Total Reality



We live in two different worlds: the real world, the one where, for instance, we walk, eat, and sleep, and the virtual one, where we share content, gather information, communicate. In the real world we directly interact with objects and people by using our body and our senses whereas, to access the virtual world, we need specific devices as computers and smartphones.

Practically, just like Alice, we need to pass through an invisible border represented by a technological looking-glass, that is, a digital display, to access the Web Wonderland. So, the two worlds are still separated. We can move content from a world to another, look at representations of the real world through the virtual one, as in Google Street, or access the virtual world through an object of the real one, as in Google TV, but we cannot live at the same time in both worlds.

But, what if we break that mirror and let the two worlds to completely superimpose? Is that possible? Well, we will always need a magic wand of sort to do it, that is, we need some intermediary mean to overlap worlds, but in my opinion the answer is: "yes, we can".

To tell the truth, we already began to do it. An example is augmented reality, that is, to superimpose graphics and texts to real-time images and videos of the real world. Another exemple are the projects intended to provide any objects with some intelligence in order to allow people to interact with them, as in smarter planet projects. Such examples demonstrate that to create a total reality, we need to implement two capabilities: transform every object in a potential interface to the virtual world, and give the possibility to manage any real object from the virtual world.

Such a concept already existed in domotics, that is, home automation. So, the concept is old but our society was not yet mature to implement it in such a way, but now we are ready. We have just to put together all the concepts and technologies of domotics, augmented reality, and smarter planet.

For example, we already have the technology to convert the windscreen of a car to an augmented reality device that is able to provide feedback to the driver in a specific situation. You are driving, maybe you are quite tired, and the distance from your car and the preceding one is getting shorter with respect your current speed: immediately the image of that car through the windscreen is surrounded by a red halo, signaling the potential danger. Quite easy, isn’t it?

Another example: we enter into a retail store. There are a lot of products on the shelves but, apart the price, there are really few data about each product and all shop assistants are currently busy. So we look at a specific product through the camera of our smartphone and that object comes to life. We can change its colour or apply several optional features, browse through technical specifications or access various sales promotions. Of course we could do that also by using our sunglasses or any other suitable device we own.

Having the virtual world overlapping the real one is just like to be able in every moment to access a parallel world, as in a fantasy or science-fiction movie: another dimension that is always available but visible only on demand. However, we can really speak of total reality when we can interact with that parallel dimension to operate on the real world too. And this is not the most visionary scenario: what about each object in real world being able to autonomously communicate with every other object through the virtual world?

For example, an ambulance that is urgently taking to hospital a serious casualty, might initially communicate the planned route to the traffic control to ensure it can find a green wave, and maintain a continuous communication with it in case it is necessary to change the way, so that it can arrives at its final destination as soon as possible.

We are just at the beginning of a new era, an exciting new adventure, that is, the Era of Total Reality. This is neither science-fiction nor rocket science: we can do it and we are already doing it. The only limit is our imagination.

Commenti (1) a «Total Reality»

  1. utente anonimo ha detto:

    definitely agreed.

    BTW it's funny that "domotics" is being talked as if it was a thing from the past while… it's still in the future

    Dario

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