UC Berkeley scientists have developed a system to capture visual activity in human brains and reconstruct it as digital video clips. Eventually, this process will allow you to record and reconstruct your own dreams on a computer screen.
Millions of people watch the same TV programmes and read the same newspapers. As a result their own conversations are standardised. Communications have become a commodity to be consumed, ‘sounds’ to be bought on plastic tapes. All modern communications media have two things in common: you have to pay for them, and there is no way of participating, you listen or watch, nothing else is required of you.
Technology has taken over so many facets of our lives that the real world sometimes seems a little boring by comparison. Never fear – technology is slowly creeping into even the most mundane corners of our existence, making sure that we never have to face reality without some sort of augmented component ever again. These 15 designs, apps, inventions and gadgets put a digital element right into the real world – for better or for worse.
Augmented reality has the amazing ability to transform our world while also transforming ourselves, as the Zaphat proves. Put on the Zaphat and your whole identity is immediately transformed…at least when you’re seen through the camera of a mobile device running theZappar app. The little patch on the front of the hat is actually a target that indicates your head location and orientation to the app, which then overlays a three-dimensional virtual mask on top of your face. The person operating the device can manipulate the type of mask and even interact with it virtually.
Street Art Comes to Life
Typically, street art is a fairly stationary form of personal expression. But thanks to futuristic augmented reality, street art can come to life and dance around right in front of observers. The LZRTAG augmented reality app allows people to aim a smartphone at a target in order to see a short animated street art clip. Anyone at all can upload an animation and print out a tag to decorate the world, all for free.
Finding Twitter Friends
Twitter’s geotagging feature allows friends to find one another in real life with an app called Twitter 360. Using an iPhone’s camera, the app creates an augmented reality overlay map that guides the iPhone holder to nearby friends based on their geotagged tweets. Users just have to follow the arrows that appear on the screen to be led directly to the nearest contact.
Augmented Reality Cinema
If you’ve ever traveled to a specific geographic spot just because it was featured in a favorite movie, the AR Cinema app from developers Halocline will be an exciting concept. The smartphone app senses when you’re in a movie-related location and shows you the famous scene(s) shot there. It’s an interesting way to combine a love of travel and a love of movies – and maybe even our collective love of smartphones.
On a long car or train journey, boredom can set in pretty quickly. This conceptual game would use a Kinect and other simple hardware to create an augmented reality overlay on the actual scenery outside of the vehicle in which you’re traveling. By touching the window, players would be able to add all kinds of fun objects and elements to the passing scenery. The game, called Touch the Train Window, is from Tokyo design team Salad.
If the beauty of nature is getting a bit boring, perhaps you’d like to spice things up a bit by throwing in some psychedelic visions and experiences. Swiss designer Jan Torpus has created a project called lifeClipper, in which visitors put on head-mounted display equipment for a walk through the park. The display shows the user’s actual surroundings but adds an extra layer to reality. This additional layer includes vivid colors, surreal characters, and an imaginatively enhanced landscape.
Real-Time Selective Video Editing
Changing your reality is simple when you’ve got high-tech augmented reality tools on your side. Software from a German university allows you to remove unsavory objects from your video footage as you’re filming it – just tell the software what you want to disappear and it magically erases it. The whole process takes only microseconds and is convincing to all but the sharpest eyes.
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The Gulf War had a great deal of TV coverage, but it was heavily restricted. Supposedly this was to protect sensitive information from Iraqi military tuned to CNN but the reality was that the Pentagon feared a repeat of Vietnam. Many in the Pentagon felt Vietnam was lost because of the press’s unrestricted access to the war. To reduce the number of reporters working on ground, the war was conducted under a pool system, where any press organisation that was a member of that pool had access to everyone else’s work. On the other hand, the Pentagon tightly controlled the pools with government approved reporters and provided military escorts for any field reporting. Just a few hours before the 1991 Gulf war ceasefire, photographer Ken Jarecke was heading back to Kuwait from Southern Iraq. Jarecke came across a singletruckburnt out from airstrike in the middle of a highway. Jarecke told his military escort that “If I don’t make pictures like this, people like my mother will think what they see in war is what they see in movies”, and went over to the burnt tank and took the above photo. At that time, it was an image challenged the prevailing notion that the ‘clinical’ attack avoided ‘collateral damage’.
Mexican authorities have banned Maya spiritual leaders from performing ceremonies at their ancestral temples, which are about to be overrun by a curious assortment of conspiracy theorists, dooms-dayers, new-agers and well-intentioned tourists who just want to be apart of the festivities.
The Ceremonies are meant to mark the end of the Maya long-count calendar, which began 13 Baktun (cycles) ago. Under the Greco-Roman Calender, that’s about 3112 BC.
Contrary to popular (mis)belief, the end of the long-count calendar is being viewed as something positive. As Mayan priest Jose Manrique Esquive recently pointed out, the current Baktun, which began around 1618, has been drenched by a continuous reign of misery that included the introduction of European disease, culture and language being erased and entire populations being extinguished.
However, the Maya are still going to be allowed to visit the sites along with the tourists, but they will likely have to pay to get in, just like everyone else.
A new service called “Staples Easy 3D” will allow customers to upload their designs to Staples’ website, then pick up the printed objects at their local office supply megastore, or have them shipped to their home or business — not unlike the photo- and document-printing service the company already offers.