Magic Leap today revealed a mixed reality headset that it believes reinvents the way people will interact with computers and reality. Unlike the opaque diver's masks of virtual reality – which replace the real world with a virtual one – Magic Leap's device, called Lightwear, resembles goggles, which you can see through as if you're wearing a special pair of glasses. The goggles are tethered to a powerful pocket-sized computer, called the Lightpack, and can inject life-like moving and reactive people, robots, spaceships – anything – into a person's view of the real world.
In the 25 years or so since I've been working on voice recognition projects, the technology has evolved a great deal. Today, all the major tech companies, from Apple to Google and beyond, are combining voice recognition with artificial intelligence software to create new platforms and interfaces for their users (think of Siri, Alexa or Cortana.) This kind of voice-activated innovation will continue to be important. But I believe a different technology will be even more significant: Augmented reality, or AR. Simply put, AR technology integrates virtual images and information with a user's real-world surroundings.
Technology advances not so much when it exhibits innovation, but when it becomes truly practical for everyday people. In 2016, we'll see an acceleration of that shift of technologies from the drawing board and geek-only curiosities to consumer devices that change our lives in ways small and big. Here are a handful of technologies that are on the cusp of major action in the coming year. For decades, artificial intelligence was a thing best understood by sci-fi fanatics and screenwriters. That started to change n 2011 with Apple's Siri voice assistant, but 2015 turned out to be a watershed year for computer algorithms that could ape human thought and interaction.
We present a computer vision and virtual reality application for cancer patients. Currently, visualization and imagery techniques are becoming a routine part of the treatment of the ill. Mounting evidence shows the effectiveness of using self-imagery to encourage the immune system to boost its effort to defend the body from disease. Furthermore, while stress has been shown to retard the immune system, relaxation has the opposite effect. To that end, we are developing a virtual reality visualization tool for cancer patients called Staying Alive.