Diminished reality

Now you see it, now you don’t.

The big marketing gimmick of 2009 was arguably augmented reality, as numerous brands sought to enhance the world around you and bring products and marketing campaigns out of the 2D world and into an interactive 3D space.

The technology is certainly impressive in concept, if not always so impressive – and a little cumbersome and clunky -  in practice.

However,  a new reversed version of the augmented reality innovation – diminished reality – is now starting to surface, whereby instead of inserting objects on top of your world view, objects are taken away.

New research from the Ilmenau University of Technology, Department of Virtual Worlds / Digital Games, is effectively bringing a Photoshop style eraser button to everyday life.  In practice this means a user can edit video in real time to delete unwanted objects.

A PhD student from the University of Calabria in Rende, Italy, is also developing a form of diminished reality, utilising the concept to create a tangible way of interacting with augmented reality objects by deleting the physical and replacing them with virtual versions.

Obviously all of this requires the user to view the world through a lens. However, with news that the first augmented reality glasses are rolling off the production line, it won’t be long before we can pick and choose our own world view – deleting what we don’t want to see.

On one hand this could be good news for advertisers – on the other it could mean people may eventually have the ability to replace billboard ad content with whatever they want, much like their PC screensaver.

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