Augmented Reality. Really?


       'Our goal here is to complement rather than replace.'

Recently I came across an article on augmented reality. The term these days is used like a fad. Like in 1970s cell-phone was the hot term, those what it represents today is more than just a cellular phone, its a hell lot of technology in packed in a soapbar.

20 years from now, there would be no difference in real and virtual. We could live what we hallucinate today.  Those who fantasize climbing Himalayas, or walking through streets of Varanasi would just be able to 'buy' the experience, and feel it on their cornea embedded Augmented Reality/AR system. So the meaning of hallucination will evolve as well, which I think I can't imagine right now (book 'hallucinations of the next decade'?).

I was thinking how these terms affect our thinking process. As the term says, why do you want to augment the reality? The reality itself is so complete, beautiful and strong, that its augmentation is not required. I think its digital overlaying of a live camera feed that they call AR lately. But then it should be called LCF/whatever and not AR.

Imagine what would happen to the beautiful guitar played by Jimi Hendrix, or tabla played by Zakir Hussain if augmented by projectors, sensors etc.  I am against that sort of augmentation. There has to be governing committee that stops augmentation of certain things. I wouldn't go to concert if I knew that the tabla Zakir Hussain uses is digitally equipped. Biomechatronic exo-skeleton driving his hands? No-way.  One primary reason go to concerts and art shows is that its an exhibit of human capabilities beyond our personal skills. The appreciation is for the relation between the artist and his instrument and not just the instrument alone.

Some spiritual monks/alikes are also known to 'experience' augmented reality through different measures completely through non-digital means. Few of which are induced via herbs, intoxication or just pure imagination.

Other times when I experienced AR was during childhood, were during the moments of imagination. Super-heros jumping across from a building to another, or seeing myself being served the best chocolates while going on a fastest Disneyland ride. Or dreaming at night where we can augment the reality by believing ourselves to fly, or to run in a gravity free space etc.

Or for those who dont dream much, might remember seeing those 'eye-floaters' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floater . which is body's own way to physically augmented the seen reality.

So I propose AR - should be called as DAR(digital AR, or LCF) so that those who love the reality-as is and don't get fooled. As a researcher on immersive systems I can see the line between real and virtual slowly getting fainter technically. But the linguists should take the effort to preserve the reality.