When we last looked in on interaction designer Jinha Lee, he was developing the See-Through 3D Desktop for the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group. Last week Lee, who's pursuing a doctorate at MIT Media Lab's Tangible Media Group, posted a video showing a potential retail application for the set-up: Called WYCIWYW, for "What You Click is What You Wear," the interface would allow the user to virtually try on wristwatches and jewelry.It's not difficult to imagine applications beyond watches; I think of all the sneakerheads lovingly gazing at floor-mounted mirrors at a nearby kicks shop. And while the current thinking is that augmented reality will consist of roaming users wearing devices, as with Google Glass or Canon's Mixed Reality System, we're guessing tethered systems like Lee's, limited though their functionality may be, will also have their place. Having a hardwired WYCIWYW monitor will simplify power and connectivity, for instance, and provide retail outlets with a measure of control they'll likely enjoy. It also would be neat to see this installed in public libraries and adapted into a digital version of the Bookwheel, with the added bonus of being able to virtually mark up, tear out and rearrange pages to your heart's content.
Sadly, this may be the last project we'll see from Lee for at least two years. He's on hiatus from his MIT studies as he hails from South Korea, and recently returned home to fulfill that country's mandatory military service. Jack Shepard's military journey may be over, but Lee's is just beginning.