augmented wha?!? huh?!?

Posted by Pall Thayer | Fri Apr 18th 2008 8:54 p.m.

Is this the new "buzz word"? I think I've encountered this term at least 4 times just today. Augmented reality. Can anyone tell me what "augmented reality" is? I think you should begin by explaining what reality is. Then you can move on to "augmented" reality. But I have a couple of questions first, if augmented reality is something that goes somehow beyond "reality" (as the terminology suggests) then what does it have to do with reality? The way I see it if reality is "augmented" in any way, then it ceases to be reality. Any comments on this?

best r.
  • mez breeze | Fri Apr 18th 2008 9:34 p.m.
    Morning Pall.

    I'm nor sure regarding the "buzzness" factor of the term _Augment_ as I'm not really in any of the scenic circles that create buzz-worthy terms? In terms of a working definition [from Wikipedia]:

    "Augmented reality is an environment that includes both virtual reality and real-world elements. For instance, an AR user might wear translucent goggles; through these, he could see the real world, as well as computer-generated images projected on top of that world. Azuma defines an augmented reality system as one that

    * combines real and virtual,
    * is interactive in real-time,
    * is registered in three dimensions."

    This definition isn't stock-standard-applicable In terms of the _Augmentology 1[L]0[L]1_ project, due to it being an aggregational attempt to establish a hybrid discipline via discussions concerning the formation of synthetic environments. Augmentology doesn't attempt to "go beyond" phenomenological definitions of what constitutes _Reality_; rather to offer a spectrum along which various manifestations of Reality (eg [Geophysical]<-------[Cartesian]--------[Mixed]-------->[Synthetic]) occur?

  • Pall Thayer | Sat Apr 19th 2008 7:50 a.m.
    Good morning Mez,
    I guess I was being slightly facetious but I wasn't trying to pass judgement on any specific project. Just toying around with the terminology. I find it sort of funny when a specific term all of the sudden shows up in a number of places simultaneously. It's also funny that, in the computer world, there appears to be this need to tag the term "reality" to everything. The Augmentology project doesn't do that and I really like that word. Has a nice ring to it. But the other cases I saw of "augmented" were combined with "reality."

    If you really think about it reality either is or it isn't. It can't be virtual or augmented because anything you do to it becomes part of that reality. But again, I'm just nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking.

    All other issues aside, I'll watch the Augmentology project with interest. The addiction article already seems to be pulling in some interesting comments.

    best r.
  • Vijay Pattisapu | Sat Apr 19th 2008 11:50 a.m.

    Can you explain this


    spectrum a little more?

  • mez breeze | Sat Apr 19th 2008 8:46 p.m.
    Hiya Pall, Vijay, All.

    Pall, I understand completely re tagging "hot" terminology as band-wagonish. I do think there's a distinction to be made when it comes to adopting a term because of buzz-worthiness alone vs a type of info_emergence - always a difficult thing to discern when the art-scene is involved;)

    Also, thx for your interest in _Augmentology 1[L]0[L]1_. + Yes, it has been generating brilliant comments thus far. I'm assessing whether it may be feasible to create a glossary based on contributions. This may be too much of a top-down linear approach, however, which could break the aggregative intention. I'm curious to see how Academia/Institutions react to it, given the fact the Acknowledgement/Referential system lies outside a Canonistic framework.

    Regarding your comment: "If you really think about it reality either is or it isn't. It can't be virtual or augmented because anything you do to it becomes part of that reality.": I'd beg to differ here, and this is where I see a spectrum approach as relevant. I do understand that _Reality_ as a standardised concept [ie ego-mediated/primary consciousness/physically-grounded/phenomenological] is well established but I suspect attempts at polarising it as all-encompassing via a "is or isn't" approach may become less helpful in the future. This could be a simple semantics issue, though:)

    I do think _Reality_ will become an increasingly elastic concept in light of a increasing acknowledgment of primary networked interaction/communication. This is where your question comes in Vijay.......

    In terms of giving a definitive explanation of The Reality Spectrum I alluded to above ([Geophysical]<-------[Cartesian]--------[Mixed]-------->[Synthetic]) I'm clueless [:)] as this concept is only "In Beta" [oo now *thats* a buzz-phrase;)] and will be expanded in the next _Augmentology 1[L]0[L]1_ entry [to do with the construction of a Geo-Specificity Complex and (perhaps) Augmented States of Consciousness]. For now tho I can say that the Spectrum idea seems plausible given the shifting bases of attentional focus required to navigate layered states of technological-reliant consciousness?

  • James | Wed Apr 23rd 2008 3:59 a.m.
    I have a tendency to react negatively when I see buzzwords. I put augmented reality in the same box as constructed reality, or synthetic, though I see it as much more purposeful if not specifically intentional.

    Certainly all of it (Virtual World, Augmented Reality, etc) is a subset of reality, it would be very difficult to discuss it otherwise, but doesn't that discussion lead us down the path of philosophy or metaphysics?
  • Steven Read | Wed Apr 23rd 2008 4:34 p.m.
    You are all guilty of fetishizing the augmented resurgence of virtual rematerialization in the contemporary art world.
  • Erika Lincoln | Thu Apr 24th 2008 2:39 p.m.
    Pall, Vijay, and Mez
    Is a sign, posted on a path, which either gives directions or announces something an instance of augmented reality?
  • Pall Thayer | Fri Apr 25th 2008 1:49 p.m.
    If the sign looks anything like this:

    I would feel compelled to call it "logmented reality."
  • Erika Lincoln | Fri Apr 25th 2008 1:57 p.m.

    Two peanuts walk into a bar, one was a-salted.
  • Steven Read | Fri Apr 25th 2008 2:07 p.m.
    logmented reality" - that's good!
  • mez breeze | Sat Apr 26th 2008 7:57 p.m.
    Hiya Vijay, Erika, Oall, Steve + All:)

    Vijay: the below is an extract from the latest post. Thought it may help answer the question u posed [+ I politely side\_stepped;)] previously:

    ""...The \_afk\_ concept demonstrates the murkiness of establishing reality gradations when considering synthetic environments. Paul Milgram suggested the Reality-Virtuality Continuum as a type of linear reality scale where at one end lies Geophysical Reality [”The Real Environment”] and the opposite end houses the Virtual. In-between lies an area defined as Mixed Reality: a mixture of augmented virtuality and the corporeal.

    This Reality-Virtuality Continuum as such offers a vectored compartmentalisation of reality within scientific confines. An elastic, contemporized version of this Continuum might read:


    …with each mode spawning distinct “swarmic variables” or “notional massing”. Conditional examples of such masses/variables are:

    [Synthetic] = Avatar Fluctuations / Non-Player Character Annexing / Auxiliary Proprieception / Networked Socialisation

    [Mixed] = Layered Attention / Identity Extensions / Augmented States of Consciousness / Multiple Theories-of-Mind[s]

    [Cartesian] = Euclidian / Non-Euclidian / Human Area Networks / Dimensional Consciousness

    [Geophysical] = Primary Consciousness / Ego-Mediation / Geospecificity / Geolocation

    These masses could parallel volume [in the audio sense] in terms of measurement and production of reality clusters that map and mix composite modes simultaneously. For instance, the phenomena of Geocaching or mobile gaming such as \_Parallel Kingdom\_ which: “brings new meaning to Role Playing Games by using GPS to place the virtual world on top of the real world“...."


  • James | Mon Apr 28th 2008 5:59 a.m.

    what are the red dots??
  • MANIK | Mon Apr 28th 2008 7:27 a.m.
    MANIK,APRIL 2008.
  • Vijay Pattisapu | Mon Apr 28th 2008 12:52 p.m.

    Your structures are interesting, and perhaps demand more BNFish unpacking, but discussions of the "virtual" vs. the "geophysical" appear as semantic legerdemain of the old Western problem of "Man" vs. "Nature" (or even, by extension, the Eastern problem of Purusha vs. Prakriti, but that's for another post).

    Even if it the notion were hedged into a continuum, I thought we were past the man / nature dichotomy in terms of thinking of certain things as “natural” (or “geophysical,” which afaict says the same thing) and others as “artificial” (or “augmented,” which afaict says the same thing).

    So much of the poverty of Mao's thought was due to seeing the world as an irreparable contradiction in these terms, an endless struggle between Man and Nature, mediated, inter alia, by the State (e.g., “re-education”). Maybe the Moderns thought much of MAN (and hence MACHINE and STATE), but in these biotechy days, are we epistemically emphasizing the difference between man and nature, or the sameness?

    I hope people don't make the same mistake with virtuality, thinking it's some unprecedented human condition.

    Explain the social relevance and/or utility of calling something “artificial” in the first place. Only then does discussing gradations of “augmentation” make sense. I think this would help especially with the extreme ends of your spectrum, which are not as pure (absolutely or relatively) as you've graphed them to be.

  • mez breeze | Mon May 5th 2008 1:02 a.m.
    Hi Again Vijay,

    The abovementioned structures [especially the swarm variables/masses associated] will indeed be unpacked in future entries. + Agreed regarding the frustrations of the plural.

    Where you're questioning the validity of nominating objects/states as artificial, I'm afraid I can't help you - artificiality doesn't factor highly here, wheras syntheticism does. In terms of pinpointing the ends of the spectrum, agreed again that they are definitely *not* [intended to be viewed as] concrete. I'm not at all advocating information rigidity in any of the augmentology inputs. For instance, the latest augmentology entry is a case Study of a gamer who displays various states of "Afkism". I authorially peg those states as _hard_ + soft, but a switched on absorber will notice that this dichotomy is deliberately false.


    • Vijay Pattisapu | Mon May 12th 2008 12:17 a.m.
      true, mez..I can see diff(artificial, synthetic) .. made vs. put-together may not be ontologically separate categories but we sure perceive them differently enough to care
    • Vijay Pattisapu | Mon May 12th 2008 12:24 a.m.
      Also, I like this idea of "Afkism." I'd say more but I should probably chew on this during my biobreak.
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