As a journalist I get asked all too frequently what I think of this ‘3D rubbish’. The statement is then normally qualified with ‘well, I know it takes a lot in the box office,’ and then I’m looked at expectantly like I’m suddenly going to drop some amazing secret or share my wisdom on what the next big thing to replace the ‘3D phenomena’ is.
I got rather sick of trying to explain that 3D probably wasn’t going anywhere and that the main reason people get frustrated by 3D was the WAY they had to view it, as both anaglyph and active shutter glasses require -you got it, glasses. Then there are the EXTREMELY PRICEY TV’s that require no specs, but hey, you can only view them from a really small field of vision, so that’s not too helpful now.
Having given this topic a rather huge amount of thought, I’ve now come up with what I feel is a reasonable, if vaguely Matrixy conclusion.
It’s the glasses folks. It’s not about replacing them, it’s about creating some which become so essential to everyday life that they’re part of the shower and shave routine- wake, teeth, glasses, breakfast.
Currently we already have the Vuzix glasses which superimpose films over reality and allow you to walk down the street with Google maps in front of your eyes, superimposed over the landscape- and they also let you watch films whilst doing so. We also have motion control technology which allows you to use your body as a remote in order to operate devices and enter buildings, something which has recently become more mainstream with the launch of Kinect for Xbox…
Next up there’s augmented reality which is getting better all the time, superimposing multiple data feeds over each other to allow for a more enriching experience. News has leaked that Chanel and Gucci are getting involved in designing some glasses so soon they will no longer just be ugly things on your face, they will have status and attraction.
But how do I think glasses like this will work in the market, and what do I think they will do?
Schools my friend. Those out of the education system and without children may not have realized quite how far technology in schools has come, from electronic whiteboards, to streaming video widgets and how a) kids are already familiar with all types of tools and b) how useful something like this might be in schools.
Classroom bullying will never go away, as whether it’s picking on someone because they’re another colour, have worse clothes, or have a rubbish car- this can never really be stamped out. Being a four eyes need not be an issue anymore, as the specs I’m envisaging also double as Rx glasses for those who are in need- quite a large percentage of the population.
Imagine this, a class full of uninterested 8 year olds with specs on, and you’re a history teacher. Want to wake them up- Click and a T-Rex is attacking them. Want to share the wonders of the dessert- sweep them through National Geographic trails. Homework can be streamed to each headsets portal, notes to parents will be picked up when they log in at mornings roll call, and safety issues can be monitored whilst they’re below a certain age.
I’m clearly on the right track here, as a mere two days ago, Real ID notified the press that they were starting to ship glasses designed for younger people– kids of 8 years and under, so they’d have a more comfortable cinema experience. It’s a small step, but it does validate my theory that companies are aware that kids are the market who will grow up with 3D as norm, and expect more from it than adults.
This is 3D -but MORE. Stop being limited by the concept of 3D on its own and start to envisage it as part of a larger landscape where adverts in store windows leap out at you, you can virtually try on outfits in stores and you can check your emails with a flicker of your eyeball as you walk down streets. You already tweet/Facebook when you walk, so why not via glasses rather than a mobile phone interface?
This is the next level of interacting and though it may be rather futuristic I could honestly see how it could occur. First, a slow roll out in schools, a limited number of ugly prototypes, then some fashion houses providing them to richer adults, then NHS level basic versions, and so on and so forth. We can’t afford to forget 3D, we just need to work out how to embrace it more plausibly, and I feel that this is how.
Unless holograph technology or teleportation suddenly appears on the scene, I sincerely think that 3D is the future, just in a different way than envisaged.