Augmented Reality: How Far Have We Come?
Technology today is improving at a rapid pace. A quick look at our workplaces and homes would reveal that many things that we take for granted today were not possible 10 years ago even after the concerted efforts of the best tech minds.
As digital technology continues to grow deep into every into every aspect of our daily lives, It’s only a matter of time before it starts to replace our plain old visual experiences with something a little more engrossing, and here is where the Augmented Reality(AR) will find its opportunity.
The concept of Augmented Reality was coined In 1992 by researcher Tom Caudell .It’s an experience that supplements the real world with a virtual layer of extra information. It is the seamless blending of virtual reality and real life which when executed correctly creates content that blends in with the real world. With Augmented Reality, users are able to interact with virtual contents in the real world, while being able to distinguish between the two at all times.
Virtual Reality’s lesser loved cousin, Augmented reality, has been around for some time now and has in the past tried to find real world applications in Defence, Healthcare, and Education sectors. But unlike the former the tech industry has yet to come up with a concrete plan to unleash its full potential and increase its reach while keeping costs down, but all that is about to change very soon.
2016, as many analysts predict, might be the year for Virtual Reality, but AR is making solid strides towards walking hand in hand, if not over taking it. Microsoft HoloLens, Meta 2, Project Tango are but a few ideas that the tech industry has in mind to bring Augmented Reality to the mainstream.
Microsoft’s take on AR is the hologram-themed augmented reality glass which to quite an extent is the true augmented reality concept that will, ideally, have wearers interact with screens and full-color virtual objects wherever they are. This tech will blur the lines between real and virtual, merging them seamlessly into one to enrich the experience of our daily lives with extra content.
Though the HoloLens project is still at a nascent stage, demos reveal users fixing light switches with the help of virtual assistants through the Skype AR app. The HoloLens also allows you to take an augmented-reality trip to Mars, seeing what a rover might see, projected entirely on the floor in front of you.
Another AR project, Meta, in its second iteration will look to replace monitors from your life.This move if carried out correctly will be both economical and productive. It can also usher in a new era of privacy and security allowing a user secure viewing of content while still being around people. Meta has the capability to produce an infinite number of tabs and screens working at the same time all in front of you like images on a wall with the only bottleneck being your own field of view.
Most promising of the upcoming lot though is the Magic Leap project. The industry estimates this idea to be so big that they have already managed to secure $1.4 Billion in funding at a Kickstarter level, and is already valued at $4.5 Billion. The Magic Leap head mounted device will use a camera to show you the room or environment you’re already in but seamlessly layering in computer-generated objects which would suddenly see a dragon breaking through the wall, or the user fighting a Pokemon battle in the middle of the room against another friend in the room.
Several other uses of Augmented reality are also being explored in the form of Google’s Project Tango which can draw 3-D maps of a room the user is in and detail how a piece of custom furniture or a new wall running through it look in it.
Augmented reality is full of potential, and these are but a few of the applications of this budding technology. Industry big shots believe that AR has more of a potential that VR and could outgrow VR significantly in the coming years. With hardware finally mature enough to support the dream of Augmented Reality many suggest the future might be closer than we think. A future more exciting and fun than you and us could even dream of right now.