As augmented reality increases in popularity, some of you may be asking yourselves what it is and how it concerns you. Well, this emerging technology can currently be seen as a minor helpful resource or as entertainment, but as it develops, it may be used in every aspect of our daily lives.
Now, what exactly is augmented reality? Many might think that this is a new technology, however, it has been around for many years and is just now making headlines. AR is a computer-generated image that is superimposed into your view of reality. It is unlike virtual reality (VR) which is a computer-generated reality that you are imposed into, creating a whole new virtual environment for you instead of using the environment that you are already in.
Do you remember the Pokemon Go craze back in 2016? Well, the game, created by Niantic, has the ability to make virtual “Pokemon” creatures appear in front of you by using the phone’s back camera, making it seem like they are a part of your reality. Another example of an app that uses this technology is StarWalk by Vito Technology Inc. This app allows you to point your camera at the night sky and have the names of the stars be superimposed onto the screen. In 2013, Google took its turn with this technology when it made Google Glass, a pair of glasses that would superimpose images, videos, or text onto its lenses. As of 2015, the project has been discontinued.
While there are many entertaining uses for AR technology, more practical uses are also in the works. Inglobe Technologies is a company that is developing an app that can turn any novice into an amateur mechanic. It will do this by virtually superimposing information about your car in the app once you open the hood. This will eliminate hours of research on your specific make and model and allow you to fix the problem quicker, and by yourself.
Another new idea that is still being discussed is the use of AR to speed up construction by having virtual blueprints imposed onto the construction site. By doing this, the workers don’t have to consult the physical blueprints multiple times, instead just pulling it up on their phones and seeing where everything belongs in 3D. Going even further, AR software can be implemented into GPS applications, virtually bringing up arrows on a real-time map of your environment as you travel. With this integration, there may be less confusion and mistakes while traveling.
In the future, we can expect to see the AR industry continue to grow and become further incorporated into our everyday life. As humans, we like convenience and ways to make our lives easier, and AR has the potential to do just that. The possibilities are endless, and we will continue to see it used even more in how we have fun, how we drive, how we fix things, and how we build things. It will be exciting to see just how far this technology can go in the near future.
by Victoria Vitale