Prepare yourself, people. The days of augmented reality are coming 鈥 but not in the way you鈥檇 expect. Earlier this year we told you about virtual reality headset company Oculus Rift, which debuted its new technology by taking you on a virtual stroll through a supermarket. Yup, the supermarket. With literally endless possibilities for this sort of device, this might seem like a letdown 鈥斅爕ou already shop for food all the time, you don鈥檛 need a VR headset to imagine what that looks like. But here鈥檚 the thing: Sure, augmented reality can and has been used to live out a sort of ultimate fantasy escape, but what we鈥檙e seeing now is a shift in the technology towards a much more functional purpose (anybody remember the聽Pinlight AR headset we recently shared?)

Since our last report, Oculus Rift released its headset, and not so surprisingly, people are already starting to build upon the impressive device. Case and point: This new project, led by researcher聽Renato F. Salas-Moreno.聽Moreno has attached an RGB-D camera聽to the top of the Oculus Rift headset 鈥斅爄n layman鈥檚 terms, that鈥檚 a full color picture camera that can measure the contours of a room to create a聽3-D聽map. Bare surfaces like walls, stair steps or the floor are treated like blank canvases, onto which a digital image can be projected. 聽In the demo video we see a Pinterest board on one side of the kitchen cabinet and a Facebook feed on the other.

Moreno鈥檚 Oculus Rift also lets you change the color of things like carpet or walls. Guess you can skip that paint job you and your hubby have been arguing over. If he wants the living room to be navy blue and lime green, all he has to do is pop these babies on and you鈥檙e both happy. And if you want to fulfill your childhood fantasy of having hot pink flooring for a day, you go for it girl!

But bringing it back to the functional element, Fast Design Co.鈥檚 piece on the project聽offers some interesting possibilities that could come into play here: Recipes could be projected聽anywhere in your kitchen or an oven might show its temperature or timer in huge text that could be read from halfway across the room.

This all sounds very exciting and like something straight out of a sci-fi novel, but don鈥檛 whip out your checkbooks quite yet. As it is currently, this project is just an idea in need of some more research and refinement. From the looks of the demo video, the technology is not exactly seamless yet. While still totally impressive that it鈥檚 even possible, the image you see through the headset looks more like a quick scribble in Paint than a professional Photoshop job.

We鈥檙e all for technological innovations, but on a grander scale this augmented reality boom has us a little worried for our sanity. Do we really need to wear goofy looking googles so that we can see our Facebook feed on one wall and our Twitter feed on another? Obviously there is some real potential here, but let鈥檚 not forget about the power of some good old fashioned face time every now and again.

What鈥檚 your stance on virtual reality? Do you think its advancement will be helpful or harmful?

(feature photovia聽Oculus Rift)