AR first – a new design paradigm?

toukokuu 29, 2017 // Erdem Tutal

Erdem Tutal is a service designer, who is originally from Turkey, now working at Linja’s head office in Ruoholahti. He joined one of the most interesting projects Linja has ongoing, it is a hot head-up display case for a company called NUVIZ. There was an interesting discussion at the office about the project and that led to wild speculations about the future and a next design paradigm.

Head-up displays (HUDs) project additional information in user’s line of sight as an overlay, so that he does not have to look down to a dashboard-like instrument to get the needed information (hence the name head-up). They were initially developed for military aviation, since taking eyes off of what is important could be fatal. Nowadays they are becoming increasingly common, and being used in several different professional domains. Together with NUVIZ, we designed the first fully-integrated head-up display product for motorcycle riders. Thanks to this exciting project, we had a great opportunity to further study augmented reality (AR) in this era of connectivity. Read more about the NUVIZ case.

 

Designing a HUD

 

Linja has 30 years of experience of designing for the Finnish industry, and has been closely involved in its progression. This gives us a unique opportunity to predict the direction industry is headed towards, and what are the areas that are likely to have significant impact in this process. Needless to say, augmented reality is one of them. Let alone having the potential to positively disrupt the industry, solutions that came with it can already be implemented.

New advancements usually happen for the consumers first, but this time industry has all the elements in place already. – Erdem

We believe that the industry is ready for augmented reality first, because the prices of products and services that make use of augmented reality are still relatively high for an average consumer. In addition to that, its technology has limitations when it comes to hardware design. Therefore there is not yet much room for designing sleek and fashionable products, which is a prerequisite when it comes to consumer products.

Augmented reality has already been used in numerous enterprise applications for the purpose of:

  1. Data visualisation, right where the decision is happening
  2. Step by step work instructions
  3. On-site, in-context knowledge transfer
AR in service&maintenance example

EVOLUTION of INTERACTIONS

If we want to let our imaginations run wild, we can start bouncing ideas on how interactions will evolve in the future. Scientists are already studying how the mind can affect the body. So imagine that you can train your brain in a way that you can start perceiving certain wave lengths that you were not able to before. Of course, that leads to seeing interfaces all around you that are designed only on certain wave lengths, to enhance your everyday life… Ok ok, perhaps we are going a bit too far with this. But hey, where is the fun in dreaming of fishing in a small pond, instead of riding sharks in the ocean?

Imagine that you can train your brain in a way that you can start seeing certain wave lengths that you were not able to see before – Erdem

We have no doubt that augmented reality will very soon have much wider variety of application areas. Major technology companies are already thinking of ways to better serve for markets that can benefit from augmented reality solutions. For instance, Microsoft is revamping its design language, by paying close attention to elements that will better serve for augmented reality (fluent.microsoft.com/). In addition, rumor has it that the next iPhone will bring in augmented reality focused features as well.

 

Playing with HoloLens

As Microsoft’s Alex Kipman (inventor of HoloLens) argued, augmented reality can drastically change the way we interact with devices, possibly by removing screens altogether. He takes his argument even further and claim that “The phone is already dead”. After all, why have an intermediary device, that have a lot of limitations and restrictions, while you could have the same information overlaid right in front of your eyes. In parallel to that, we recently read about Neuralink, which is a neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk, aiming to develop “ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers” (www.neuralink.com). These are the kind of things that we could only see in sci-fi movies. How cool is that!

The phone is already dead – Alex Kipman

We have been actively participating in the discourse that underlines the importance of design as a discipline with less boundaries. That is mainly because we are well-aware that we as design practitioners have to provide more seamless and holistic experiences to be able to cater for our clients’ wide range of needs and expectations. Therefore, we are more than ready and tremendously excited to take up unique challenges that come with the advancements in AR and VR technologies, where the boundaries between real life and technology gets blurry.

Erdem