Augmented Reality and the Urban Experience
What experiences can be designed for city tourists using Google Glass?
What experiences might be designed for tourists using Google Glass in a city? In a “Designing Interactions” class at MIT in partnership with the Turkish telekom Avea, students explored the interaction of digital media and urban space. Working on multidisciplinary teams, students created digital experiences that made use of Google Glass in a variety of tourist contexts. One team created Ask Local to answer whether the urban food experiences of a tourist could be redefined using Google Glass. The innovation involves a media ecosystem that provides tourists with real-time access to local people who can advise about anything in the city, in particular food choices. For instance, a tourist in Istanbul encountering a street vendor selling a particular baked good may wonder whether it is something to try, and then communicate directly with a local, knowledgeable person to answer that question. Further work on the Ask Local prototype addressed questions such as whether tourists using the innovation should be connected to a single local person or to a group, whether the local person should be from the tourist’s extended social network, whether there should be an online interface to select the local person, issues related to quantitative or short answers, and concerns about quality, accuracy, and response speed. The innovation lends itself to several business models. Ask Local Google Glasses could be rented out at airport kiosks, for instance, among other possibilities.