Mixed reality or augmented reality — for those of you who think we’re already living in unreal times, just wait. And according to Microsoft HoloLens inventor Alex Kipman, you won’t have to wait long. The 38-year-old augmented reality evangelist who told Bloomberg “the phone is dead…people just don’t realize it yet” does have a vested interest in seeing mobile technology perish — especially if it’s replaced by the HoloLens as he predicts. Having trouble telling the difference between what real and what’s imagined used to be the plight of the deranged. In Kipman’s vision, conflating the real with the virtual has been upgraded. It’s now the glorious future of education, business and just about everything else as virtual world collides — and combines — with the “real” one.
Kipman also gets credit as the inventor of Microsoft’s Kinect technology, which put the computer one step closer to the body, eliminating the need for a tool to control video games. The Kinect may not have been a huge hit, but it was yet another stepping stone on the path to the connected, augmented, virtually enhanced environment. The youthful 38-year-old genius from Brazil is an Rochester Institute of Technology grad and a Microsoft lifer, though he had some cool side gigs along the way. One way to think about Kipman’s vision is being able to see a sofa in your own living room before you buy it, with the vision of it there being as real as if you could sit on it. Maybe that’s what’s next for Kipman — being able to sit on that virtual sofa. Here’s Kipman speaking on augmented reality at a TED conference: