice and characteristic introduction of the simplicity of Microsoft gadgeteer.

The program in the afternoon featured the creative part of the workshop. We got 2,5 hours to build and program our own intelligent device. We could chose about lots of sensors that could connect with the gadgeteer motherboard.

After some exploration of all the sensors that were possible to use. We chose to pick a gas sensor (that could measure alcohol), a joystick, a gyroscope and a gps sensor. We would connect them to the motherboard that would control a screen and a servo motor.

With all these small devices we could make an kind of alcohol test. First it measures the alcohol level in your breath, than it would let you do a kind of balance test (using the joystick and servo) and finally if you failed both tests it could send your GPS coordinates to a person (for example; an email to your mother to pick you up at your coors….)

After finishing this device just in time we all had a min to pitch our device.

Also the other groups pitched their devices. They build very divers devices that could measure the hydration of a plant and let a speaker scream if the plant needed water. Another group made a walking robot. There were lots of nice devices, and this was the proof that Microsoft Gadgeteer was really easy-to-use, fast and functional at once!

A negative aspect of the gadgeteer set is (for my fellow students), the sensors that you could use with a Gadgeteer motherboard are not the cheapest ones but if you need some specific ones it worth to think about.