We need a magic leap for the other senses

Good friend Dave mentioned Magic Leap and sent me a link to how it may work. I had a read and although it was a reasonable read, I was less impressed than I maybe should have been. I get Magic Leap is the thing lots of people are getting a little moist about, its seems incredible but I share a small amount of the view-point of the blogger..

Regardless if it turns out to be a consumer success or not, this is the first example of real innovation the tech industry has seen in some time. I am extremely excited to see what happens next for them and looking forward to the shake up this will put on the industry in general.

To be clear, I’m not down on Magic Leap, it is innovative but its more of the same. I only really interested in disruption right now. Something the tech industry needs (imho).

I already mentioned my thoughts about mixed reality and it hinges off the fact it’s not just visual and audible. I draw your attention to the interaction design rant (Touch), Smell and media (Smell) and of course the deeply problematic (Taste).

This paper‘s summary, sums up my thoughts, I feel…

The senses we call upon when interacting with technology are very restricted. We mostly rely on vision and audition, increasingly harnessing touch, whilst taste and smell remain largely underexploited. In spite of our current knowledge about sensory systems and sensory devices, the biggest stumbling block for progress concerns the need for a deeper understanding of people’s multisensory experiences in HCI. It is essential to determine what tactile, gustatory, and olfactory experiences we can design for, and how we can meaningfully stimulate such experiences when interacting with technology. Importantly, we need to determine the contribution of the different senses along with their interactions in order to design more effective and engaging digital multisensory experiences. Finally, it is vital to understand what the limitations are that come into play when users need to monitor more than one sense at a time.

Being able to drive and combine all these things together (even in a basic way – multisensory) has the potential to be far more exciting and immersive than Magic leap could even dream about. And its happening in dark and acdemic corners (I was maybe more excited by the vibrate API draft than learning about how magic leap may work – sad, who knows?). I’m sure they might be thinking the same but the fascination of the tech industry is on higher density A/V. Multisensory is moon shot. Being able to drive these on demand in an ethical, sustainable and contextual way is something I think a lot about with Perceptive Media. Being able to enable anyone to create their own experiences to share is the next thing.

Author: cubicgarden

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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