The Dark Side of the Royole Moon

Originally published at:

The Royole Moon claims to be a “3D mobile theater” that provides a “truly immersive, 3D movie watching or gaming experience.” And it does, but that can prove awkward in the real world.

Khoi Vinh has an interesting post about a tech-laden museum exhibit that touches on some of the same issues of being cut off from the real world as the Moon invoked in me.

And that reminded me of something we ran into many years ago at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. This was 2001, I think, just before we left Seattle, and the tech was older, but still roughly the same in terms of providing headphones that told you about the exhibit you were looking at. We’d gone with our friend Geoff Duncan, who was a professional studio musician as well as a tech writer, Tonya’s little sister who must have been an old teenager, and Tristan, who was 2. So we couldn’t use the headphones, since we wanted to talk with Rebecca and Geoff, and we had to pay attention to our two-year-old. But we equated it to being in the Borg ship in Star Trek — no one even noticed us and would even bump into us if we didn’t get out of the way.

There’s a drive in the tech world to make everything personal and individual, but that then misses a more compelling goal of enhancing shared group experiences.

Though it’s an enemy alien Apple Music rival, Spotify, is sponsoring a tie-in interactive, though not immersive, Bowie NYC subway station takeover that compliments the museum experience:


The Magic Leap headset, which provides augmented reality, or what the company calls “spatial computing” is now available, at least to developers. You can read more about it here, but I really think it will run into exactly the same social problems.

And another good piece about the Magic Leap.

I hope they’re not charging developers over $2,000 for the headsets. I doubt if they’ll be able to sell consumers or businesses without software to use it with.

Apple’s AR Kit had been out in the wild for some time now, and it’s been rumored that they have a VR/AR headset in the works: