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Augmented Human by Helen Papagiannis

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Chapter 2. Seeing the World Anew

We are at the beginning of a massive change in how we see and experience reality. Computer vision, machine learning, new types of cameras, sensors, and wearable devices are extending human perception in extraordinary ways. Augmented Reality (AR) is giving us new eyes.

AR’s evolution as a new communications medium is rooted in the history of the moving image and early cinema. In 1929, pioneering filmmaker Dziga Vertov wrote about the power of the camera to depict a new reality, “I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, show you the world as only I can see it.” Vertov’s famous film Man with a Movie Camera used innovative camera angles and techniques to defy the limitations of human vision.

Vertov experimented with novel vantage points (such as filming from moving vehicles like a motorcycle, to placing a camera on the train tracks while a train passed overhead). He also explored a new sense of time and space by superimposing images and speeding up and slowing down film. Vertov used the emerging technology of the mechanical camera to extend the capabilities of the human eye and create new ways of seeing. He wrote, “My path leads to the creation of a fresh perspective of the world. I decipher in a new way a world unknown to you.”

Nearly a century later, Vertov’s path has led us to AR revealing a new reality and understanding of our world. The camera plays a central role in how AR technology traditionally works: a camera is paired with computer vision to ...

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