The company HD Interactive released a video today of their augmented reality hangman game. They demonstrated the game at the Tampa Internet and Technology Summit 2009 and say they will release the game soon. They also say they will be releasing more AR games in the future.
Now, I’m going to be nice and assume they were showing their hangman game to an audience full of people that didn’t understand augmented reality. So if that was the case, then the demonstration showed how the basics of augmented reality worked.
However, since I want to help make sure augmented reality can connect with the general populous in a productive way, I’m going to use this AR game as an example. I’ll let you, gentle reader, guess if its going to be a good or bad example. Now for the video:
The question we must first ask when applying new technology to any problem is: “How will this new technology make my product better?”
Augmented reality has the potential to solve many complex and interesting problems. However, in the case of the video, I don’t think it will revolutionize the game of hangman anytime soon. While the game demonstrates the technology, it doesn’t improve the product itself. Voice commands, keyboards, mouse clicking or any other interface would work much better than shuffling through a stack of papers to find the letter you want.
Occasionally, I see articles titled something like: “When will I get my flying car?” The flying car is a perfectly good example of the economics of technology applied. Just like this game of AR hangman, the flying car does exist. It’s called a personal aircraft. The only problem is the initial costs are around $200,000 and yearly upkeep is $15,000. Not to mention the lack of convenient landing locations and the safety factor.
It’s not that flying cars don’t exist, it’s that they don’t get you from point A to point B better than your current car.
So when you’re working on an augmented reality application, try to ask if you’re doing it any better than its already been done. Otherwise you’ll be working on the augmented reality version of a flying car.