Live from ISMAR ’08: The Gods of Augmented Reality About the Next 10 Years

Welcome to the climax of ISMAR ’08. On stage the 9 “gods” of the augmented reality community. And they are siting in a panel to muse about the next 10 years of augmented reality.

Dieter Schmalstieg took on the unenviable job of moderating this crowd of big wigs. See if he can curb them down to 3 minutes each.

Here is a blow-by-blow coverage of their thoughts.

Ron Azuma (HRL)

The only way for AR to succeed is when we insert AR into our daily lives – it has to be available all the time (like Thad Starner from GA Tech which always wears his computer)
Ron asks – What if we succeed? what are the social ramifications? those who have thought about it are science fiction writers…such as Vernor Vinge (have you read Rainbows End and Synthetic Serendipity.)

Reinhold Behringer (Leeds)

AR is at the threshold of broad applications.
Cameras, GPS, bandwidth have improved immensely – split into lo-fi AR, approximate registration, low end hardware. and also hi end AR, live see through displays, etc.
What’s missing is APIs, common frameworks, ARML descriptor (standardization)

Mark Billinghurst (HitLab NZ)

Mobility (now) – It took 10 years to go from backpack to palm
Ubiquity (5+ years) – how will AR devices work with other devices (TV, home theater, …),
Sociability – it took us 10 years to go from 2 to 4 to 8 users . When will we have massive scale?
Next is AR 2.0 with massive user generated content and a major shift from technology to user interaction

Steve Feiner – Columbia

AR means “The world = your user interface”
What will it take to make this possible?
Backpacks are ridiculous; handheld devices will look ridiculous 5 years from now – so don’t write off eyewear.
A big one is dynamic global databases for identification/tracking of real world objects. Tracking could be viewed as “just” search (granted a new kind of search.)
There is more to AR than registration; AR presentations need to be designed (AR layouts).

Gudrun Klinker – TU Munchen

|ntegrating AR with ubiquitous. We are interfacing with reality, with our senses and others are mental. We need those lenses to connect to our “senses” (not just visually – it could also be sound, etc). Combining the virtual with the real – where is the information? and can we see it? How do we communicate with the stationary world? We need to connect with the room we are in and hear the “story”. The devices at least need to talk to each other.
We also need to think about “augmented” building, they do not evolve as fast as cell phones. Another aspect is how are we going to survive “this thing”. We need much more usability studies and connect it with real world applications. The ultimate test (I challenge you to show it in next year’s competition) is a navigation system for runners. It’s easy to do it for cars – but may be harder for people.

Nassir Navab –  TU Munchen

Medical augmented reality  – showing fascinating videos of medical overlays [add videos]

The simplest idea is getting into the operation room – combining X Ray and optics as part of the common operating workflow.

Next is fusion of pre/intra operative functional and anatomical imaging; patient motion tracking and deformable registration; adaptive, intuitive and interactive visualization; Integration into surgical workflow
Finally we need to focus on changing the culture of surgeons (e.g. training with AR simulation).

Haruo Takemura – Osaka University

Showing a table comparing the pros and cons of hardware platforms: e.g. mobile have potential benefits vs HMD (but also drawbacks – such as processing power); desktop is cheap and powerful but not mobile (tethered).
Cell phones have another issue – they are tied to the carriers which is problematic for developers.

Bruce Thomas – UniSA

We are extremely interdisciplinary – and should keep it up.
However with so many of these it’s hard to develop and evaluate. And by the way innovation is difficult to articulate.
We are in a “Neat vs. Scruffy” situation – the bottom line is that a smaller self-contained pieces of research is easier to get in front of the community – and get results.

Questions floating:
is high end or low end AR the goal?
is ubiquity in AR realistic or wishful thinking?
are we innovative/.
Does augmented reality need to make more money to survive?
Platforms: Don’t write off eyewear?
Social: what if we succeed with AR?
What is the position of ISMAR in the scientific community?

A controvertial question from the audience to the panel: How many of you have subject matter expert working in your office on a daily basis? (few hands) How many of you have artists working a daily basis? (even fewer hands) How many of your research have reached the real world? (once again – few hands)

A question from the audience about the future of HMD. Mark takes the mic and asks the audience:

How many of you would wear a head mounted display? (5 hands)

How many of you would wear a head mounted display that looks like a normal glasses? (75% of the audience raise hands)

Dieter asks the panel members to conclude with one sentence each (no semi columns…)

Ron: I want to refer to the comment that the cell phone is too seductive. We should make it indispensable so users won’t want to give it up – just like a cell phone.

Mark: We need to make sure that children, grandparents, in Africa and everywhere – could use AR

Steve: You ain’t seen nothing yet; look at the progress we have made in the last 10 years! No one can predict what will happen.

Gudrun: We have to be visionary and on the other hand. We need to be realistic and make sure RA doesn’t end up like AI…don’t build hopes in areas where people shouldn’t have them…don’t let AR get burned…

Nassir: Next event we should include designers and experts from other disciplines; and create solutions that go beyond the fashion

Haruo: Maybe combining information like Googles with devices

Bruce: I want you to have fun and be passionate about what you do! We can change the world!

Applause, and that’s a wrap.

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