“Monocle” by Yelp

Love the One You AR With

7 min readJul 22, 2017


Remember when Yelp added the "Monocle" feature? It used the iPhone camera and gyroscope. Point it out at the world and it would show you where the nearest restaurants were. Ratings wiggled behind hedges. This was iPhone 3GS era. Incredible. Several years later, a gaming phenomena struck. Pocket sized monsters gamboled across neighborhoods worldwide and millions hit the pavement and parks to catch them. Turn the corner and you could find a Pika peeking. Phone up. Eyes down. Companies considering capital couldn't call coders quickly enough. Compelling as the Go craze was, games, the AR hockey will turn North East with learning.

Affect Speed

Hike! The ball enters your hands. You drop back, 1,2,3. The tight end cuts back but is double covered. There's a man deep with a defender in toe. The delayed blitz arrives on the weak side; a countdown begins. Their star linebacker is quick. You're sacked. "Back to the line." Hike! 1, 2, 3. Man coverage. No spy. Keeper! You tuck the ball and split the seam. "Good call." Coach calls out. Hike! 1, 2, 3. Inside blitz. Play action to the wing. "Good! Let's turn it up to 1.1x." Hike 1,2,3. 2-man rush. Empty it to right side screen. "Good read. Remember to turn from your hips. Like this." Right. "Let's try 1.2x." Hike! 123. Bliz-Sack! "Okay. Not yet, huh. Let's go back to corner route on a few blitz packages. On the line."

“Let’s try 1.2x.”

Currently most learning is paced at 1x speed. What if we could practice at .8x speed to fine tune technique or 1.2x to improve reaction time? With AR, speed is malleable. We already speed up podcasts to 1.5x or smart-skip silence to pack more words into fewer minutes. With AR, we could run simulations with accelerated digital elements and fit more practice reps into shorter periods of time. Developing proficiency at with augmented speed could make real time feel like slow motion! Or, we could just learn a more, quickly.

Frick Collection

Added Presence

"Welcome to the Frick Collection. This is the dining room. It holds some of Mr. Frick's most prized pieces and if you look over to your left you'll see Mr. Frick reclining in his favorite chair enjoying a port, his favorite after dinner past time. Right now he seems to be studying Rembrandt's 'Abraham and the Angels'. Perhaps you'd like to know what he finds so fascinating." Actually, you're more curious about the port he's chosen! Next, imagine you are sitting in your living room. Your tutor is set to arrive. You hear a knock on a door. You get up and answer your door. Right there on your doorstep is a digital person. “Hey Ariana!” Ariana asks if she can come in. “Sure, you can have a seat on the couch.” When you step aside Ariana crosses the threshold, walks by you, and sits on the couch you’ve pinpointed. “¿Como estás hoy? ¿Estás listo para continuar la lección?” You have two weeks to get ready for your new placement in Oaxaca.

Compete against a hologram of your personal best.

AR can put anyone in the room. Pikachu was just the beginning. Plant your lawyer into the room when things get dicey. Have lunch with a luminary. Brunch with a celebrity bot. Telepresence presents a new business opportunity. Advertisers will seize the chance to insert their brands into the experience. Kimoji meet Tupac hologram meet ad tracking. Pay for time with a blue check bot or go cheap and deal with pesky suggestions that you should download a new 3D sticker pack or try the restaurant's latest vodka cocktail, Furious Tide. Subscribe to an online therapist and meet every other Wednesday to discuss your existential questions. Take your training to the next level by competing against a hologram of your personal best with recorded time lapse sessions. Practice your presentation against an entire audience of hecklers. Never go Michael Richards. Who do you need? AR proudly presents Anyone.

Bodies Exhibition

Training Scenarios

You're about to go into a surgery. You have already prepped with an MRI to walk through key points of the procedure. The digital rendition was based on data collected from the actual patient, cross referenced with an outcomes forecasting engine updated regularly with your subscription to Black's Anatomy and Physiology. You make a cut and observe how the intestine might respond. Bowl puncture! Shit. Undo incision. Rotate the torso and see how far in you can cut without damaging the organ. As you follow through the steps in slower motion, you leave notes for yourself. Now, with the real patient on the table, you have the experience of 6 attempts with notations for consideration. Your team has read through your notes, watched you perform the surgery, and added their input. Prognosis just went from 37% success rate to 52%.

AI-Assisted Outcome Engine? Can It Run Crysis?

The best training mirrors what we actually experience. Simulations offer an excellent use case for AR training. AI-assisted outcome engines could become a marketplace to extend training opportunities. The better the data, the better the training. Engineers could apply environmental engines to stress test designs against flooding or the Tohoku Earthquake of 2011. Police academies could partner with firms to compile their data and create engines to train officers in preferred approaches to de-escalate conflicts. Teachers can run simulations in undergradate demo rooms to test theories of development and behavior. AR can make training more accessible and much more relevant.

“What’s her name again, Gary?”

Surface Information

Fans are roaring in the nose bleeds. Your friends stand with you, life-long devotees. As the ball glides from midfielder to striker, a colorful streaks follows behind it. Names light up and stats update as each player gets a touch. When you're ready for a drink, a quick pan of the stadium shows where all the concession stands are, their options, and their estimated wait time. Too long to wait, pay a little more and have a vendor come to you with exactly what you want. Want something that isn't offered, let the stadium know. They track these things. As the striker strides closer to the penalty box, a stat rises with the probability of goal! Next question, where's the bathroom?

“Your own personal Gary Walsh”

Surfacing information in real time serves purposes from entertainment to enterprise to education. Teachers could track student progress through assessment then use that data to overlay a heat map of student needs in the classroom to prioritize contact time in the following lesson. With a gesture, architects could blow up a sketch to life size to see what the view from that window could really be, adding centimeters to the design right then and there. Never forget a client's name with your own personal Gary Walsh. What information would best serve you right now. Ding! There it is.

iMac Rear End


Virtual reality is exciting. Slobber-inducing demos tickle our Jetson senses. Welcome to Star-Trek. When VR arrives, Oaxaca will come to us. Training will come to us. Museums will come to us. VR will not arrive with tension-sensitive controllers or gyroscopic treadmills. VR will arrive on a lie-flat bed with a single cable plugged into a human monitor like some ideal iMac. VR is realistic fiction that lives in a relatively distant future.

AR is accelerated reality.

Augmented reality is applicable. It is real movement through real spaces. You are standing in a real coffee shop, looking over a real menu, asking a virtual tutor how to order a real café con leche, for which you will pay real money. You are running drills on real turf with a real ball while getting feedback from a real coach on how to respond correctly to virtually rendered defensive schemes. You are at 1 East 70th Street NY for real, walking through a real parlor, with real paintings on real walls, discussing a real bottle of port with a fictional Henry Clay Frick. AR is accelerated reality. And, it will be knocking on our doors sooner than we think.


Much of these scenarios flow right down the crapper when limited to 5.1" handheld screens. It just doesn’t work as well. The only viable place to carry these features is specs. That’s why companies are doubling down on the tech despite slower adaption and less enthusiasm. Maybe they’ll consult with the Warby Parkers of the world to add some aesthetic flare to the headhelds. We certainly don’t need another Puls in our hands.




a polite rebellion