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Increasing Access to Public Augmented Reality Units: The Human beast Problem

Augmented Reality is basically divided into two sections:

  • You have the sensor web, an interconnected mesh of wireless, wired, and sensor networks, ubiquitous to the environment, constantly communicating with one another - a mesh of tiny connections blanketing every aspect of civilisation.

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  • You also have a sensory superimposition system or systems, providing information, even superimposing graphics, audio and other sense enhancements over the perception of the physical world around the person in real time. At its most basic form this may be in the form of kiosks. In its most advanced form, it may augment or even replace if non-functional, the person's natural senses.

For example, sub-retinal displays that augment natural vision, or provide eyesight to those who otherwise have none.

This technology is already here, or almost here. Some fine details of some aspects still have to be worked out, but by and large we have everything necessary for basic augmented reality.

So why is augmented reality interfacing not truly with us yet?

The Human Beasts

The human element is the main stopping point for augmented reality technologies. Humans are not really that civilised in general. Civilisation is imposed on most, by society. Taken out of society's constraints, or drunk, or high, or simply angry, the average street passer-by becomes in essence, a wild animal. They are going to break things, whatever they can grasp.

This is why the augmented reality systems found in public areas in most countries, are built like fortresses. Simple technologies are used, as they are cheapest and easiest to replace. Devices are usually wrapped in stainless steel or concrete, all possible areas of attack covered, protected, or watched by CCTV.

They will be destroyed, vandalised, taken out for no reason at all, by many members of the general public when under the influence of one substance or another; when inhibitions are removed.

It is for this reason more than any other, that the deployment of wireless networking, sensor webs, and augmented reality sensory systems for general public use, is moving so slowly; any new technological system deployed, has to prove it is capable of withstanding multiple attacks by, in essence, wild beasts.

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