Look, Listen, Walk
“Augmented reality” researchers are using location-aware handhelds to change the way we experience the world around us.
By Henry Jenkins
April 2, 2004
You’ve seen them. Maybe you’re one of them. They’re the zombies of the New Media Era: the unthinking, the unseeing, the undead. They are all around us.
The man who sits on the subway, his headphones obscuring his hearing, so closed off from the people next to him that he starts singing out loud.
The woman talking on her cell phone walking down the street, her eyes half shut, her thoughts miles away, until she sinks up to her ankles in a puddle of melting snow.
The man in the coffee shop who has his laptop screen up more to shield himself from having to engage in conversation with amiable strangers than to get any work done.
The person driving home from work who gets so wrapped up in the chatter of talk radio that he doesn’t notice when he drives past his exit.
These people are using mobile technology to cut themselves off from the world.
What if we could use these same technologies to engage with the world more fully? That’s a goal of research and experimentation in “augmented reality.”