See the 'Stranger Things' Upside Down in Augmented Reality

Friday, 05 January 2018 - 6:25PM
Virtual Reality
Science of Sci-Fi
Friday, 05 January 2018 - 6:25PM
See the 'Stranger Things' Upside Down in Augmented Reality
Netflix

Anyone who's seen Stranger Things will know that it's unwise to enter the Upside Down flippantly. The air in this strange alternate dimension is poisonous, and the terrain is filled with venomous plants and deadly Demogorgons.

While the Upside Down may look eerily familiar (possibly through some form of quantum entanglement between dimensions), nothing is safe, and everything is a potential hazard waiting to trip you up and wrap you in tentacles. This isn't a fun place to hang out, so, naturally, someone has built a way to access it.

Thankfully, this isn't a mad science experiment that threatens to bring the Demogorgon or Mind Flayer into our world, but rather an augmented reality project, created by AR enthusiast and YouTuber Matthew Hallberg. Hallberg is known for creating quirky AR experiences, as well as detailing the process of their production in tutorials, so that everyone can get in on the fun.

In a short Instagram video teasing his latest creation, Hallberg shows off the experience of stepping through a doorway into the Upside Down, where the Stranger Things-inspired logo naturally rotates until it, too, is upside down.

Check it out below:




While in the AR Upside Down, the user can look around, viewing their world through a dark grey haze, from under the shade of a big, creepy tree. It's also possible to look back through the doorway into the real world, and once a person has finished exploring, they can step back through the way they've come - or, it they're feeling boring, they can simple take off their AR headset.

Augmented reality is, in all likelihood, going to prove more useful in the immediate future than virtual reality. There are simply too many big problems with VR that developers haven't been able to solve yet, not least the fact that most users feel nauseous after only a few minutes wearing the headsets, thanks to the disconnect between the fantasy virtual world and the player's own inner ear.

AR escapes this problem entirely, by keeping the user's sensory experience firmly in the real world, but adding in extra details to make things more exciting. Either the user is entering the Upside Down, or they could do other things, such as relying on a Heads Up Display that points out important things in the room, like a kind of Iron Man helmet.

There's a benefit to AR beyond simple gaming - the technology could have myriad uses in the business world, as a user could essentially have multiple tabs open within their head, as if navigating a web browser. It'd be possible to embed a small video screen at the bottom of the user's vision so they can Skype while walking around town, or they could bring up Google while talking with a client without having to break the flow of the conversation.

Or, alternatively, this technology can be used to send someone to the Upside Down. In fairness, this is probably the coolest use of this emerging technology.

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Science of Sci-Fi
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