Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mozilla Labs Introduces "Aurora", The FireFox Of The Future

Mozilla Labs and Adaptive Path have unveiled their spectacular new Web 3.0 concept browser, codenamed Aurora.

Aurora has been designed with the intent of creating what Mozilla feels will be the Web of the future, featuring an integrated Web and desktop environment. "With Aurora, we set out to define a plausible vision of how technology, the browser, and the Web might evolve in the future by depicting that experience in a variety of real-world contexts."

Aurora (Part 1) from Adaptive Path on Vimeo.

The Aurora browser demonstration shows a highly advanced way of collaborating data between two users from information gathered on the web. The information gathered and collated as "objects" can then be seamlessly dragged and dropped on to the desktop and dynamically manipulated.

The video shows two people (Alan and Jill) working in different offices comparing rain reports. In the demonstration Alan invites Jill to join him on a weather report page, where they each highlight important bits of information on the page for each other.

The video follows Jill as she enters a 3D visual bookmarking system in which related pages are grouped by cells, modeled after cells in the human body. Recently opened pages appear closer to the screen, and gradually fall back the longer they're ignored.

Aurora shows what could be a potential integration of all your desktop, web, networking and communication needs.

The guys at Mozilla Labs and Adaptive Path are quick to point out a few notes and points of clarification about Part 1 of Aurora:

  • This is not a demonstration of a real product. What you see in the video is a visualization of our ideas created by animators. Technologically, much of Aurora would be difficult or impossible to implement today. However, we expect everything you see to be possible in some form in the future.
  • We don’t expect this kind of change to happen all at once. There are many intermediate steps we’d expect interfaces to take between the present day and Aurora.
  • There’s a difference between “lots of stuff” and “clutter”, and the difference is relevance. In the spatial view, distance communicates time, but opacity communicates contextual relevance. If something isn’t relevant to what you’re doing right now in Aurora, it literally becomes invisible. When you change contexts — like moving from a music feed to a news site — the relevance of objects changes, and their opacity shifts accordingly.
  • The device Jill uses in Part 1 is real: It’s called the Novint Falcon, and it’s a 3D haptic controller. It not only allows movement in three dimensions, but it also simulates forces and textures. It’s currently being sold as a gaming peripheral, but we think it has the potential for broader applications. We didn’t work out exactly what the haptics of Aurora would be, but from the presence of the Falcon you can assume that it has some.
  • Yes, there are easter eggs.

For more information and videos on the Aurora project visit Adaptive Path.

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