“Cinematic Reality” on Farms?

(still photo from Magic Leap promo video)

The little rectangular digital displays we carry in our pockets could become obsolete in the not-too-distant future. Instead, the images and information that we squint to see on our phones and other physical screens might be projected into whatever setting we’re in.

(still photo from Magic Leap promo video)

(still photo from Magic Leap promo video)

“Cinematic” or “augmented” reality is the terminology used to describe what companies are creating by inserting virtual content into a real world environment.

This technology could have multiple applications in agriculture and farming, notes Nik Badminton, a Vancouver-based futurist and columnist who focuses on how technology affects workplaces and the economy. We spoke after his talk at the 2015 AgExcellence Conference in Regina. (continues below)

“Right in front of our eyes we’d have very high definition experiences that we can consume and experience,” he explains, specifically referring to technology coming from two companies: Microsoft and Magic Leap — a secretive Google-backed company in Florida.

Microsoft’s HoloLens is a Windows 10 computer packed into a glasses headset for viewing images in augmented reality (aka holograms). The company has said it plans to start shipping the HoloLens to developers in the first quarter of 2016.

Magic Leap‘s release plans haven’t been announced, but the company is apparently working on a headset that will superimpose 3D images over reality by projecting a light field directly onto the user’s retina. (Even though it has yet to bring anything to market, Magic Leap announced last week that it’s raising another $827 million, which would bring the company’s total funding to $1.4 billion.)

Microsoft's Hololens

Microsoft’s HoloLens

“Wherever you are, if you’re out in the field, if you’re at home or out running errands, it will have a utilitarian use to it. You can check emails, look at data, look at data visualizations, see out of the eyes of people that are in the field — there are a whole bunch of applications that could be incredibly useful to give context,” notes Badminton.

Is it a case of getting excited about technology that ultimately won’t be practical (ie. the Google Glass) or will these types of devices actually become reality?

“I think we’ll see both Microsoft and Magic Leap absolutely blowing peoples’ minds in the next year, and then we can work out what kind of experiences we can build for people that are actually practical,” suggests Badminton.