AURA: The Augmented Reality Layer
Please help me takeover a world that isn’t yet real.
Part of me is convinced that I shouldn’t be writing this, the other part is convinced that I have to. Usually when this happens my innate inertia keeps me from doing, and so for the past 8 months I have done that.
But I’m afraid that this will kill me if I don’t get it out of my head. 8 months since the idea spawned, and not a day has passed without it occupying my mind at least fleetingly. When I don’t think about it while I’m awake, I dream about it. Seriously, I have dreams about it.
What Is AURA?
From my notes last fall: (bolding done today)
This idea is for an Augmented Reality (AR) ecosystem application, working title: AURA. The application will have two primary functions: Creation & Discovery.
First, content creation; A user can create/share a video that is geolocation specific, by default, publicly discoverable. Second, discovery of content happens geographically. The application shows you what content has been created around where you are currently located. This creates content that immediately has context, it’s location relevance. That being, the context of when/where it was created. It unifies this in a way that isn’t quite there, making it the default, rather than a mostly ignored capability. All social media posts are capable of having geolocation data, but it’s usually irrelevant to the content; most social media content isn’t location specific. Content created on this application would be entirely location specific. It would be “the videos that have been created in that building.”
Example Use Case: You are at Don Vito’s Family Style Italian Restaurant for dinner with friends. During dinner you shoot a few clips in the app of the restaurant, the food, and your reviews of it. Then you share this. This content will then exist in perpetuity in the geolocation of Don Vito’s Family Style Italian Restaurant. Future users at Don Vito’s Family Style Italian Restaurant will be able to see the content. People nearby Don Vito’s will be able to see the content. People worldwide will be able to see the content (as everything is indexed & searchable). However, the main function of the app will be a “What’s Nearby” style mapping environment that has categories/filtering to narrow down what you want to see. The style of content is not intended to be solely restaurant review centric.
How It Works: By default it works off of a devices location, but the capability of searching information anywhere in the world is there. The long term view is one of a platform for creating any kind of content in an AR setting. This creates the AR layer on top of the world. The physical world will become a publishing platform. Shooting cool, native content in an area that has a lot of foot traffic, will increase distribution. There would be a ranking/sorting system for content; possibly in the form of user interaction (likes/dislikes), relevance, time since posting. When there are 1,000,000 videos shot in Times Square the AURA will need to have a way to catalogue them that makes the user experience for the new person standing in Times Square better than it would be if the app didn’t exist.
Magic. Consider something as simple as shooting a funny video that you and your friends would laugh at. In the ecosystem of this application, you wouldn’t just be posting it to Facebook (where a few of your friends will see it), you will be “leaving the video somewhere” that other people can walk over and discover. You can hashtag it, write a description for it (a long one), and just leave it there. The content you create can also go into a timeline/feed type page on your profile for your friends to see, but that’s how things already are, OK? The addition of creating content in places that people will eventually be at and be able to look at it while they’re there is I dare say fascinating.
The example I used for this is, “what if this app had always existed”. What if right now, I could walk down the main street of my hometown Hastings, Michigan and pull out my phone, launch this app, and navigate to see the content around me that was created 100 years ago. What if I could watch the people walking and talking, seeing what was on their mind, what they were interested in, what content they thought was worth creating at the time? Further, what if I could watch all of the videos that soldiers in Genghis Khan’s army shot while they were invading China? Or all the selfies from the Disciples while Jesus was talking? What might that do for the world? Now, fast forward 100 years, 1,000 years, 10,000 years and imagine what things look like when you can stand anywhere in the world and watch the history of that spot in hi-def.
I’m the dreamer, not the technician, so here’s the best that I can do for the “UX” of this app.
#1. Signup Screen (putting this just so it seems like I’m thorough). sign up with Facebook, Twitter, NAME/EMAIL (real identity not required?)
#2. Home Screen. Immediately Loads “Relevant” based on your location. So a map feature that you can see the top content nearby. A search bar at the top of the screen that hovers over the map & filters). On the bottom is navigation to other screens (that can also be accessed via swiping?) Your Profile (and feed), Friends Feed, Settings,
The Search: By Default searches nearby. Quick select option to search other areas (Nearby, Not Far, Specific Location, Global (or perhaps Universal). (idea; integrate with Uber, so that you can be at Location A, find Location B in the app, decide to go there, and press to launch/call an Uber to take you to Location B (passing location data directly to Uber).
Filters: My first thought (not married to it) is to Filter based on human needs. Filter food, fun, funny, culture, entertainment, historic, business, etc, et al (this evolves with the app I think, but it’s important from day 1, particularly IF created content can self categorize I.E Vine, rather than just Hashtag.
The Map: The map needs to be smart as fuck. The first view (no search, no filters) should be curated with the best performing content in that area, with a view as close up as possible to the user’s location (like, showing the outline of the building they’re in on the map, with few other buildings visible, not a block view or neighborhood view, get as close as possible). if the app can identify their exact location “In restaurant/club/store X, and only show content that was created in that place, that is best. We want to go off of exact coordinates as closely as possible.
