Google have just released details of their 3D sensor phone. It’s a sort of Microsoft Kinect in your phone. It combines that personal, powerful and portable device with the very environment in which you live in and move through. To put it another way it automatically creates and stores context. This is much bigger, I suspect, than the promo video suggests.
Why does this matter?
Well, most people have a rather primitive view of perception and consciousness, as if our perception is some sort of x-ray vision that reaches out to the world and scans it as we move and think. The very opposite is the case. We recreate that world in our brains and re-present it in created consciousness. We recreate our environment in 3D as we perceive and move through that world. This phone does something similar – it recreates the world through which you move. How? It’s an Android phone with sensors that makes over a quarter of a million measurements every second.
Initial applications include the use of this recreated 3D world for the visually impaired and blind. You could also use it practically for mapping your home or a room for decoration or garden for redesign. Eventually it will scan 3D objects for storage and 3D printing and so on.
My interest would take things much further. I’d use it to create your own personal environments for contextual learning. We have long known that learning, specifically retention and recall are increased through context. Sit an exam in a room where you actually learnt that material and you do better in that exam. For most 'learn by doing' tasks this is especially true.
Imagine creating a lab, workshop, shop or any other physical space where that 3D model can be used to create context-specific, simulated learning. Induction (onboarding), product knowledge, sale straining, health and safety and hundreds of other business as usual training tasks could be constructed for your personal working environment. All it would take is an authoring tool with the ability to tag objects and locations, then add a learning layer. You could even use it as a memory aid, locating what you want to learn in your known locations then use the memory palace technique for practice, retention and recall.
I'm currently involved in two brilliant 3D sims in vocational learning where we're creating 3D environments for training, assessment and certification. They really do measure competences in detail and could revolutionaries this type of learning. Eventually this sort of simulation could be personally created and commonplace.
Boy things are moving fast in the mobile arena. It may not be robots in the home that matter after all, but our homes with robotic ability to enhance our lives. I want one…..