Year of the Technology Tiger

My first post in 2010. Since it is already February, and the start of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year… I wish everybody a Xin nian kuai le!

2010 is the Year of the Tiger, which is associated with good fortune, power, and royalty. The Tiger is viewed with both fear and respect; hence, their protection and wisdom is sought after. Some Chinese Zodiac forcasts say that drama, intensity, change and travel will be keywords for 2010. The Year of the Tiger will bring far reaching changes for everyone. New inventions and incredible technological advances have a good chance of occurring. Everything happens quickly and dramatically in a Tiger year – blink and you could miss an important chance of a lifetime!

Predictions of dramatic change and technological advances seem to come true on a daily basis these days. Our future is happening at an accellerated rate. In futures studies and the history of technology, accelerating change is an increase in the rate of technological (and sometimes social and cultural) progress throughout history, which may suggest faster and more profound change in the near future.

I can’t help but think of Ray Kurzweil and his essay on the Law of Accelerating Returns, which implies that a technological singularity will occur before the end of the 21st century.

The essay begins:

“An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense ‘intuitive linear’ view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The ‘returns,’ such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to the Singularity—technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.”

Conscider this… So far in the month of February (in the past 2 weeks), we have seen headlines like this (just Google them):

– Scientists develop universal DNA reader to advance faster, cheaper sequencing efforts
– Microsoft adds ‘Augmented Reality’ to Bing Maps
– Boring conversation? Let your computer listen for you
– Researchers Develop Nanofiber-Based Technology to Make Energy-Efficient Lighting
– Wi-Fi at the Speed of Light
– Google Ultrafast Broadband May Shake Up Fiber Market
– Researchers develop ‘lab on a chip’ that detects viruses
– Google leaps language barrier with translator phone
– An Early Warning System for Cancer
– Scientists identify first genetic variant linked to biological aging in humans
– First germanium laser brings us closer to ‘optical computers’
– NASA, GM team up to build robotic astronauts
– ‘Nanobubbles’ kill cancer cells
– Physicist Discovers How to Teleport Energy
– Multitouch ‘Skin’ Transforms Surfaces Into Interactive Screens
– Spray-on liquid glass is about to revolutionize almost everything
– Researchers perform complete genomic sequencing of brain cancer cell line

Phew!

So… as we kick off the year of 2010; one associated with Tiger-like qualities of intensity and change… I can only imagine we are in for a wild ride, especially when it comes to advancements in technology. Let’s be sure to harness this energy and power for positive world change. If we dont, it just might bite us in the ass!

Projection Mapping

As I focus on Augmented Reality, I continue to be fascinated and inspired by the notion of transforming common landscapes into art and entertainment. Some of the best reference for this can be found in projection mapping.

There have been some amazing projects that truly inspire the creative possibilities, and serve as examples for what Augmented Reality will eventually allow us to experiences at any time. When it comes to transforming every-day environments and buildings into works of art, this is a great place to look for creative ideas. Virtual lighting, 3D augmentation and distortion, edge highlighting, surface painting… it’s all here.

If you are interested in bringing these types of experiences to Los Angeles; if you have the equipment to pull this off; and/or if you know of great buildings/locations that can be made available to be used as a backdrop for a Projector-Mapping festival of sorts, please contact me. I am hoping to set up an event for sometime in 2010.

The following are a few of my current favorite examples (make sure your volume is up!)…


How would it look if a house were dreaming?
Production by Urban Screen


Private festival in the North East of England
Production by The Darkroom


Battle of Branchage @ Branchage Film Festival 2009
Production by Seeper


El Jardí theater building i
Production by: Palnoise

Humanity+ Summit 2009

I will be speaking at the Humanity+ Summit this Sunday, December 6th on the subject of Augmented Reality, and how to make sure we use AR to get to an awesome future!

The H+ Summit (Organized by Humanity +) is a two day, interactive event that will explore how humanity will be radically changed by technology in the (possibly quite near) future. Over 30 visionary speakers will explore how to enhance your body, mind, life, and world…

What is going to be like to be a human in this next phase of technological progress? How can we get our heads around it so when it arrives we’re best prepared to deal with it?

We foresee the feasibility of redesigning the human condition, including such parameters as the inevitability of aging, limitations on human and artificial intellects, unchosen psychology, suffering, and our confinement to the planet earth. The possibilities are tremendously broad and exciting — and the H+ Summit will provide a venue to discuss them with like-minded individuals, and hear exciting presentations by the leaders of the ongoing H+ r/evolution.

The Summit will be held at EON Reality, Inc. – The world’s leading interactive 3D visual content management and Virtual Reality software provider.

It should be fun, I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone there.

For more on the event and a list of speakers, check out http://hplus.eventbrite.com/

Prime-Time for Augmented Reality

A recent AdAge artilce, starts off with the following question – Is augmented reality ready for prime-time?

