Monday, June 25, 2012

Augmenting Reality As the Ultimate Knowledge Management Tool

Hands-free means more than just phone calls while jogging, or sipping your latte while reading your iPad. Other ways of merging multiple data sources based on your geo location (i.e., context-aware mapping of information) are emerging. As usual, Google is out in front with Information Architecture. So what does Google's Glass look like? Well, press photos show a spare-looking frame that sits above the wearer's right eye -- not terribly fashionable, meant more like a HUD (heads up display) found in military-style helmets, some automobiles, and in many computer games. This interesting info graphic gives a better idea of what the functionality is, since you won't be winning any fashion awards for the pre-production prototype. Unlike other systems, Google's doesn't overlay data completely in front of the wearer's entire field of vision. Instead, datagrams appear only in one’s peripheral vision -- relevant to what the wearing is looking at. Of course, the Project Glass video is a marketing effort as much as a look at the product -- which, after all, doesn't exist yet. But opening eyes to the possibility of augmented information displays is certainly a way to motivate the competition. You've got such data mashups on the iPhone already. One example is WorkSnug, an iOS app that helps you locate a place to work. It identifies Wi-Fi hotspots and potential workplaces -– from coffee shops to professional rent-a-desk office space. Combining social media (user reviews cover power provision, atmosphere, noise levels and even the quality of the coffee), this is a cool way to find what you need on the go. It's clear that the future promises the continued blending of technology and the eye (such as Google’s project glass) and other amazing emerging optical technologies on the very near horizon. Graphic from Zenni Optical.

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