This particular concept for a handheld computing device with an augmented display by designer Gustavo Fricke, is a wonder about which we cannot decidedly say whether having it would change our lives in a better way or not, but we know a fact that we definitely would want one of these.
This innovative interface is based on the use of augmented reality to create a computing surface comparable to an Object Petit or a MacGuffin, in the Hitchcockian sense. For all of you who used their time in college to research local flora like I did (and hence have to rely on the enthusiasm of the good folks who write up those wikis, and save the rest of us from the headache of having to remember stuff we paid in hefty college tuitions to learn in the first place), here is what is this for.
Augmented reality is a clever technological way of adding a virtual layer of CGI over live footage of a captured video to make us understand the dimensions and boundaries. This technology is most often used in sports broadcast like football (both American and the global version), Cricket, ice hockey, swimming, etc., where a virtual lines show sponsors’ ads, start and finish lines, swimming lanes, etc. These virtual lines appear to the viewer at home as if they were painted on the playing surface itself.
“Objet Petit a” is a term derived from the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan, who describes it as being an “unattainable object of desire” that motivates people to action.
A MacGuffin is a dramatic technique or an element in the plot of a work of fiction which is devised to capture the audience’s attention. It becomes an object to achieve which people in the story are willing to do anything for though it doesn’t really matter what this object is. The main idea behind a MacGuffin is to present the thrill of the chase rather than the achievement of this particular object. The Holy Grail is the most accurate example of the MacGuffin in the real world.
Coming back to the concept, well, we just don’t know why the designer would go to the extent of calling it a MacGuffin when all it really intends to do is to simply have an augmented interface that would allow the projector in the device to work in tandem with a touch screen surface to give users a most unique computing experience. The concept looks to marginalize the use of hardware like monitors, keyboards, mice and touchpads, and replace them with a single touch-friendly, interface that would let the stuff on the screen be projected onto any surface to make computing interesting for people who don’t have to get a lot of work done during the day and just need a fun way to kill time.
That being said, we at DesignBuzz would still love to have ourselves one of these, and perhaps even have the company foot the bill for it, and maybe we can even ask them to spare us a few long weekends to take it home and “test” it with friends over rounds of steady booze and augmented sword fights. Wait, now I understand why the designer called it an Objet Petit a!