Another reason why I wanted to sprinkle some mixed reality around this neighborhood: all those futuristic technologies I've been talking about -- AR, VR, IoT -- are still trying to claw their way out of Swamp Vaporware.
So it's a legitimate question: Is this all BS or what?
Ironically, the worst people to ask are the folks who are already deep into these technologies. They're already committed and conflicted. For them, it's already a career choice.
I've seen this phenom up close as a journalist, and it can get opaque. The insiders are in too deep. The skeptics are often just as committed to the current paradigm, or simply ill-informed. So... declare a tie? Try to play it right down the middle?
Not this time. I wanted to try these technologies out for myself. Take some of them out for a spin -- to see if they enable something truly fresh and illuminating.
It helps that it's gotten easier to access the required tools: open source software is free, the electronic hardware it runs on is cheap from China; and the DIY and Maker movements are telling us that reasonable people with the patience to watch the right YouTube tutorials can put it all this stuff together. (FYI: the lead illustration for this post is maker related; that's why I used it. It's El Pulpo Mecanico, which graced a Maker Faire Bay Area I worked -- I think it was in 2014.)
My plan: to actually assemble something mixed reality-ish and try it out in real life. Something with actual silicon chips, and code, a little bit of electricity, and the internet.
This last ingredient is crucial: particularly the how-to content and services, which I will need. Fortunately it's an info buyer's market.
We all know that the internet has started to suck politically, and socially, and privacy-ly, but when you want to learn how to do something -- it's still awesome, getting awesomer even.
Maybe there really isn't any there there in mixed reality, but I don't want to take someone else's word for it. And I don't have to. Because it's now possible for a journalist to break out some technology and design a test or a prototype.
So watch my back, I'm going in! I'm starting to assemble a mixed reality hardware and software toolkit.
My first purchase: a brain.