Augmented reality was at one point a bit of an over-imagined gimmick to me. Being a Science Fiction nerd, I was excited at such technology existing. But I know that concepts tend to weigh more than the available technology wants to carry. There was an “augmented reality” app I downloaded onto my smartphone once that manipulated the camera application. The camera would display floating tweets sent by everyone within a certain distance of my location, and you could walk toward which tweet interested you most. Unfortunately, I was in a rural location, and the nearest tweet was probably 50 miles away.
But within five years, augmented reality technology has made itself reckonable.
CastAR is a new augmented reality device created by Technical Illusions that functions like a kind of futuristic eyewear similar to Google Glass, but also as a portable, virtual reality gaming system.
Using two micro projectors attached to the glasses that beam images onto a companion portable pad, the CastAR can display virtual textures and game boards that create a completely realistic experience. Because of the high-definition technology, and the speed at which the projected images are beamed back to the glasses, wearers accept the images as real and are not prone to the distorted feeling of watching digital video for so long.
Do you remember the holographic chess set on board the Millenium Falcon in Star Wars: A New Hope? Well, it seems like CastAR is making that experience available.
Augmented reality technology is becoming cheaper and more immersive, perfect for acceptance by general consumers. Such technology poses classic scenarios like which reality most people will choose to experience. But if tools like CastAR do create tactile and experiential moments for users, will we need to understand these virtual moments as a concrete reality? Augmented reality is capable of conjuring all the emotional reactions we associate with a real world, so should they be understood as a tangible experience?
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