Chris makes a good argument for how we should think about augmented reality. It doesn’t have to be just factual visual data overlaid on a transparent screen; it can also be audio or haptic feedback — another way to supplement the world around us.

What taking this idea further means, then, is coming up with new enumerations of augmentable activities (walking and running, yes — but what else?), new means of augmenting them, and, to inform their pairings, new ways that these two things might influence one another. How might an audio story change the way that someone traverses a space, and vice versa? How could we use the data available through a mobile device’s sensors — voice, accelerometer, location, elevation — to influence a response from a helpful guide or a cunning adversary? Could one make an AI version of the narrator from The Stanley Parable that crafts routes for you to follow in any given (well-mapped) location and reprimandingly adapts to your diversions?

In general, I love the idea of a voice speaking in my ear as I move about a space otherwise in solitude — telling me things about what I am seeing, suggesting avenues for exploration, or augmenting my visual perception with fiction. The last has the power to transform the ordinary or the mundane, perhaps environments that I see every day, into magical objects and spaces, to imbue them with new meaning and appreciate them in a new light. That, to me, is the real appeal of augmented reality, and it’s possible — perhaps even better — to do it all without a heads-up display.