The Boring User Manuals version 2.0

[tweetmeme] A lot of applications for Augmented Reality are available in the market, in fact a lot of them are available for free and need not be purchased. But just like most new platforms it misses practical usages, at least at this early stage, and new applications are the ones that define how the success of the technology and platform performs.

Most user manuals are not very user friendly. They’re full of poorly written text and confusing diagrams which can really throw off people from reading them. Worse still, the gap between problem and solution is vast because we’re forced to apply a linear format to a specific question. There is no search box in manuals for a specific function.

But here’s an idea: What if instead of leafing through pages or scrolling through an online manual, you could simply see your way through a task? Just slide on a headset, hold your phone in front of you or extreme wear the Augmented Reality Lens and work your way through a bit of customized, augmented-reality education.

That’s what Columbia University computer science professor Steve Feiner and Ph.D. candidate Steve Henderson are trying to do with their Augmented Reality for Maintenance and Repair (ARMAR) project. They’re combining sensors, head-worn displays, and instruction to address the military’s maintenance needs. Take a look at this project video and you’ll quickly see how the same application could extend to all sorts of use cases:

The user can see five kinds of augmented content presented on the see-through head-worn display:

  1. Attention-directing information in the form of 3D and 2D arrows, explaining the location of the next task to perform.
  2. Text instructions describing the task and accompanying notes and warnings.
  3. Registered labels showing the location of each target component and surrounding context.
  4. A close-up view depicting a 3D virtual scene centered on the target at close range and rendered on a 2D screen-fixed panel.
  5. 3D models of tools (e.g. a screwdriver) and task domain components (e.g. fasteners or larger components), if applicable, registered at their current or target locations in the environment.

There are many day-to-day tasks in which consumers currently need to consult written or computer-based instructions. Think of assembling a bicycle or a piece of furniture, making a complex recipe, wiring a home entertainment center, or fixing a balky lawnmower. These are just some examples of tasks in which systems like ARMAR could make the task easier and faster to perform, and make it more likely that it’s performed correctly. Another Video below:

Dirty Facts … Some dirty infographics

[tweetmeme] Infographics are awesome, representing complicated information with just a few graphical representations. There are so many infographics online and there are lists of great infographics, all over the internet. But some designers are taking this a little too far, hilariously far. Imagine preparing an infographic for flatulance or poop for that matter. Well, interestingly I am presenting them here on my blog.

Lets start with a personal favorite : Using BIC pens to explain mostly everyone’s sexual orientation.

via [source and source]

Facts about Farts

via 9gag

Facts about Poop

via 9gag

More interesting (and useful) infographics lists here :

A brief History of everything in 3 Mins and 12 Secs

[tweetmeme] There are a few times when you are left speechless, this is one of them. I was completely left speechless how a 17 year old boy can explain a brief history of nearly everything within 3 Minutes and 12 Seconds. Check out the video below.

Honestly nothing else to say.

via [source ]

Star wars attack – starting with Dubai

Something straight of a science fiction movie, The Star wars world descending on the real world and into Dubai. It is the awesome vision of Artist Cedric Delsaux and his collection of images called Dark Lens Trilogy, showcasing the Star Wars descending on earth.

Cedric Delsaux lives and works in Paris, France. After studying cinematography and journalism, he worked as a bookseller and then as a conceptual-editor in an advertising agency. He has been a full-time photographer since 2003. Delsaux won the Kodak prize for landscapes and architecture with his “Star Wars on Earth” series in 2005, and has seen his career as an artist grow ever since. He has been selected to work on several large automobile advertising campaigns, including Volkswagen, Touareg, Peugeot, Renault Espace, Citroen, Skoda, Adrexo, EDF, Viking and SFR. Delsaux was also selected in the Luerzer’s Archive as one of the “200 Best Ad Photographers Worldwide” in 2006. Please visit his website here.

The exhibition of his awesome creations was held at the First Quarter – Fine Art Photography which is the only gallery in Dubai devoted exclusively to fine art photography and serving a rapidly growing membership of artists and photo enthusiasts. You can check out the First Quarter picture gallery and information here.

This valentines day try the 3D valentine's card

If you have been taking your time to write some of the posts of this blog, you might have noticed that I do like Augmented Reality a lot and the reality that this coming to life is an aspect that I am incredibly excited about. In this post I wanna look at some new commercial applications that are coming out.

First of all, a 3D greeting cards which have been adopted as a first by Hallmark. Yes the worldwide leader in greeting cards has taken on a step to combat the dip in sales because of eCards. Like the age old saying goes if you can’t beat them join them. Meaning that the cards now mash up the real world with the Virtual world, to create a one of a kind Augmented Reality Greeting card. The person receiving the card can visit www.hallmark.com/extra and follow the directions to be able to view a 3D animated feature by holding the greeting card up to the web camera. The technology breathes a digital life into the card. The animation tracks with the movement of the card, so no matter which way the card is moved, the animation will rotate along in full 3D. In many cards, various scenes appear as the card is turned in different angles in front of the webcam for a range of digital experiences.

It does makes a lot of sense to add content to a static piece of cardboard; this would imply that although you don’t need to give an ugly marker to a person, you still give a nice greeting. They can see the card through the webcam for additional content, however if they don’t have one, then definitely they have a greeting card.However, it would have been cooler if the application was accessible on the phone so that you can see the message when you receive it and don’t have to wait to get in front of a webcam. Anyway check out a demo of the greeting below :

Give it a try, maybe this valentines day you could give a special 3D card to your geeky girl / boy friend. The link for the Hallmark card is here.

The Monetary benefit of Energy Saving

Like most things in this world, people only take notice of positive ideas when money is involved. One of the roles as a team leader in a marketing company is to be able to convince people to use technology (especially one that we are promoting) to enhance their everyday lifestyles. Off late we as a company have seen a big push from the European / American product manufacturers to move in the direction of possible “Green” solutions.

I believe that in the recession anything that will save you money is a good darn investment to make. Or should I say investing in something that will give you a return on investment as soon as possible. Well how does one quantify such a thing. I was talking to Allen this morning, and he mentioned that he wanted to know the usage of electricity of his existing incandescent bulbs to check if it is worth making the change to CFL considering the cost of CFL vs Incandescent which is almost twice, at least here in Dubai that is the case. I do know that the price difference would be more in India. So moving on, in typical Allen style he asks for information regarding the tariff of the electricity. I used our faithful Google and got him the info that he needed.

After about half an hour he messaged back “AED 25 saving per month, will get changing right away !!”. I said wow, that was really sweet and then when I spoke to him, he mentioned about how he had got it and made a calculator on excel for this. This sparked off an idea of using Google Documents to make the same in a online spreadsheet such that people use it to check out their own electricity usage and see the difference it is going to make to their lives. Well the calculations are pretty simple and can be shown below :

KWH Usage of the bulb = ( No of Bulbs x No of hours they are used x wattage of the bulbs x no of days in the month ) / 1000

The electricity bill = KWH usage x Cost per kWh

Replacing the wattage of the incandescent bulb with the CFL (13W) will show a significant saving. As an example Allen has 15 Incandescent bulbs of 60 W and with 7 hours usage for 30 days the electricity bill with only the Bulbs at a fee of 24 fills per kWh gives AED 45/- as the bill. Consider the same with a 13 W CFL the bill is AED 9 /- a direct saving of about AED 35 or close or USD 10 per month.

Now that makes economic sense to change.

The Google Spreadsheet document is viewable at:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pIdcGlHXjKDBV2cXz0QK0QQ

Published on Apr 6, 2009 12:25:58 PM GMT+04:00

Mother Tongue

Throughout my use of the internet I have been surfing sites in English. Localization was not a big issue for me, as in I did not want Google in Hindi or to be able to blog in Hindi. Well they are beautiful features nevertheless, but then personally I do not find as much use of it. Maybe it’s just me, but then I can’t picture the next generation of vernacular based software developers and planners using any of our national languages to do the programming of the next gen software. Unlike countries like Russia or France or Hungary etc where people thrive on the vernaculars; India is a nation where the respectable person is only one who speaks English well. A person is regarded as well learned by the Metro Generation only if his English is good, no accent. Well I think we don’t think outside the box here in India.

I can confuse most people, when I am talking in my mother tongue cos its very rarely used. Well to tell you some interesting facts about the languages in India, Indian main languages are Hindi and English, But practically they are one of 800 Languages spoken in India and a total of 2000 Dialects exist for them. Out of the 28 states and 7 union territories, only 10 states and 3 union territories have Hindi as the principal official language. Every other state has its own regional language. And although I am from the state of Karnataka, my mother tongue is Konkani. The official language of Goa. It is so cos the name Konkani is derived from the region I am from originally called Konkan. And Konkan spans 3 states with different state languages. Confusing huh.

Anyway the Metrosexual personalities of people in India is driving the vernacular languages and people who speak vernacular languages to the side. Well that’s a bit more of the vernaculars digging their own graves, cos the commotions and strikes that all the antisocial elements conduct are under the veil of the vernaculars. Anyway, someday people will realize. But in the mean time the fact that the vernaculars are seen as outsiders is prompting more children to learn English more than any other language in India. At least so the metros, well there is only one issue with that. We are going to loose out on the language soon, in one or two generations we are going to be a complete mass of English speaking Indians and loose our vernacular individualities.

Konkani being my language is prompting me to take notice for the same reason. When I am thinking of the same thing, I am prompted to look at some options online. http://www.maaibhas.com/ ; http://www.daijiworld.com/, http://www.mangalorean.com/ and http://www.daijidubai.com/ are some of the options I looked at. But the most impressive for them, is the site called http://www.savemylanguage.org