The Artificial Mind’s Eye

Feb. 8, 2017
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GX_Arturo_Blog
GX_Arturo_Blog
GX_Arturo_Blog
GX_Arturo_Blog

I’m not sure if it’s still a “thing” but I recall last summer children, teenagers, and even some young adults ambling up and down the sidewalks of our tiny municipality with their smartphones in hand, and arms extended. To me, a long-time Star Trek fan, it looked like they were using a tricorder to scan their surroundings. What they were doing is playing a game called “Pokémon Go!”, and it was my first exposure to augmented reality. The game takes animated characters and places them in your actual, live location. That was last summer.

Fast forward to today.

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So we have virtual reality, in which nothing is real. We then have augmented reality, which takes your view of the real world and adds digital information on top of it. And now I just learned of a third…mixed reality. In mixed reality, you can see the real world and you can see virtual objects and on top of that, the virtual objects are anchored to a point in real space. Those objects can be treated as “real” and can be manipulated is different ways.

Microsoft has been working on this for a number of years, specifically with its Hololens smart glasses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm2gnnyyvEg

According to Computer Business Review’s website, Microsoft is going to be partnering with Trimble and the University of Cambridge to begin testing ways in which to use the Hololens smart glasses in the construction industry. They’ll start by trying to use them for safety inspections on bridges. But the inspectors will be miles away from the inspection sites.

It is hoped that Hololens’ use of mixed reality will allow for many practical applications as unlike virtual reality, which is a completely virtual simulation, mixed reality is a combination of both virtual and physical worlds in order to create a simulation in which the physical and digital can interact.

Aviad Almagor, Director of the Mixed Reality Program at Trimble, said: “Cambridge University is a world-renowned educational institution, and it’s been a fascinating experience to partner with the university and Microsoft, using HoloLens to envision the future of the AEC industry. This initiative has helped us to inform the next frontier of technology within the sector – especially in areas such as construction, where IT has traditionally been underutilized.”

There is still no release date for the Hololens to the general public.