a trendMARK feature by Jon Pienaar The lines between the digital and the real worlds are becoming blurred, as technology breaks down the barriers between our screens and our environment.

Virtual reality

The concept of Virtual Reality has been around for a while. But could this be the year that it comes into its own? Since Jaron Lanier popularised the term in the 1980s, the idea of goggles and biofeedback interaction with a virtual 3D environment has waxed and waned. Early systems were cumbersome and laggy — just a few minutes’ use would leave the user nauseated or headachy. Now, with multi-core processors and GPUs that Lanier only dreamed about, the technology is possible, and it’s coming to a computer near you.

And it’s not only for immersive gaming; it’s possible to create virtual meetings for business, and—with the addition of haptic feedback interfaces—could even allow for scenarios like a surgeon in South Africa assisting a colleague in a different country to do a specific procedure.

Training simulation, where the idea of VR originated from, will also become more immersive and effective.


Google Glass has also been in the news as the first apps rolled out for people prototyping this personalised heads-up display, google glassthat’s combined with a voice-controlled interface. Augmented reality apps include GPS navigation, digital photography, videography, online search and communication. It’s all seemingly projected in the space in front of your eyes, in a clear yet unobtrusive manner.


The mouse and the touchpad are history. If you thought ‘Minority Report’ was science fiction, just buy yourself a LEAP and plug it into your Mac or PC. Then you can wave, pinch, grab and twist content on your screen using gestures in the air. Other technologies use 3D cameras to track hand movements, but the LEAP has it down to mapping individual joints in your fingers.

This feature first ran in trendMark, the discerning trends resource for African marketers and corporates. Read or download the full magazine via Issuu. For a PDF copy, click here.

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