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The SEA of knowledge

Image by Hafiz Zamri, 2019. Jeffrey Patrick experiencing the Epson Moverio BT-300 smart glass SEA Connect, The Creative Conference (SEA 2019) at Nexus Connexion, Bangsar South.

In my quest to quench my thirst for technology, I signed up to attend the SEA: Connect the Creative Conference 2019 with the theme this year, “The Rise of the Creative Economy”

This seemed like an interesting topic for those who are involved in the business side of creative work, nevertheless as the saying goes, “Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor”. So this seemed the time to venture out and dive into the unknown— perhaps I would learn about emerging technology and trends.

The key speakers came from a variety of companies: HP, Adobe, MDEC, INMAGINE, FAVE— people who are software gurus, visual creators, movie directors, and content creators. And of course, all of this would not be possible without ACESTAR Sdn Bhd who  planned, organised, and executed the event passionately.

Several faculty from Taylor’s University also joined me. We were all there for different reasons and interests—mine focused solely on technology and its benefits. We witnessed wave after wave of presentations and then got to mingle with the industry exhibitors promoting  their latest “toys”.

As I wiggled myself into the hall, I stumbled upon a few familiar faces, notably from advertising, education and creative industries in such a nice setting that enabled me to discuss and imagine some possibilities of what the future will hold. For instance,

EPSON was exhibiting their “smart glasses” that are designed to make you look like a scene from a sci-fi movie—dubbed Moverio BT-300, a device similar to the design of Google Glass. They are

designed as a portable augmented reality device, powered by Android OS, a winner of Reddot Design Award. A jury of experts evaluates products announced during the past two years and then selects the best designs based on nine criteria including degree of innovation, functionality, ergonomics, ecological compatibility, and durability.

Waiting in line to test the device, I saw how users put on and took off the device with ease, albeit a little tangle can still happen with the wires. It still doesn’t feel natural when looking at someone using this device in public—they will definitely stand out like a sore thumb.

Moment of truth. Testing time. Slipping them on required some assistance the first time from the demo staff though the experience was quite seamless. They felt as if I were wearing swimming googles, unlike the current generation of VR gear that feels extremely heavy like wearing a safety helmet.

When I  turned it on, I instantly saw an overlay of user interface; it is a familiar android powered device. Using the device is like playing with the first generation Apple iPod that had a touch pad navigating the mouse icon in order to the click the icon to do the things I wanted to do with the device.

The demo assistant helped me to build in the training demo app which is an Epson training module for their latest projector. Once I held the projector in front of me with their proprietary training software, it recognised the projector and created an overlay image of the internal component, an explosion view showing each part that co-related with the angle of the projector I was holding.

My overall experience with this device was mainly positive. The technology may one day merge with VR. Smart glass is versatile in improving productivity for use as training devices, entertainment outlet, and surely one day finding it ways into the consumer’s hand.

In my wishful thinking, I imagined that people in the near future would be able to use this device without cable and battery issue in order to provide accessibility to empower the user in ways that would remove the hassle for today’s tasks. Everyone would like to be “Iron Man” with “Jarvis” — able to see an augmented view of objects around them with artificial intelligent assisting their objectives and tasks.

Sail on Sailors, there’s more hidden treasure to be explored in the SEA of knowledge.

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