By helping us to climb the stairs of abstraction, user-friendly immersive data visualization (ie, geospatial data mapping) is poised to become one of the more significant near-term drivers of accelerating human inteligence and economics. Leading the charge is the small but robust company Green Phosphor, core participants in the progressive and under-recognized Second Life DataViz Group, which is laying down the foundations for Matrix-esque search: "I need guns, lots of guns."
Color me impressed by Green Phosphor's newest release, Glasshouse (demo vid below - don't worry, better graphics are on the way), which converts raw binary data into interactive 3d models. As indicated by the hire of a molecular biologist as Chief Scientist, the company is gearing up to monetize by applying this technology to the medical domains such as genomics and drug discovery.
As CEO Ben Lindquist points out, "The immersive 3d environment creates an entirely new paradigm for business intelligence and process modelling." More specifically, I'd argue that it marks a Meta-System Transition, or topsight leap, in our ability to process then interact with a variety of systems.
Planet Earth is about to get its own version of the Web!
Cisco Systems is partnering with NASA to create a massive online collaborative global monitoring platform called the "Planetary Skin" to capture, collect, analyze and report data on environmental conditions around the world, while also providing researchers social web services for collaboration.
This type of platform is essential for Climate and Ecosystem researchers, but it also might be a sneak peak at the future of the Internet.
'Smart Planet': Age of Sensors & Structured Data If life in the past few decades has been forever altered by complex microprocessor chips, the next century could see the same social disruption via simple, low cost networked sensors and 'embedded objects' that mirror a digital signal of our analog world. But making this disconnected data relevant is a challenge.
The 'Planetary Skin' platform [video] will stitch together 'petabytes' of unstructured data collected by sensors (land, sea, air, space) reporting on changing environmental conditions. The platform will also allow for 'streamlining of decision making' and 'collaborative swarming' on analysis of relevant data. The project's first layer, “Rainforest Skin,” will be prototyped during 2009.
Good for NASA, Great for Cisco, and Wonderful for 'Mirror World' Metaverse Enthusiasts The benefits to NASA and Planetary system researchers is clear. Forget about Facebook, these scientists are looking for a functional digital research simulation 'Mirror World' (as envisioned by David Gelertner).
Meanwhile, Cisco is working diligently to make itself the most relevant web company in the next era of Internet architecture where collaboration, video, 3D simulations and structured data change the nature of our interactions. 'Planetary Skin' might be Cisco Systems under the radar, but out in the open effort of essentially building its own Internet of Tomorrow.
The day when anyone can create a stunning 3D Augmented Reality simulation is getting closer. Last month, General Electric's innovative AR media campaign to promote its 'Smart Grid' platform helped to push Augmented Reality out into the masses by giving users a chance to try it at home using a printable marker download and webcam.
Here are two cool examples of augmented reality apps/prototypes that are already out. The first is a really fun one from GE's futuristic Ecoimagination campaign. By making a print-out from their site and holding it in front of your monitor it brings the animation out of the box and into your room. Here's the Future is Awesome's Duncan Rawlinson demonstrating it with the print out attached to his mobile.
Here are some other DIY examples that illustrate it further 1. 2. 3.
Another very cool, though early incarnation technology that gives us a hint of how we'll be interacting with information in our physical environments comes to us from the MIT Media Lab - demoed at the recent TED conference (via Wired).
It's "a wearable computer system that turns any surface into an interactive display screen." Definitely has some of that early stage Minority Report feel to it and I think when looking at these two examples it's pretty obvious that this world will be here sooner than most people think.
On January 29 at 6pm, Carnegie Council Senior Fellows Joshua S. Fouts and Rita J. King will present findings from their Understanding Islam Through Virtual Worlds project. After a year of exploring digital Islamic communities, Fouts and King conclude that engaging with people in virtual worlds who self-identify as Muslim can be part of a broader public diplomacy strategy to foster inclusive perspectives on religion, society, and coexistence.
How can virtual worlds serve as new windows of insight into real life social dynamics?
I wouldn't have predicted ABC News going all bleak futurist, but they did. Earth 2100 is a massive online roleplaying game that starts out with global turmoil and devastation. And they're going prime time with it.
The project is pretty ambitious, but considering the recent popularity of games like Superstruct and Second Life, there should be no doubt that participation will be high. To participate you need to record a short fictional video depicting something in 2015, then, based on those submissions, the ABC News people will design a scenario for 2050, then 2070 and finally 2100.
This video shows how RFID can help improve control over stock inventory both in real world and virtual world situations. With the current state of virtual reality, it’s unlikely that virtual supermarkets will take off. They’re just too…clunky. However, one distinct possibility is a reversal. Computer controlled reality.
RFID will play a large part in this. The data it will provide will change the way we look at reality. By reporting and recording our locations and activities, it will digitise us – turning us into real life avatars.
In virtual reality, everything we do can be recorded. The software can record our every movement and interaction. This will soon be possible in real life, thanks to RFID and our interactions with computer interfaces.
The increasing richness of memorial media is a powerful by-product of accelerating change in technology, information and communication. In five years time, both broad public-facing and private 3d memorial media has a good chance of taking off, gradually catalyzing a shift in the way we interact with history and our dearly departed.
How do we properly remember and honor the dead? Our cultural answer to this question has changed over the millennia alongside with the invention of memory-enhancing technologies such as symbols, spoken language, writing, photography, video, digital information and the web.
Now the trend continues as powerful new disruptors such as social media, semantic search, virtual worlds and mirror worlds allow us to assemble, aggregate and interact with information about the dearly departed in surprising new ways.
On the most basic level, crowd-edited text-based structures like Wikipedia have already catalyzed an explosion of biographical data capture and made possible a growing niche of specialized human memorial websites.
Similarly, account-driven portals like Geanealogy.com’s Virtual Cemetery Project, MyCemetery, and World Gardens have been growing in popularity and each lay claim to being “The World’s First Online Memorial and Virtual Cemetery” or such.
In the physical world, progressive cemetery Hollywood Forever, which boasts the densest concentration of celebrity gravesites, has sparked a media memorial trend by displaying actors’ hilight reels beside their tombs. (Yes, for a pretty steep price you too can purchase your very own Lifestories Kiosk.)
Add sports media to the list of early technology adopter companies alongside the military and porn industries!
ESPN and Electronic Arts have joined forces around the ‘Virtual Playbook’ to shake up the world of broadcast media by launching a new era of immersive mass media experiences.
In recent years sports based games have pushed the evolution of 3D experiences, but now ESPN is bringing football analysis into the era of 3D Augmented Reality. This Fall, ESPN commentators will interact live with realistic 3D virtual NFL players. They will stand next to life sized scale 3D players as they demonstrate based offensive and defensive patterns.
Gamers are obviously thrilled and NFL viewers are likely to become bigger fans of sports commentators able to navigate a virtual landscape of players.
Now that we are witnessing the first mass media application of augmented reality, it becomes easier to build a futures road map looking at the convergence of drivers that support augmented mass media experiences.
We can see clear developmental lines of commercialization with 3D software (ray trace rendering, 3D authoring etc.), hardware (terahertz chips and video servers) and display technology (thin film, flexible OLEDs and high def projection systems) and interface standards (gesture, smart object and motion based interactions).
Thanks to ESPN, we have now jumped to major hurdles – viable business models around convergence of 3D software, gaming and virtual world companies with broadcast media. And the biggest barrier with the most uncertainty – People! Specifically mainstream TV viewers.
Entrepreneurs can now start imagining the unique applications. When might students use augmented reality to create reports – immersing themselves in history scenes or building cities? When might kids insert themselves inside a Dora the Explorer adventure? Or aspiring athletes play the world champions in an immersive experience that makes Wii tennis look like 8 bit pong?
When might technicians and engineers use augmented reality to work collaboratively long distance? Could Home Depot or our plumber walk us step by step through the bathroom project?!
The list of mainstream applications is exhaustive. And the convergence of technologies is within sight. There is no need to overstate and ‘hype’ augmented reality, or bow to naysayer skeptics of tech adoption. Augmented reality is much more appealing and functional than a pure virtual world experience. And it could give a boost to TV broadcasters desperate to stay relevant.
3, 5, 7 or 10 years is not too far off for mainstream applications at work and home! But how do we get there?
Forget about Google vs. Microsoft, the King of Search is building its foundation for conquering the mobile web experience and introducing software services that go far beyond desktop based keyword searches. Welcome to Google’s platform of the future – Android.
The future battle for consumer ‘web apps’ might heat up faster on smart mobile devices than desktops. This puts Google in direct competition with the iPhone and its App Store. But Google must move quickly to secure relationships with handset makers, and it needs developers to fall in love with the Android platform.
Last week, Google announced its winners of the first round of Android platform applications that include: cab4me’s one-click call to local cab services based on your location, CompareEverywhere’s camera bar code based price comparison, Ecorio’s automatic calculations of your carbon footprint, Breadcrumb’s picture based map creator, and PiggyBack’s car-pooling and ride-sharing application. These applications give users much more than simple search results. They help synchronize our lives and bring the web into the real world.
These apps and others will be part of Google’s Android Marketplace -an open content distribution system that will help end users find, purchase, download and install various types of content on their Android-powered devices.
The next two years will be an exciting time for mobile apps as mainstream Internet experiences evolve from websites to web services- and from desktops to mobile devices. The role of next generation mobile software services could be the key to success. Apple understands this future reality, but Google is not standing still- and Steve Jobs will be watching.
Coming soon to your living room: a wild safari in the scorching
African savanna starring you, armed with nothing but your camera.
Afrika is the next step in a generation of video games
that seek to become more than just entertainment and can actually
make you smarter.
the latest game by Rhino Studios, is set to be released in Japan on
the PS3 in late August. You play it from
the perspective of a nature photographer and naturalist armed with
a Nikon stalking realistic wildlife in painstakingly recreated
savannas. The photos you snap are saved like a lexicon, or
Africa-pedia, where you can read up all about the real facts of the
animal. The PS3’s multi-cored cell
is being utilized to is fullest potential to recreate the complex
AI and behavior of the animals in
mirror world fashion, and it’s is just one of many in the
increasing trend of video games that are as educational as they are
made to be entertaining.
Because the game is not about rifles or grenades, it is perfect
for younger children who can learn about Africa’s wildlife in a
fully immersive 3D world rather than a bread-and-butter textbook.
And what a field trip it is without all the expenses and dangers of
But using video games to teach isn’t a new idea. An all-girls
high school in Japan have already been using Nintendo DS’s to
teach English. The verdict? The students feel right at home with
the new devices. Katie Salen, a game designer and director of the
graduate Design and Technology program at
Parsons School of Design, is leading the way in using video
games as a foundation for education for an accelerating world. Her
goal is to open a school based on gaming literacy.