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Synthetic Serendipity

Synthetic Serendipity by Vernor Vinge.







Here's some augmented reality fiction from IEEE Spectrum. And a corresponding article by Harry Goldstein discussing the technology path required to bring the story into reality:



"ABOUT THE BIG PICTURE, there isn't much doubt. Sensing, monitoring, networking, and computing technologies of incredible variety and profusion will converge over the next 10 to 20 years to give us—and those who would keep tabs on us—incredible powers of observation...



We'll drift casually in and out of augmented reality and have dizzying access to an unceasing torrent of information.



Tiny, light, and bright displays are clearly central to Vinge's future world...In Vinge's story, the display of choice is a retinal-scanning system embedded in contact lenses. The basic technology is already here, albeit in much bulkier form, in displays from Microvision Inc., in Bothell, Wash. The company's scanned-beam display uses extremely small semiconductor lasers to scan images directly onto the retina [see "In the Eye of the Beholder," Spectrum, May].



The scanned-beam display, including the lasers and the 2.5-mm-diameter microelectromechanical scanner that paints the light onto the retina, needs to shrink to fit comfortably and unobtrusively on a contact lens. John R. Lewis, a research fellow at Microvision, insists he could build such a prototype today for US $5 million to $10 million."

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Scanned beam display contacts? Simply amazing.

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