Re: Holograms -vs- Augmented Reality

Damien Broderick (
Mon, 18 Nov 1996 12:42:29 +1000

At 07:01 PM 11/17/96 +0100, 'gene wrote:

>I think it will be a wearable augmented reality, where you are carrying
>your computational environment with you. The idea of Au.R. is to create a
>Gelernter mirror world, to give you a glamour-like view of the IT
>part of reality which is invisible to the naked eye. Take off the magical
>glasses, and all you see is a jungle of drab boxes, antennae and a
>tangle of glass fibre. Don them again, and a Gibsonian matrix
>unfolds around you.

Samuel R. Delany played with this in STARS IN MY POCKET LIKE GRAINS OF SAND
(1984, independent of Bill Gibson), and it's the default background
experience of my forthcoming Avon sf novel (March 97) THE WHITE ABACUS.
Here's a bit from near the opening:

A more burly fellow wandered by, just visible within the display. Despite
the day's brightness and evident heat, he was lavishly clad, from his broad,
heavy shoes to his bulky sleeveless gown, furred in ermine. I regarded him
with some envy, conscious of my own nakedness. Under the gown he wore
waistcoat, jerkin, doublet opened at the bulging codpiece. His massive arms,
swinging, moved easily in sleeves slashed and puffed. It was a formidable
display. Fashion glosses flickered: Hans Holbein the Younger, Henry VIII,
items of garb orbiting an historic attractor in couture data-space. The
boy's gaze was fixed upon the spectacle, though not, I began to realise,
with admiration.

`Are you all deaf?' he shouted peevishly. `My luggage!'

The burly fellow frowned once. Striding past without moderating his pace,
he smiled through his square red-brown beard at the boy, nodded, glanced at
the luggage, quirked his lips in approval at the fine bags, sent the boy a
companionable wink, strolled on.

The recorded data stream lost a little crispness as the display widened to
keep them both in register. The boy was plainly agog at the burly man's
insolent disregard. I watched his fists clench, then tremblingly come under
control. He called more loudly.

`Citizen! The red singlet!'

This time the man paused in surprise, turned, touched his hat, brought it
closer to his right ear.

`Morning, petal.'

For an instant I, too, was confused. It seemed the fellow wore almost every
garment ever devised for a 16th century European gentleman, one on top of
the other, with the exception of a singlet. I understood, then, with
something of a shock, that the boy was somehow operating without Gestell access.

Tsin said at the same moment, `You'll notice, Sen, that the young man is in
vanilla mode. No aks.'

The boy stood poised on the balls of his feet, beside his luggage, shivering
with controlled fury. His voice rose in pitch. `I have just disembarked
from orbit. Due to some extraordinary oversight I have not been met.'

`That was you in the flying brick, was it?' The burly citizen was polite.
`Why don't you aks for help?' I plunged into the substrate tuple field,
fetched out his un-augmented appearance. He was indeed wearing a shabby red
singlet stained under the armpits in sweat, sloppy shorts of an execrable
tartan, and a pair of heavy walking boots. I let his eidolon covered him
again decently.

Damien Broderick