Archive for April, 2014

My wife always tells me that using computers is very anti-social, even when I tell here I’m talking to people and playing games against them she comes back with that old chestnut “but they’re not real people!”, which is obviously BS, but she doesn’t want to hear that.

She asked me the other day what toys I think our children will be playing with in ten years time and whether these toys would make our kids more social or anti-social.

I decribes to her the scenario of our child sitting on the living room floor and putting on a pair of AR glasses. One of his friends does the same thing in their house and now our child can see his friend as if in the same room and visa versa. They then both put on haptic gloves and bring up a virtual model of a train set on the floor in front of them. This model is then projected into both real environments created a fully virtual shared space where the other child is reality projected into this space, but the toys are all virtual. The train set will be put together just like a normal train set with the children being able to feel the pieces as they pick them up and contruct the set. The bonus is of course that the toys can then come alive and the train can have it’s own personality like Thomas the tank engine and once the children complete the train set, all the passengers then move on their own and get on and off the train, virtual smoke even pours out the train engine. And the best bit? The set can be saved and brought back when ever they want to carry on playing, it doesn’t need washing, the parents won’t trip over it and the kid doesn’t have to be driven to his friends house to play, this is especially cool if his friend moves thousands of miles way. My wife said I was talking fantasy and that will never happen, she also said it wasn’t very social and she didn’t see it being anywhere near as good as playing in person. I’m just not sure sure she gets the whole idea at all. And this is my concern with public opinion on VR and AR in general, that they cannot get away from the idea that computers are things for spotty teenagers with no friends to play with in darkened rooms, when in reality, VR and AR will lead to huge social improvements for society on the whole and connect people in very natural ways that they can’t even dream of right now.

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