My library system has recently added a committee called Futures and Trends. It’s purpose is to:
To recognize, review, and evaluate new or future trends in library service and communicate with Library Administration and related committees. To consider feasibility, priority, and planning of new ideas for system wide needs that improve or enhance public service or efficiency.
I am fortunate enough to be on this committee and am really looking forward to seeing what it can do!
With this in mind I read 2 posts recently on ReadWriteWeb about a new technology being developed at MIT’s Responsive Environments Group. You can read the posts here and here and what they describe is quite fascinating. These people are wicked smart!
What is cross reality? It is a way to connect information on-line and in person via ubiquitous sensors in a kind of virtual reality. But really, read the articles…they explain it much better. From RWW:
Cross Reality is about connecting “location-specific 3D animated constructs” in virtual worlds to in-building sensor installations.
In the second post on RWW they use bookstores as an example of how cross reality could possibly work.
Imagine for example walking down to your local shops and entering a bookstore. Theoretically, the bookstore would recognize you as you entered and would ‘ping’ your mobile device, which then might bring up that wish list of books you’ve been compiling…The app would let you know which of your wish list books are available. Also it would display a virtual map on your phone of exactly where each book is located in the store, via the barcodes of the books. Armed with all of this handy, very contextual information, you make your way to the first bookshelf.
This example just screams library to me. Really, just imagine a person walking into a library with a list of items they are looking for in their phone, a map of the library coming up that helps them locate those items. How cool is that? Granted, it may make the reference desk a thing of the past but that is something that some have been advocating for a while. What are some other possibilities? I don’t know but it is exciting!
I’m sure something like this is a few years away from becoming an everyday thing but just thinking about how the use of technology is mixing with real life is mind boggling. For an example of the “Tip of the Iceberg” check out this video.