Week 5: AR and Funerals

Greenfield offers interesting insight and possible outcomes of augmented reality (AR) technology.  It was a change because the first two chapters of his book analyzed technology most of society has already accepted and embraced, but this chapter dealt with a technology that has not yet been integrated fully.  While I knew many people that played Pokémon, it is definitely less than the amount of people that use a smart phone or fitness tracker. AR is still emerging and could arise in the various ways Greenfield discussed, or could get passed over altogether because people don’t like the after-effects (41).

While I agree that AR offers great potential for historical and cultural heritage uses, I am not sure I’d want to have to switch to special glasses to use it.  To me, the future of AR should be more similar to Pokémon, where we use our handheld devices to see a virtual layer.  In this case, we could still use it for cultural heritage (similar to Greenfield’s example of the blocks in Berlin, Germany), but we would not have to alter our eye-sight.  Perhaps, cities could load data that lures people to a specific location, but at the location the user will be presented with options such as an audio tour, a short blurb, or a link to a longer written entry.  What I am suggesting could be a type of AR that worked along with a walking tour, but allowed the user to access researched historical data.

However, I expect we will see virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) lead the charge of cultural heritage.  Visitors will be transported to online recreations (similar to Rome Rebuilt) using VR without having to leave their homes.  It will be safe and less expensive than using AR, considering you’d have to travel to an actual city to use a location-based AR.  While I think those that want to travel will continue to visit cities, like Berlin, due to the physical location of the history, I also think that as the environment continues to be polluted and as the climate shifts, people may lose the option to travel, even as soon as the next 100 to 200 years.

On a similarly dark note, I found the funeral chapter to be the most interesting in our two readings from An Aura of Familiarity.  I recently helped my dad clean out my grandfather’s house.  I see immense potential in the scanning technology used in the story.  I was hoping they would take it one step further and explain how the technology could also show you similar items listed for sale online with prices.  Perhaps the technology could even list and manage the listing for the seller.  There are many possibilities, for sure.

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