3D Shared Drawing in Magic Leap & Across devices with Spatiate!

For me, the most wonderful possibility of mixed reality headsets is the chance to draw in mid-air in 3D with multiple people. This was my great dream for over 8 years. Now it is becoming available soon in Spatiate on Magic Leap One (also on phones all shared together, whoa!) Still in beta, yet already so full featured and solid, such an exciting time!

Since the dawn of language (probably) we have been speaking with our hands to add in flare, expression, illustration and beyond. Now with mixed reality headsets like Magic Leap we have a form factor that allows mid-air drawing to become a natural part of talking.

The first thing we can do, before speaking, is usually finger painting. Now, with mixed reality and spatial computing, we can return to a natural form of expression in a totally new way. Imagine a time before there were words, we are in the time just before another explosion of expressive possibility.

Moreover, with the power of avatars, we can now talk with anyone anywhere at any time while sharing this new mid air drawing layer.

I am powerfully fascinated by this affordance as part of the future of language. Drawing in the space between us can open up a new era, beyond mere high bandwidth information and into true high bandwidth meaning.

The videos below are of an amazing jam session that happened over the internet. It was so freaking cool to reconnect with Steve Lukas as an avatar. Steve started the Spatiate project and was my first demo of Magic Leap (and the source of my ability to alpha test Spatiate). At one point there were 8 people in the same shared drawing space all split between 8 different locations. This quick draw jam session is a historic moment for me, and perhaps for the entire Spatial Computing world: the era of shared 3D mixed reality drawing across space is here, and it is so freaking fun!!

Sketches done between Spatiate participants can be saved as a 3D model, totally changing the nature of ‘notes’ in conversation. Perhaps we can move beyond napkin sketches to go back to the workstation and turn our daily lives and conversations into powerful generative design sessions and art making exercises, with no more effort than it takes to just be as we are.

This medium of ‘projected light’ is what I have been waiting for as an artist for many years. Unlike 3D modeling in a computer, we now have a medium that allows for 3D expression at the scale of being in a direct way. I will explore VR drawing as well, yet something about the mixed reality drawing is truly the most captivating. To draw with the world in this new way is hypnotic and beautiful as an experience, and the results are fascinating even at this early beta stage.

Back in November of 2018 I used an alpha version of Spatiate to make my first of what I hope will be many (much more polished haha) videos using the power of this expressive real time graphic affordance for communication. The old adage of ‘show don’t tell’ can take on a real-time meaning and has the chance to totally upend the traditional workflow of shooting video content, in addition to eventually evolving the nature of language itself.

The Exponentials Are Here

Here they are, The Exponentials, the generation once weakly called 'Z', the ones behind the millennials. For the Exponentials technology is not interesting in and of itself. They grew up in an Aether of internet with phones faster than supercomputers of old. Starting in the 90s we began to separate. Each year of being alive in the Exponential generation looks different from the last in enough profound socio-technical ways that lumping them is impossible. When my 10 year old next door neighbor came over with a robot that balances on its own that you drive with a phone and asked me (27) and my brother (23) if we ‘had this when we were kids’ we could only laugh and explain that when we were kids computers weighed 15 pounds and gyroscopes cost thousands of dollars. He didn’t really understand.

Exponential technological change has created a segmentation of experience between generations that takes years to change, not decades; and it’s getting faster.

Let’s quickly compare a 6 year old’s general technological landscape since 1990:

A child born in 1990 (me) used a computer plugged into the wall that was a heavy box when they were 6 years old and a very text-heavy internet at 56k dialup. A child born in 1995 could have had broadband internet allowing them to upload and download rich media. A child born in 2000 could have had wireless internet and a laptop to work with and a few more videos with some social media blossoming up. A child born in 2005 had wireless internet by default with multiple communication and networking channels all in rich media. A child born in 2010 can potentially access virtual reality and definitely has omnipresent smartphone access with infinite communication channels, 3D printing access, and even access to entirely new kinds of money. A child born in 2015 will have mixed reality headsets and holographics, intelligent inferential computing, potentially even 4D reactive printing materials, quantum computing access, ‘action voxels’ such as synthetic biology and swarm robotics, their real-world becoming programmatic.

This is why the only generational definition that matters is Exponential. Each ‘childhood’ experience is now defined by vast leaps in technological capability. Each specific experience looks different in what tools and toys are around. Yet each childhood experience is unified by a dark thread: the unaddressed trauma and cost of the weight of human action on the world.

The Exponentials are here, they swim in the Internet and they think with each other in rich hypermedia as their default way of being. There is no lost dream for them, no economy that should be working better, only the tools to build a better one. They care about the real, deep issues and they have little luxury for distractions on rat races and exploitation. They can’t be told to stop because they have too many resources for moving forward. They don’t just appear on talk shows, they make them daily for fun. For them technology is used in context, yet not marveled at as its own achievement. Only the actions matter. There is no other option than deep social reform.

The teens of Parkland are our signal. The Exponentials have arrived. These brave humans are riding the ripples of convergent technological ability to fix real and very old issues. We waited for super heros when they are already among us. The Exponentials are already working, picking up on the threads left behind by the previous generations. The Exponentials have no distinctions between what is allowed and what should be done. They care not for titles and honors, only for the safety of their friends and loved ones. You cannot convince them that the world is ‘ok’ and they should just wait it out because they know better, in their hearts and minds. They cannot and will not stop until the world has been cleaned up. They are articulate, able to query global expertise at the tap of some fingers, and soon with merely looking and thinking into EEG readers on their headsets.

Each year the technological tools at their disposal will only get exponentially more powerful. Their networks will only get exponentially more interconnected. The movement is here. The Exponentials have arrived.

It is all other generations’ duty to help them and invite them into the meetings. They’ll find their way eventually, so let’s network with them now. Millennials, drop your cynicism, let go of your shields. Forget the faded vision of capitalism past. Join your brothers and sisters of the Exponentials to create a golden chain into the new future. One where we do not hide from trauma, nor wallow in it, rather network with each other to transform trauma into action. A world where we know only two things: problems are inevitable, and problems are solvable, together.

The real exponential change of our time is in the people ourselves: we have the means to communicate with light and radio. There is no more need to stay in the shadows. Rise up and find the others. Rise up and we are uplifting the world.

The jewel of our age, the ones who swim in cyberspace as fish, unaware of the novelty of their medium, these are the ones who will connect the dots. The Exponentials are here. Let’s get to work brothers and sisters, the next phase has begun.

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If you are an Exponential, check out Teens Dream video contest & social platform as an avenue to get your goal out there and connect with other change-makers.

I helped start this contest back in 2014 under the Global Co Lab which I'm on the board of. Connect with me for more info.