Augmented Reality Can Bring Us Closer Together
Tom Spendlove posted on March 23, 2016 | 7472 views

Meron Gribertz was in a bar near Columbia University when his design philosophy was forever changed. During an in-depth conversation with a friend the friend's phone rang and Meron noticed the communication was immediately lessened. Across the bar, however, a group of people were looking at a phone and laughing at the pictures and videos displayed on it. This led Gribertz to the theory that the technology wasn't the problem - people could be pulled closer or pushed apart based on whether they inhabited the same side or different sides of the screen.

Gribertz says that tools should extend our bodies, and computers don't necessarily do that because we hunch over a screen alone instead of using the screens to project ourselves. His augmented reality headset, Meta 2, is his solution to use technology to project himself outward to others. The headset projects a hologram in front of the user but the hologram can be manipulated by the user's hands.

Architects can use the headset to lay out buildings in three dimensional space, and neuroscience students can learn brain structures by having a fully realized model in front of them. Artists and storytellers will also be able to incorporate augmented reality into their work, and I'm assuming that advertisers will be among the first to incorporate the technology.

When designing the Meta 2 Gribertz and his team tried to find the Neural Path of Least Resistance, to make a system that comes without a learning curve and would seem instantly familiar to a user. He discusses three guidelines; first that the user is the operating system, next is the idea that we touch to see things, and finally the idea that we can connect with others if we can see their hands and faces during the augmented reality experience.

TED 2016 was the debut of the Meta 2 headset, and the demonstration included a GoPro camera in the headset so the audience could see what Meron was seeing during the presentation. Gribertz hopes that augmented reality can replace phones in the next decade, and also pledged that by the 2017 TED conference that his entire company would evolve past external monitors and only use headsets for their computing needs.

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