I remember the first time I saw it.
Almost 5 years ago Brendan Scully walked into my room in the house we shared in college. I was trying desperately at the time to devise a most insidiously clever first tweet, which as I recall was something along the lines of “destabilize the discourse” (though Twitter itself belies these memories, I can assure you that was the original). Rudely, Brendan interrupted my most-important mission, demanding my attention.
(Interestingly enough, this would later become Brendan’s chosen icebreaker for nearly any conversation or situation. Standing in line in 2011 for what was to be a godawful post-WWDC party at the Roe, Brendan once proposed that we run up and down said line shouting, “AUGMENTED REALITY,” to “see what happens”.)
Brendan ushered me into his room, where he took print-out of a funny-looking bar code and displayed it in front of the webcam of his computer, only to have the object burst into a multi-colored 3-D animation of varying sizes of geometric shapes.
By today’s standards, the frame-rate was intolerable; the latency was more than noticeable.
It was beautiful.
That one moment was the first in a series of events that led myself (along with Brendan) to join Metaio. This was, in retrospect, not the first time I encountered AR: Bladerunner, Terminator, Predator, Minority Report, Iron Man, comics, science fiction novels, video games; as a society we had always manifested our dreams for technology in popular culture. And we will never lose sight of those dreams and expectations- it’s only a matter of time.
But in that moment, sitting in the only flat-roofed house in New Hampshire in a poorly-lighted room, the glow of the monitor illuminating our grinning faces in the graininess of the camera view, I saw the future.
And I wanted to be part of it.
That is why it is with heaviness of heart that I announce that I am leaving Metaio. The last three years have been nothing short of wondrous. But in the spirit of this blog, and because I said I was going to do it, I will now interview myself.
Where are you going?!
I am going to Google, where I will join the Waze team. More on this later, but I can tell you that position doesn’t have anything to do with augmented reality.
Are you done with AR?
Not in the least. I still hold a childlike fascination for the magic of computer vision, and just because I’m moving on doesn’t mean I won’t stop writing about it, either. In fact, depending on my schedule I will still try to write about technology, including AR, in my blog that I literally just started today. Please feel free to keep up with me there, as well as LinkedIn and Twitter.
from Brendan: Is Humanity ready for AR?
I would counter that question with “Is AR ready for humanity?” It’s the decathlon of technologies, and it takes years of training for a human to run a decathlon. That being said, technology is only going to improve, so expect in the next few years to watch former barriers crumble beneath the might of optimization. I know for a fact you’re going to see some great things from Metaio in the very near future.
What was your favorite part about working for Metaio?
For anyone considering working in Augmented Reality, you really can’t get better than Metaio. I have been so fortunate to work at a company full of such fun, passionate and determined individuals. I have traveled all over the world with them, and many will be lifelong friends.
To all of you I’ve met along the way, It’s been a blast.
To the Metaio Team- you all know who you are, and you’re the best. I know that I would not have been able to accomplish anything in the last three years without your support.
To Augmented Reality- don’t think I’m done with you yet.