Augmented Reality The Topic Of Creepy, New Video
July 30, 2012

Augmented Reality Video Portrays Future Full Of Gamification

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Based on the amount of announcements, patent filings and prototypes, it´s easy to assume that some of the world´s largest companies have seen the future, and the future is AR, or Augmented Reality. It´s a very cool technology, placing a computer between yourself and the real world to display images or provide extra information. For example, iOS app “Star Walk” works with the iPhone´s camera and GPS to display star constellations, planets and satellites right on top of whatever you´ve captured in your iPhone´s lens, making for a great demo.

Google´s Glass, however, plans to bring much more than just constellations to a more an even more intimate device than your smartphone: A pair of glasses, which will sit just inches from your eyeballs. Based on their promo videos, Google Glass will display emails, text messages and other apps on its lenses, in addition to adding a camera to the frames, like a smartphone you wear. If products like these are the future, then where will we be in 10-20 years?

Israeli student filmmakers Daniel Lazo and Eran May-raz have created an 8-minute video as a graduation project, predicting what they think the future could look like if AR is left to expand freely and rapidly. Called “Sight,” the short film is a stark and slightly creepy look into the life of a man who´s placed an Augmented Reality in between himself and actual, real reality, via retinal implants.

“I´m a video game geek and Eran is a film buff, and we both have a passion for sci-fi and technology,” wrote Lazo in a statement to VentureBeat.

The film goes further than AR, as every common, daily task is imbued with some form of gamification. For instance, the man in the film is first seen laying face-down on the floor, writhing and wriggling about. Then, we see that the man is actually playing a game wherein he is flying through mountains. Later, he decides to make himself something to eat as an app directs him on how to slice a cucumber, and is given points for every straight slice he cuts. When he misses and cuts a piece diagonally, he gives up in frustration, throwing the half-sliced cucumber away and “restarting” the game, so as not to incur a bad score in his achievements.

The man, an unnamed engineer for a fictional company called “Sight,” lives in a mostly bare house with empty walls. No matter, for thanks to the retinal implants made by his company, he is able to see much more than plain white walls, as a television is displayed on the largest wall, social networking and news feeds displayed just to the right of it, and on the side wall, a list of all his “achievements” from the gamification of his life. All this is done without any sort of awkward, physical barrier between himself and his life.

“At first we were set on making a film that had augmented reality in it. We did some research, delved into every kind of augmented tech out there today, and somewhere along the way we thought, ℠Hey, I wonder how augmented reality would be like without the device or apparatus barrier. What if we could just SEE augmented reality?´´ writes Lazo.

“So we kind of tried to envision the world and how it would act after this kind of technology is standard, and it rolled on from there.”

The film is beautifully done and a frightening look at what life could be like if we become too dependent on technology. In one scene, the engineer is out on a date and, in order to flirt with the girl, uses an app (more gamification) to judge the girl´s attitude and attraction to him. Also wearing the implants, the girl quickly snaps a picture and updates her social networking sites about being on another “bad date.”

Though the idea isn´t entirely original, it´s always very interesting to see artists predict and ponder what our world could look like in the not-too-distant future. We already have much of the technology and, if left unchecked, we could one day live in a world where every daily activity exists in an app, every person is represented by some sort of online profile, and the world is no longer represented in its own beauty, but is entirely open to our own interpretation and programming.