One of the great creative opportunities, especially for cities, is the ability in today’s world to blend physical and virtual spaces. This opens up possibilities for learning, collaboration, entertainment – and making new kinds of destinations that will attract people to a particular physical space.
While the trend is not something that started this year – look at Times Square over the last few years – it is picking up steam as more of the physical places in the world are connected to the Internet.
So I’ve been tracking some of the more interesting examples as they’ve come along. Perhaps the biggest announcement was Google’s new “glasses” that let you see an augmented reality. There are other similar products from smaller companies, likely Oakley and Lummus.
And, to overcome the obviously geeky look of glasses, there has been developed a prototype of contact lenses that provide the same functions. (I suspect, though, that government approvals will delay the contact lens version for a while.)
There are other examples, though, that might not have caught your notice:
- Transparent walls, on which is projected what is happening on a side street. That way you can see something coming at you before you would normally be able to see it. The safety benefits are pretty obvious. For a video, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LqCMv3Nz4ZQ#!
- Portal boxes in which two people – in physically separate places – can reach behind the screen together. See http://www.gizmag.com/portal-boxes-interactivity/21000/pictures#6
- A remote controlled coffee shop in Helsinki. See http://adage.com/article/creativity-pick-of-the-day/helsinki-a-remote-controlled-interactive-cafe/232656/
- iPavement, from a Spanish company, which builds connectivity into the street so you can gain access to heavy bandwidth applications. See http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57420548-1/ipavement-adds-apps-to-the-ground-beneath-your-feet/
Please let me know of any examples you come across, so I can share them with others.
© 2012 Norman Jacknis