We have shifted from black and white to color, and from silver-based film to digital, 2D to 3D, a screen ratio of 4:3 to 16:9, etc.

During the industrial era (era of mass media)

We sought to quantify the numbers to better control a given situation. It was a rather abstract process that consisted of placing the figures in comparative columns. Then, from 1800 onward these columns were diagrammed to facilitate assessment of the amounts.

With the knowledge-based society (participation era)

The figures are so huge that saying “billions” doesn’t really mean anything per se. Now we realize that people must « see » to understand the amounts and be aware of the situations they represent. The visualization process is becoming more concrete : Knowledge maps, business dashboards, document capsules ; the beginning of the era of the intelligence of the eye (chapter 9, no 5).

After 2020 (?)

We are learning to tame the factor of time, comparing past-present-future relative to an arrow of time arcing towards the future. This visualization will then better simulate or model the dynamics of increasingly complex crises through the use of Long data. We will soon enter the stage of 3D, where the spectator can become an actor because the information they are placed IN (virtual reality helmet, 360 degree screen or domes, etc.) via an immersive interface (chapter 2, no 6) :


Living IN Information

A variety of 2D and pseudo-3D technologies are pushing us towards the 3D HDTV, 4K TV, the Internet Battlefield, smart home theatre, the triple play, surveillance technologies and Optical see-through.

The future of the new 3D industry is initially being brought into focus by the gaming industry. However, it’s useful to realize that we are now entering the third generation of interfaces :

  1. generation of PCs : the mouse and keyboard ;
  2. generation phones and smart tablets with their touch screen ;
  3. 3D generation begins to use high resolution screens, motion sensors and requires a processing huge amounts of data in real time. (See platform OpenGL).

Th most delicate manoeuver is the transfer (re-filling) of fuel in mid-air between two airplanes. Pilots train for this manoeuver using modelled images :

The dream began long ago with Jaron Lanier (before 1980) and continued in particular with the appearance of the Wii and Heads-up display system interface in the new generation of fighter aircraft.

The beginnings of this industry :

  • The screens :
    360 screens, domes screens, etc.
  • Environments :
    certain public spaces for festivals or blockbuster shows (the ceremonies of the Olympics, for example), interactive municipal furniture (eg the Montreal sound-swings project) and the media façade.
  • Virtual reality :
    a realistic vision of an artificial world (Google Glasses, Oculus Rift by Facebook, Morpheus for the PS4 and GearVR by Samsung). This allows you to visit a house you may buy
  • Augmented reality :
    a display device (HMD) combining images generated by computer superimposed on real-world images (the HMD Magic Leap at Google, the HoloLens at Microsoft, the live at HTC, etc.)
  • The 3D tracking :
    a monitoring program of people in a given space (follow an athlete in a sport given for example, analyze the journey of a patient in a hospital or an enemy on the battlefield).


We are moving towards much more immersive environments. They are likely to triple the emotional impact of the viewer while encouraging them to become actors in those environments.