Twentieth Century Fox, Coke and McDonalds are about to test the emerging technology’s mettle as a marketing tool to promote the Dec. 18 release of “Avatar,” the first live-action movie to be produced and released entirely in stereoscopic 3-D.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to go to lunch with the guys at Total Immersion responsibile for the Avatar AR campaign, Bruno Uzzan and Greg Davis. At their office, I got a sneak peek at the AR enhanced AVTR Coke can, and checked out the Avatar Mattel Toys and i-Tag’s too. Clearly, the Avatar AR campaign is a significant milestone in what is truly the dawn of AR marketing.

The AdAge article asked – Will Efforts by Coke, McDonald’s to Plug Fox’s Much-Anticipated Movie Finally Take Nascent Tech Mainstream?

I respond to this question with the following comments…

I am excited to see this campaign come to life, and believe it represents the dawn of AR marketing in a big way… highlighting how mega brands and products will come to life with added engagement, and rich-media to further enhance the customer experience.

Today’s webcam campaigns are clearly more about the wow-factor of triggering holographic-like animations off of an everyday item. As we quickly move from glyph-like codes (i.e Esquire mag) to natural feature tracking (i.e branded logos). The evolution of hardware and software will only lead to more robust, compelling and informative marketing campaigns. And mobile… will change everything!

The power of mobile AR will truly revolutionize how marketing is done. Smartphones can be used to unlock a deeper / hidden layer of content tied to the people, places and things all around us. The power and potential of that cannot be denied. We are just getting started with AR marketing.

So, will efforts by Coke, McDonalds to plug Avatar take nascent tech mainstream? Absolutely! I would argue that these mega-brands and franchises are not rolling the dice on AR technology, but rather understand where this technology is headed, and the power that it brings. We should look to these mainstreams brands to realize the right time to step in is now.

My UgoTrade.com Interview (Augmented Hollywood)

Picture 3I was interviewed a couple weeks back by Tish Shute for her UgoTrade.com blog. Tish is a very strong supporter and voice for our burgeoning Augmented Reality Industry. She has been doing a series of feature interviews lately with all the major companies in the AR space. If you are new to AR, I highly recommend diving into UgoTrade for a truly inside perspective on things.

As for my interview, we spoke about AR from a bit of a Hollywood angle. Since I have been in a lot of studio meetings lately for Ogmento, touting our mobile Augmented Reality services, I shared a bit of insight on things from that perspective.

Here is an excerpt:

Brian Selzer: Hollywood creatives caught the AR bug before they knew what AR was. Look at science fiction movies and video games to see AR everywhere. Terminator, The Matrix, Minority Report, Iron Man.. the list goes on. Look at any video game with an integrated heads-up display. It’s clear Hollywood loves AR. It’s only been in the past few months though that the light bulb has been lit and Hollywood is seeing that the software and hardware are here today to deliver these types of AR experiences in real life (to a lesser extent of course, but the path is getting clear). So yes, the buzz is here and it’s strong. With that, we all have to be prepared for the good, the bad and the ugly as AR goes mainstream.

It certainly goes to show how young this industry is when Ogmento and Total Immersion are currently the only AR companies based in Los Angeles. It’s very exciting to be the only company right now demonstrating a natural feature tracking (markerless) iPhone experience in Hollywood. We are in talks to bring some very big brand and properties to the mobile AR space. The goal is to deliver experiences that create added engagement and value to the consumer.

For much more, check out – Games, Goggles, and Going Hollywood…How AR is Changing the Entertainment Landscape: Talking with Brian Selzer, Ogmento

My Wired.com Interview

wired_logo

Wired.com interviewed me the other day on the subject of Augmented Reality.

Here is the article, which is currently the featured story on the site. – “If You’re Not Seeing Data, You’re Not Seeing.”

Being a huge Wired fan since the inception of the magazine it was a thrill to be directly contacted by them for my perspective on the dawn of the AR industry. I was asked specifically about the product mix focus for Ogmento, so I hinted at the fact that we are in talks to create mobile marketing campaigns around some major movies and toy lines.

I was slightly miss-quoted on the comment “In 2010 every blockbuster movie is going to have a mobile AR campaign tied to it.” I am not in the position to speak for “every” big movie marketing campaign, but I did share that all of the major movie studios we have met with love the possibilities of mobile AR. It is certain we will see a lot happening in the movie marketing space by end of year and into next.

The Legacy of Tron and Syd

There are a just a handful of movies that truly influenced me in life and are simply part of my DNA. Tron is one of those movies.

The visual impact of Tron and its computer-generated worlds drove me to take computer graphic classes, and ultimately end up working in the fields of comic books, video games, digital media and virtual worlds.

Now, over 25 years later, I’m thrilled to be watching this new footage from Tron: Legacy. The look-and-feel seems nostalgic and retro, yet modern and updated at the same time.

I can’t post about Tron without giving a bit shout out to Syd Mead for being such a rock star conceptual artist. Many of my all time favorite movies have his signature on them (Tron, Blade Runner, Aliens, 2001…).

Here is a nice video on the art and life of Syd Mead! A true visionary who I had the privilage of meeting at last years Comic Con.