For my Future Interfaces class final, our professor Ken Perlin encouraged us to investigate the future of interfaces without needing to factor in the current technological limitations of augmented and virtual reality. I decided to look at what the future of remote communication could look like in the next 15 years. The main idea is how augmented reality can change the paradigm of remote communication from being mainly task oriented (i.e. a work call to talk about a specific topic) to being about share moments with people. I’ve included my presentation from class below with explanations.
Here is a shot from my point of view. I’ve just arrived at home and decided that I want to review my messages from earlier that day.
While the interaction to bring up/render these messages in my line of sight has not been crystalized, one can imagine using voice. An interesting point that was brought up in class is that I’m blending current 2D design concepts within such a futuristic technology. This was a conscious choice as I believe that even with 3D rendering improving dramatically within the 15 year time frame that I’ve set, 2D textual information will still remain more scannable. Therefore, I decided to execute my designs as such to make my experience feel as light as possible.
One could interact with the content rendered by your lenses in a variety of ways. For the case of the next two slides, you see that I am using the capacitive gestures of simply running my thumb along my index finger to scroll through the list of messages.
It’s possible that once you’ve landed on an item of interest, it could highlight the piece of content.
But what I really like is the ability to get content out of your line of sight. The idea of tons of content being in your face feels claustrophobic to me, so to combat that, I imagine being able to take anything from your line of sight and render it on to physical objects in your environment.
In this instance, I’m able to scroll through the messages by simply swiping/scrolling along the surface that I’ve rendered the content on to. This would be accomplished again through multi-frequency capacitive sensing.
Here I’m selecting a message from Zee as I know we planned to do a quick business call that evening and I need to respond to his latest message.
I ask him if we can do the call at my place and he responds in agreement saying that he’ll load up my living room. This is an important detail as people will need to load up the environment that they will be rendered into in order to have spatial awareness. I’ll be going into more detail on this later.
It so happens that I’ve done calls at my place with Zee before so he already had access to my living room, but in this reality, I’m actually sending Zee a file to a specific location (my living room in this case) when I send him the invite. I imagine that when you move into an apartment or start a new job at an office, you’ll be given access to these spatial files that you can share with others for teleconferencing purposes.
And viola! Zee is now in my living room sitting in his desk chair from home.
An important thing to note is that this call is more inline with our current model of remote communication, where there is a clear objective. Zee is giving me feedback on some designs I sent him. However, I thought it was important to show the such a use case. Now let’s look at remote communication with AR that touches more on sharing moments together.
Now I’m inviting my girlfriend Katie over for dinner even though she’s on a business trip.
This starts to give you a sense of what an augmented reality date would feel like. It also underscores the idea that we’re just sharing a moment together as we would if she were actually physically with me.
Here’s another example of us just hanging out together watching a movie remotely. I really believe the idea of shared remote time that becomes possible with augmented reality will totally evolve the nature of remote communication and remote relationships. While this system doesn’t account for “remote touch”, there would be an opportunity to use haptic feedback such as air; however, I’ve intentionally left something like this out as a design choice. I feel it preserves the importance of real physical encounters. Remote communication is something to supplement real relationships, not supersede them.
As I mentioned before, there is a key component to Katie and Zee having spatial awareness within the environments that they’re rendered into. The answer to that is the VR room, which speaks to the title 3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 VR. In the future, I imagine that everyone will have a room in their home solely dedicated to virtual reality.
Here you can see how a VR room could display your saved locations. They not only would be present places that exist but you could also go back to places you used to live in or spend time in (i.e. your house from senior year of college). In order for a remote connection to occur in one of the participant’s actual physical space, one person would have to be experiencing the moment in VR. That other person would be rendering AR in their physical space. While it’s not outlined here, there could be the possibility where both participants are using only AR or only VR.
This is an example of what Katie would have seen before “arriving” in my dinning room for dinner. Now, let’s take a quick look at what this VR room would look like.
The idea behind the VR room is that it would have programable matter, or atoms, as a future realization of a lot of things that the MIT Tangible Media Group are doing. That means that depending on the size of your VR room, you could create a 3D model of whatever space you’re loading up and then be able to render the visuals of that space on top of that model. I also imagine the ability for people to move within their VR room and the environment would adapt within the allotted space. Lastly, just to show how ubiquitous it would become, here’s a snapshot of what an apartment listing would look like in this reality.