The number of headlines — and Facebook memes — about Pokémon Go suggest that the game has reached craze status, but could it be more than just a fad? As one of the first augmented reality applications to make it to the mainstream, Pokémon Go may mean more for the virtual and augmented reality industries than a bunch of people wandering around the park trying to find Pikachus. It could be the birth of a brand new industry.
To help us look at the game craze in context, as well as offer some predictions about the future of Pokémon Go, AR, and VR, we brought in S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, to offer his insights on this now global phenomenon.
Matt Swayne: What’s the difference between augmented reality — AR — and virtual reality — VR?
S. Shyam Sundar: The difference lies in the degree to which they incorporate the real world. In VR, the entire environment is artificially created, while in AR, artificial elements are superimposed on the real world, creating a mixed reality. In VR, the user enters a virtual world whereas in AR, objects from the virtual world enter the real world.
Continue reading Is reality getting really augmented?
“What the [Pokémon Go] app is actually doing — meaning the broad swath of information the app is collecting — is creepy. It’s not just kids playing the game, and it’s not just privacy advocates who are concerned.” — Anne McKenna, Penn State assistant professor of law
We were curious about the Pokémon Go craze that has infiltrated much of the world and wanted to get a legal perspective on the situation. Cyber and privacy attorney Anne McKenna graciously answered some questions about it from our news and research communications staff.
Research Matters: Pokémon Go seems innocent enough, but it’s causing concern among many privacy advocates. Why is that?
Anne McKenna: On July 6, 2016, Niantic, Inc., released Pokémon Go, an app game that requires users to walk around in real world locations to collect Pokémon. It’s a global obsession. According to the BBC, in the app’s first week of release, there were 15.3 million tweets about it worldwide. For perspective, there were only 11.7 million Brexit-related tweets during the week of the UK referendum. SimilarWeb, an apps analytics firm, says that Pokémon Go users are playing it on average 43 minutes a day — perspective again: that’s more time than users spend on Instagram, Snapchat, or Whatsapp.
Continue reading Of Pokémon, Pikachu, parents, and privacy
The fields of arts and sciences will connect on the streets of State College and Penn State’s University Park campus this week to help visitors get the best of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.
The College of IST’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction is again working with the Arts Festival to develop a mobile application. Over the years, each version of the app retained its core features, such as a schedule and program of events, location data, and profiles of the visiting artists and performers. The researchers have experimented with various types of social features and interactions in previous versions. In 2014, for example, the app was used to play a “selfie” game among attendees, and last year’s app included a set of profile-style interest categories and a series of social media inspired interactions, such as the ability to create custom events for the festival program.
Continue reading Apps and art: New version of app ready for festival