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The Augmented Future

Tish Shute, an old blog acquaintance, is a peerless interviewer of virtual world types on her excellent blog UgoTrade. Her latest post is an interview with Robert Rice, CEO of augmented reality pioneers Neogence. For those stumped by what AR is, it is defined by leading researcher Ronald Azuma as technologies "in which 3-D virtual objects are integrated into a 3-D real environment in real time" [pdf]. During the course of the interview, Rice recommends the following novels as inspiration for his work:

* Dream Park - Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
* Rainbows End - Vernor Vinge
* Spook Country - William Gibson
* Halting State - Charles Stross
* The Diamond Age - Neal Stephenson
* Donnerjack - Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold
* Otherland - Tad Williams
* Neuromancer - William Gibson
* Idoru - Wiliam Gibson
* Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson

That's an excellent set of authors, all of whom I've read, although I've only read four of the novels listed. Of those, I would say that Idoru is the most elegant, and I'd put another Gibson work, Virtual Light, on the list too.

AR has the potential to change the way we view the world, how we experience space. Enthusiasts for this emerging tech are quick to point out that screen-mediated virtual reality does not mask the world, but augments our literal and metaphorical vision of it. Tish's post quotes Will Wright, über-designer of The Sims and the rather wonderful Spore, when he said, "Games could increase our awareness of our immediate environment, rather than distract us from it.” Although AR is by no means the exclusive preserve of gaming, Wright is correct, I think, in his assessment.

Rice also recommends anime Denno Coil, which CTlab presents for you here:

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