The great MScape

I blogged previously about the HP Event in Lisbon and briefly mentioned the MScape technology that HP are working on. I’m going to give it a little more coverage as I think it is worth looking at and could be used for a lot of things in Ireland.

Mscape is HP’s location based software which adds a layer to the landscape around you via your mobile device. Right now you need a Windows Mobile device with a GPS signal for it to work. In Lisbon, two applications they built for us were a giant version of whack a mole and a tourist guide to the park we were going around in. With the tour guide, as you walked into an area an mp3 would load and it would display pictures, but over time this could trigger any kind of software application I would guess. Loads more details about their Lisbon escapades on their blog.

There’s a good deal of hippy thinking with this from HP with a community building up around their forums, they have a blog and the software and dev kit is free to download and use. There’s also a wiki.

The attitude I got from the really friendly HP Labs staff was “here’s a new type of platform we put together and please be our guest to play and fiddle and try new things with it”. Now i’m not comparing it to the web, but it does seem to have that attitude where it is maybe not up to them to create the killer app, but us and they are happy for us to use their layer. Some people have already made interactive art installations with the software, the usual tour guides will be in abundance and I can see special guides for those with learning difficulties, helping them do their daily tasks and it might finally get the kids off the couches and way from the XBoxes while still allowing them to play digital games. I wrote about this in the Tribune last week. Imagine sending the kids down the park to play with the dinosaurs.

I think future versions of MScape will hopefully seem them embrace more operating systems and other location aware technologies and not just GPS. RFID, Bluetooth, GSM etc could also be used for interacting with landscapes too. I’d love to do a few walking tours of say Fota Gardens and maybe old World War 1 battlefields in Flanders.

Here’s what other people have to say about MScape:

ShinyShiny review:

2 Responses to “The great MScape”

  1. Andrew says:

    Finally, I way to play whack-a-mole in real life without fear of arrest.

    I actually remember seeing this technology on ‘Beyond 2000’ years back…
    It involved a guy trudging around with a tower strapped to his back, him wearing those naff Lawnmower man VR helmets and what looked like some kind of plastic Nintendo power glove.

    Why are these things missing? Where is the future I was promised?

  2. BT says:

    We’ve been using our own version of this type of software here in NYC for some time now. We offer tourists a “GPS Tour Guide” for New York City.

    Our capability includes mp3 and pictures, plus video and web/html (and a digital gps map).

    One aspect of using our system that customers have reported is that it is sort of like a “Treasure hunt” – not only does our system play an mp3 (as you report HP’s M does) – it also alerts you to things that are near to you that you might want to see.