The internet is about to transform the way we see and interact with the world in ways we could only have dreamed about a few years ago.
The existence of social networking sites and the amount of data collected from them allows programmers to make rich relational associations. A further step is to associate these associations with what we experience and see in three-dimensional space.
Take Epson’s world-first three-dimensional see-through head-mounted display, Moverio, which has just been launched in Japan. It connects directly to YouTube for video content and uses a browser to display web pages, and it weighs only half a pound. The device reportedly will have an initial retail price of only $800. Eventually, this innovation could be given the capability to allow us to view things on the other side of walls, such as wireless devices.
Eventually, users will be able to see their social links through the headset as well. The Google+ mobile app already allows users to see posts from other mobile Google+ users nearby. It is a short step for Google to represent this data superimposed on the three dimensional, physical world.
The physical experience of shoppers is already being connected to the internet as retailers embrace mobile payment technology. The Gap Inc. just announced that it will accept Google Wallet payments in the Bay area.
One Millionth Tower, a recently released documentary provides a window into the potential to tie rich sources of data into a three-dimensional representation of reality using open source code.
The movie creates an environment online in which the user can move around in three-dimensions to explore different nodes of information. Filmmaker Katerina Cizek uses these nodes to present graphics and audio about people who live in Toronto highrises. The environment also brings in external information, such as the current weather conditions in Toronto, and allows this information to affect the movie.
The movie hints at the opportunities. “What we’ve done with One Millionth Tower is not the future,” Cizek said. “It just points to it.”
Marketers are still trying to figure out how Twitter can make money, but that’s missing the point. Twitter was and is a revolutionary way of creating, consuming, and re-organizing information online. The next step will be to hashtag the entire web to improve our collective intelligence, and attach this information into the users’s environment with images and sound.
The implications of these innovations are enormous and will continue to speed up the way that consumers create and share information.
The raw materials already exist. Google has built tools that enable mobile users to see where media is coming from. New opportunities like Google Wallet exist to link social media with purchase. One Millionth Tower demonstrates how diverse sources of data can be presented in an appealing three-dimensional image in a web browser. Moverio shows how data from the internet can be projected onto images of the real world. Now all one needs is imagination to link everything together in convenient and fantastic ways.