It is true: there is nothing new under the sun. But we sure find the most incredible ways to do nothing new under the sun. Once upon a time, there was reality; and we made reality more interesting through storytelling and the imagination. Lately, Augmented Reality is breaking the boundary between what is imagined and what is experienced as real.
Again, there is nothing new under the sun. We have spent over a century in search of new ways to bring our imaginations to life. Carlo Collodi gave us The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883)–stories of Geppetto’s puppet, Pinocchio, dreaming of being a real boy. Pinocchio was very much alive, though made of wood. Caryn Bailey reminds us of The Enchanted Drawing (1900), the first live-action/animated silent film that would kick off the Twentieth Century.
Who can forget Mary Poppins, with Dick Van Dyke dancing with a group of animated penguins, or The Incredible Mr. Limpet, with Don Knotts’ adventures as a cartoon fish? Those films amazed audiences. Cartoonists were able to create the impossible. Their very creations–what was once thought to forever be confined to the imagination–now appeared to be interacting with the real world elements in the motion picture. It added a new level of reality. And it blew the mind of the moviegoer when the animated scene ended and Roger Rabbit stepped out from behind the cameras to carry on like any real-life actor in the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? That film highlighted the appearance of animated characters interacting with the real world not just on film but even behind the scenes in the studio, keeping our attention focused on life behind the shoot, where the story takes place, creating the new reality of an animated character existing in the real world when the cameras are off.
Augmented Reality is changing the game in new and exciting ways. Now you not only experience the real world objects of a film. You not only experience the creations of animators coming to life and interacting with real world elements behind the filming of the film. Through Augmented Reality, you now become the creator, and your creations–your imagination–interact with the real world. It is as though your own creations find life behind the canvas. Augmented Reality puts those creations right smack in the middle of your everyday world–your everyday reality.
Kurt Wagner highlights Snapchat’s Bitmoji and how Augmented Reality is transforming the cultural phenomenon known as the selfie. And Alex Kantrowitz with BuzzFeed News has to remind readers, “Now, go have fun. And remember to do real world stuff too. Like feeding yourself and getting exercise.”
Augmented Reality is yet another incredibly innovative way to do nothing new under the sun. It is a sea change reconstructing the way humans experience reality. Even Apple is not quite sure how to push it and comes across a little uncharacteristically risk-averse, according to Adi Robertson. But one thing is for certain: Augmented Reality has moved us another step closer to recreating reality in our own image.