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Ability to manipulate one's perception of reality through the use of a computer
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Art installation illustrating the mediated reality concept. First we display what's really there, and then this allows a computer to be inserted into the "reality stream" to modify it.
Mediated Reality application running on Apple iPhone
Computer-mediated reality refers to the ability to add to, subtract information from, or otherwise manipulate one's perception of reality through the use of a wearable computer or hand-held device such as a smartphone.
Typically, it is the user's visual perception of the environment that is mediated. This is done through the use of some kind of electronic device, such as an EyeTap device or smart phone, which can act as a visual filter between the real world and what the user perceives.
Computer-mediated reality has been used to enhance visual perception as an aid to the visually impaired. This example achieves a mediated reality by altering a video input stream light that would have normally reached the user's eyes, and computationally altering it to filter it into a more useful form.
It has also been used for interactive computer interfaces.
The use of computer-mediated reality to diminish perception, by the removal or masking of visual data, has been used for architectural applications, and is an area of ongoing research.
The long-term effects of altering perceived reality have not been thoroughly studied, and negative side effects of long-term exposure might be possible.
As a seeing aid
In the 1970s and 1980s, Steve Mann introduced the Generation-1 and Generation-2 "Digital Eye Glass", initially as a vision aid to help people see better, as a welding helmet, and as a general-purpose seeing aid for everyday life as outlined in IEEE Technology & Society 31(3) and the supplemental material entitled "GlassEyes".
With wireless communications, mediated reality can also become a communications medium among different communities.
With the use of EyeTap, such interaction is called "seeing eye-to-eye".
Applications of mediated reality include devices that help people see better, as well as devices for gaming and equipment repair, telemedicine, remote expert advice interfaces, and wayfinding. Mediated reality is also used in robotics and drawing applications such as the "Loose and Sketchy" drawing package.
^Mann, S., & Fung, J. (2001). Videoorbits on EyeTap devices for deliberately diminished reality or altering the visual perception of rigid planar patches of a real world scene. Proceedings of the Second IEEE International Symposium on Mixed Reality, pp 48-55, March 14-15, 2001.