Frogdesign: Augmented reality devices would offer a new dimension in life – a virtual layer that could be used to “re-skin” the troubling outside world.
The future isn’t all rosy. Increasing pollution, overpopulation, poverty, and climate change – society’s impact on the earth is reaching a breaking point. And while we may work to slow the onset of these catastrophes, reversing them is no longer an option. The question becomes, how do we live with the troubles we’ve already caused?
We don’t wish to make any prophecies – but if we fail to do more to mitigate today’s cultural, climatic, and economic dangers, the future may not be a pleasant one. Natural disasters will become more frequent, society more stratified, diplomacy more volatile.
Technology can be used to combat this dangerous new environment – but also to escape from it. We already use mobile devices to provide on-demand escapism, channeling movies, music, and other distractions. Increased processing power and emerging technologies will enable holistic computing systems to be stored in wearable devices, providing a more immersive personal media experience. In a troubling future, these augmented reality devices would offer a new dimension – a virtual layer that could be used to “re-skin” the troubling outside world. A boundary between the wearer and the world around him, the device would become a sort of visual drug, used to make the world appear a better place – even if just for a moment.
The device itself acts as a mask between the user and the outside world, expressing the internality of the human-device interaction. It offers a physical distinction between those moving in the real world and those who are “plugged in” to their private dimensions, the world as they wish to see it.
The visual design casts the mask as a lifestyle product of the future, as it plays with a glaring, exaggerated coolness of the wearer. It gives an almost robotic appearance, and suggests a diversion from what we define today as “normal” physical human interaction.
Within the mask, smells, sounds, even air quality would be imitated to create a full sensory experience. The facial expressions of those wearing the device would be detected and projected onto personal avatars visible to others also living behind the shield of the mask.