The map reacts to being interacted with by the user (like any phone map). It also reacts in real time with search/filtering to show the newest most relevant content results. When a user can’t find the results they’re looking for, invite them to answer the question for the next user that comes and shoot some content in this area.
The profile: Your feed, with a button to access settings. Followers/Friends. Main profile content.
Friend Feed: Timeline style view of your friends/following content.
And other things that are cool too?
Having the content be owned by the space, with an attribution to it’s creator rather than siloing everyone’s content into their own specially curated feed. It gives the world a feed, curated in the purest manner possible, where something is.
Being able to look through walls. Being able to look back in time at the very spot you’re standing to see and feel what else happened there.
The Augmented Reality features available with today’s present technological landscape are already massively appealing, enough to create a global phenomenon. Or at least, I’d use it and it’d be cool to me even if I was the only one. It’d be super cool if like 5–10 other people used it.
I genuinely don’t think that any of us are capable of imagining on today, day 1, what it would be if a broad base of the world’s population used it.
The digital world is all around us, it pervades modern life in every form, across the far reaches of the planet, and as far as we’ve been able to launch things into the solar system.
AURA represents a taming of that world. Bringing it into an ecosystem that we can walk through, that we can physically manipulate and interact with, that we can sort, and organize, and share.
AURA as the union between real-world and VR.
Right now VR is a distinct entity from the real world. You put on your Playstation or Samsung headset and you are enmeshed in a virtual environment; it’s pretty cool.
But AURA brings the entire real world as manipulatable space in VR. Open the AURA app on your VR headset and jump from place to place (while seated safely in your living room), consuming content and interacting with things.
You can walk into Don Vito’s Family Style Italian Restaurant and view their Facebook Live stream (I mean AURA Live) to see how busy it is. Patrons in Don Vito’s Family Style Italian Restaurant can open their Aura App and see the avatars of the virtual AURA users moving in the restaurant.
Is it scary, yes? Is it inevitable, I’m not sure.
Doesn’t it seem like it’s inevitable though? Doesn’t it seem like AURA is the thing everyone is talking about that no one has quite found the right tune for yet? The thing that explains how everything is going to disrupt everything. How all of these trends and forces are going to such and such all of these other things.
Isn’t it what Google needed to have already exist in order for Glass to work?
Isn’t it what will obviously serve as the next OS for the…. universe?
It sorta seems like it is.
But then again, I’m not really a tech guy.
Call To Action.
Subject To Revision. Last Edited 6/5/2017
Me: I’m Jordan Laubaugh. I’m 27. I own a company called Pandora Modeling, it’s an agency for adult video chat performers. I started it 8 years ago because it was the thing I could start. Now this company does $100,000/week in sales of which I keep less than 2% of, and have no real complaints about it.
If someone gave me a million or a billion dollars to execute on the AURA idea, I wouldn’t know what to do with it, seriously. I don’t know the first thing about starting a company like this. Please don’t give me a billion dollars.
I’m like Frodo with the ring at Rivendell. If it has to be that I’m the one that does it, I’ll do it, though I do not know the way.
But I’m cool with being a Tom Bombadil in this story too. So if you, or someone you know, can stand up and take the ring, I don’t need to appear in the story again. I’m a big believer in trying to give the best ideas away, if someone else can do it, they should, save me the trouble.
That being said, here are a few specific call to actions the hopefully resonate with you if you took the time to read this.
If you are:
A. In love with the concept, and are my equal in capacity to execute on the idea.
CTA: Share this post with people that will share your love with the concept and maybe it’ll become a thing.
B. A potential idea thief.
CTA: Do it. Make this a thing. If you get any traction, FB, Google, Apple, and Tesla might all merge to be able to raise the funds to acquire and you’ll be the richest person in the history of earth. Kick me 1% if you want, or don’t, I couldn’t possibly care less.
C. A potential cofounder of mine.
CTA: Do it. I need a cofounder. I have the crystalized vision. I have the obsessed spirit. I have the relentless entrepreneur’s grit that allows me to eat the glass and stare into the abyss and keep getting out of bed almost every day. But I’m not smart enough to get there on my own. I’d need a technical co-founder superstar. I can do the conceptual product stuff, and the business stuff like pitch meetings and fundraising (I assume).
General Plan of Attack
I think obviously we design an application for iOS and Android that has all of the essential features built in and goes hard with look and feel, AURA is all about haptics. Predict and prevent obvious things like spam, hacking, other security flaws pre-launch. Hire Vaynermedia to line up a bunch of deals with social media influencers from all over the spectrum for launch day combine with a big launch event in a notable location that celebrities/press are invited to.
Then just integrate with the other social apps, and have a “share your link” prompt right after someone creates a new account that lets them mention AURA on their other primary profiles.
A singularity inducing product with just enough hype to prove it’s a thing then exists.
Make trillions, buy boats, etc. Maybe do other cool things too.
Copyright 2017, infinity, and beyond.