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The Horizon Report





The Horizon Report (PDF)



CONTEXT-AWARE COMPUTING/AUGMENTED REALITY



Already beginning to surface in disciplines like medicine, engineering, the sciences, and archaeology, context-aware computing and augmented reality show promising new ways for humans to interact with technology. The goal, as these techniques are further refined, is that the human-computer interface will become more transparent, increasing access and ease of use.



Augmented reality refers to a composite view made up of what the user is actually seeing along with a virtual scene generated by the computer that overlays additional information on the scene. Augmented reality differs from virtual reality in that the real world is still very much present in an augmented reality setting, whereas it is entirely replaced by a virtual reality. The augmentation may take any of several forms, and is designed to enhance the user’s experience and perception of the world, based on contextual cues as to time, place, etc.



Augmented reality may be useful across disciplines in training scenarios, where learners see techniques demonstrated even if the necessary equipment is unavailable. Instructions could be superimposed onto equipment when it is present, guiding new users through the process step by step. In medicine, an augmented reality display could overlay the data from a CAT scan directly onto a patient; a surgeon would see the information as he operated.



Performance art pieces taking advantage of augmented reality might allow viewers to wander through new landscapes (or seascapes, or moonscapes), in and out of bizarre or improbable architectural spaces, or among imaginary flora and fauna. In museums, historical buildings, and other settings, contextual data displays might appear as someone approached a landmark, showing historical information. Botanical gardens might include contextual displays or recordings with botanical information as viewers pass by.



Links:

Augmented Reality: A New Way of Seeing

Augmented Reality Page

How Augmented Reality Will Work

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