AR Technology Behind Mind Mapping & Creative Thinking
Scientists have dedicated centuries to studying our brain, trying to understand how this super-powerful computer is wired, how it comprehends the world, testing the limits of its capabilities. The IT field has long adopted the brain's capabilities to comprehend the world through Computer Vision (CV) to give machines a chance to “see” the world mimicking the human conception of vision, but what were the main pillars that allowed such technology to be developed? The challenge started from realizing that initially all images on our retina appear in 2D, while our brain has evolved to interpret them in 3D in a blink of an eye, in just 13 milliseconds. As technology evolved, innovations in artificial intelligence (AI), neural networks (NN) and deep machine learning allowed to recreate this process and even advance over human abilities in some tasks of object identification and labeling, giving machines the ability to “see” the world.
Can humans somehow advance from the machine used principles of 3D and CV?
Traditionally 2D materials were used to deliver information, teach or train people of any field, not being able to turn to 3D due to the lack of technological advancement at the time. A number of studies conducted over the past decade on 2D vs 3D experiences (manual dexterity exercise, use of 3D animation, use of 3D and immersive technology, etc.) have proven that utilizing our brains capabilities to interpret the world in 3D can be greatly beneficial to improve learning experiences, making information perception easy and engaging. Grasping information is indeed based on human ability to learn, however it revolves strongly around thinking and creative process.
With the advancement of Spatial Technologies implementing 3D into learning has become fairly straightforward, but can the same be said about thinking and creativity? Augmented Reality could be the ultimate solution to bring both processes to a new level, bringing them to life, making them engaging, intuitive, interactive, easy to comprehend and live-through, thanks to the natural real-world overlay of the technology. As 3D is one of the main ingredients in building any AR experience, it becomes an obvious choice, considering the rapid evolvement and widespread use of this technology, with estimated 2.4 billion mobile AR users worldwide by 2023.
What can AR do for learning, thinking and creativity?
AR is becoming the new norm for many businesses and institutions, enhancing the learning process, making it interactive and simple to comprehend, adapting to the new generation of digital users, changing the future of education. It has started to adjust the way we approach thinking, encouraging the process, expanding the way people grasp invisible or difficult to observe concepts. AR technology is rapidly entwining with the creative process, becoming a popular go to tool for many aspiring artists, allowing to break the boundaries of self expression, going beyond the limits of what we now consider a reality.
AR Mind Mapping 3D developed by Lucid Reality Labs is one of those experiences that combine all perks of AR technology advancement to help with learning, thinking and creative processes. The app uses our brain's ability to comprehend the world in 3D, solving the limitations of traditional 2D mind maps and flowcharts, making relationships and nodes more comprehensible, helping with handling and visualization of any data complexity in an interactive, graceful, and efficient manner.
For any long running project it is important to take a moment and try to grasp the full picture as well as evaluate the milestones of what has been accomplished. During our interview we had a chance to assess both with Dante Martin, the founder of ScapeHop and visionary behind MindMap AR. Dante shared that while working on this project, his initial idea of creating a MindMap has gone beyond being a tool to just organize, learn, memorize and retrieve data, it evolved to become a fully compelling brainstorming tool that amplifies creativity.
"…you can imagine if someone is trying to come up with a story or planning a business, or just starting from scratch, this is where the power of this app shines. It is a great starting point. Your brain is wired to learn and thrive in a 3D world, AR Mind Mapping is a fun way to use your brain’s knack for relationships and space to learn and think creatively."
The project has grown and developed over the last three years, becoming the #1 AR App amongst the 25 Best AR apps for iOS and Android with business model. It has been a great challenge, as well as a great victory to make the project grow and evolve over time, adapting to the change of market, needs and vision. We have asked Dante, what he finds to be amongst the biggest benefits of MindMap.
"It has less constraints with more freedom of thinking. When you are looking to write a report or a story, writing is linear, you are sort of forced to start at the beginning. This can lead to writers block when you don't have the big picture. AR mind mapping is a great way to get the big picture and break through writer's block. Just get your thoughts out as they flow and sequence it later. Freedom and creativity are the biggest benefits and the result is more productivity."
The obvious question to conclude our interview with Dante was to ask what he envisions for the future of MindMap and AR technology.
"All the work till now has been the foundation, as technology is still evolving. AR is taking the experience of mindmapping to the next level."
So how close are we actually to what Dante envisions?
With the Korean August 21 launch of Nreal Light kit, consisting of immersive hand-free MR glasses and accessories, we can say that the future is now. What makes the kit so special, aside from the spatial technology and image projection used to overlay real-world environments, the tool is aiming to be a general purpose device, available to mass consumers. Supported by Nebula, “the first 3D system that turns traditional 2D smartphone browsing experience into a 3D mixed reality experience”, it grants users access to millions of Android based MR supported apps. The combined effort of Nreal Light glasses and the Nebula system allows users to experience something we only imagined or seen in sci-fi movies in our everyday lives. While still not available worldwide, Nreal announced the next milestone, their cooperation with KDDI, on of Japan’s largest carriers and the official country launch on December 1st.
"Availability of AR devices to mass consumers is deemed to be the gamechanger for all AR experiences, integrating them strongly into our everyday lives, allowing to overlay the real world with a variation of experiences that help people learn, think, create and much beyond that, reshaping the borders of our realities."