Re: Holograms -vs- Augmented Reality

Eugene Leitl (
Sun, 17 Nov 1996 19:01:44 +0100 (MET)

On Sun, 17 Nov 1996, Chris Hind wrote:

> >> [...]
> >
> >Why are people working on electric cars when autogyros or telepresence
> >might be better? (I'm not arguing this, it is just an example)

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. While telepresence is great, it
needs a vehicle (e.g. a blimp), which might need to operate outdoors, where
there are no power grids, etc. I can imagine a mobile insectoid agent,
running on a PEM fuel cell (hydrogen generated in onboard methanol
reformer), using a satellite link to you, wherever you might be.

If such agents exist everywhere, you can jump between them, of course.
Who needs Star Trek beamers, if you can simply move about your frame of
reference, basically with the speed of light (accomodate some link
buildup and channel latency).

Moreover, lots of people will still insist of dragging their bodies
around, if simply to take a swim, and to bask on the beach for a while.
While fidelity of artificial reality can be arbitrarily high, this does
not apply to augmented reality, due to obvious physical constraints.

> Or hydrogen fuel-based engines.

What is fuel? Burning hydrogen in Carnot machines is quite pointless,
though one should not forget special applications as rockets and hydrogen
turbine jets. Hydrogen fuels cells are the most efficient method to generate
power we are currently know, _the_ best method possible for chemical
power sources.

> [...]
> >* Not everyone will tune in to your AR advertisements, but everyone will
> >see your huge hologram.

And what are means to generate such a hologram, pray? Phase array optics
(which require strong nanotech) excluded, I don't see any possibility
(image generator, computational power) to create animated holograms.

> Not unless you make augmented reality a necessity for surviving in everyday
> life where all communication depend on it like the all in one
> communications box (radio, TV, phone, answering machine, VCR, fax, internet
> access, etc.) PC-TV which will be here before 2000 with early versions
> already here. Make AR essential and everyone will have it just like having
> a telephone (western nations).

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. Avatars and agents stride ghostlike, you see
data dynamics surging through representations of comm channels.

After a while, Au. R. will become a richer environment. You'll start
missing things if you plug in too rarely. Apart from wireheads, many
people will work in Au. R -- the step from a mouse pusher, to 6dof cursor
pusher is not too far ;)

Extrapolate current developments, as head-up VR, wearable, DGPS and LPS,
digital cellular, Internet way into the future -- it all already migrates
towards this Au. R. thingy. It's the logical choice, the next GUI.


P.S. Mailing for the first time from home, 14400 modem, and not even an
offline mailer (Linux' minicom). Must move to xemacs really soon, don't
see any reasons to make Kraut telecom rich.