The Centers for Living Memory open simultaneously today in eight cities on three continents. The world’s first globally networked museums jointly utilize an augmented reality database.
I’m standing with thousands of visitors in a long waiting line at the entrance to one of them, where I’m given 3D glasses, an augmented reality (AR) pad, and haptic gloves.
Once inside, I go straight to my favorite spot — the Egyptian room. Except for a few sculptures of Horus and Anubis and a replica of the sarcophagus of the favorite wife of Ramses II, the room doesn’t contain any real objects — but the data glasses tell a different story.
With them we see beautiful vases, which we can even reach into, colorful paintings and Queen Nefertari, who rises up from her sarcophagus. All of it virtual and, yet, so real.
“I am Nefertari, the Great King’s wife, Princess of the Two Lands,” the beauty says, and then proceeds to patiently answer our questions about life 3,300 years ago. She even lets us touch the fine woven fabrics of ancient Egypt...
Virtual museums that allow visitors to call up 3D images in real time, and communicate and interact with the objects via words and gestures, will be a matter of course in 2050.
That’s because the computer power of microchips, their storage capacity and the data transfer rates in both fixed-line and wireless networks will all increase one thousand-fold throughout the next 30 years. The technology for accomplishing this is already being tested in labs.
When that time comes, we will move through 3D worlds online the same way we walk through real cities today.
This complete submersion in virtual realities will revolutionize everything from games and museums to factories, schools, and universities.