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Matt Miesnieks is trying to create The Matrix, but he needs your help to do it.
His company, Dekko, is taking the idea of augmented reality and tossing it out the window. Instead, Miesnieks says he wants to re-create entire world, in all of its tiniest details, in digital form. All he needs is your phone’s camera.
“In effect what we’re doing is taking every camera — in Glass or in smartphones – turning them in 3D scanners, and then taking all of those images to build a 3D model of the world,” Miesnieks said earlier this week. (Batman, however, may have done it did it first.)
All of this sounds, well, crazy, but Miesnieks and his team may have what it takes to make it real. Miesnieks and his co-founder (and wife), Silka, are veterans of Layar, an augmented reality company that rode the early wave of hype that surrounded the technology. Miesnieks says he’s learned a lot from his experiences at Layer — specifically, that “augmented reality” as we understand it has failed.
“If the app works on one page of a magazine but not the next, people might use it once, but they’re going to toss it away,” Miesnieks said, making the valid point that augmented reality hasn’t lived up to its hype from the user experience standpoint.
Above: Dekko’s digitization process is still a tad rough, but Miesnieks says it will improve quickly.
Dekko’s approach to augmented reality swings in the opposite direction. Rather than build its platform on the dubious capability for cameras to recognize the wide variety of objects in the world, it’s doing away with the notion of “recognition” entirely: Dekko’s going to digitize the world and then make its new digital world its platform for augmentation.
You can get a good sense of how Dekko’s digitization process might some day look like via Dekko Scan, its proof-of-concept iOS app that turn sreal-life objects into in-game objects for Minecraft, the online creation game.
As you can see in the image above, Dekko Scan’s end product is, at this point, a bit rough, but the app hints an interesting future where the physical and digital are only seconds from being one and the same.
The other essential component to Dekko is location data. In order to eventually serve you the most relevant overlayed information, Dekko’s platform will not only have to know where you are within its digital world, but also where you’re looking. This is where Google Glass and the next generation of wearable displays step in. Because Glass sits above your eye, it’s the perfect proxy for your line of sight, and as a result, the ideal sort of device on which to build Dekko’s platform.
By knowing that you’re walking down the street and looking at a store window (via your location), Dekko’s platform could one day use that data to give you relevant information about that store — how people rate it, when it closes, etc.
“This is like 1980s Tron compared to where its going to be very soon. There is so much opportunity and potential and we’ve focused on something that something that actually works with the hardware we have today,” Miesnieks said.
As with most ambitious ideas, Dekko is more vision right now than product, but if Miesnieks prognostications are any indication, the company is on the verge of some very interesting things.