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What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) refers to instances where the digital world is overlayed and interacting with the real world. It’s where the balance between the unreal meets the real, and with that can create some spectacular experiences for users.
AR is not to be confused with Virtual Reality (VR) where a person is submerged fully into a virtual world.
Holy cow has this thing taken over the mobile gaming world… This is the rather addictive and nostalgic game where people can venture into the real world and ‘catch ‘em all!’ My childhood (and multiple millions) dreams have been made a reality, albeit an augmented one.
The use of Pokestops, Pokegyms and Pokemon spawning into the world has bought many people out of their shells, and reports have said that some people have overcome depression. I have certainly felt healthier through walking at lunch times to hatch more eggs and catch Pokemon!
Everyday surfaces as gaming platforms
Applications in other gaming areas are also interesting, with the growth of technologies like CastAR, which enables you to turn a surface (such as a table top) into an AR gaming platform. Now that sounds fun!
If done properly, I could be playing a battle chess game alike to Star Wars (and who doesn’t want to do that!?!). I can imagine loading it up and playing a friend or family members to games of Jenga when location boundaries are an issue. It could als take the likes of FaceTime or Skype conversations to that extra level.
AR for guest experience
This ingenious approach to driving visitors to a Japanese zoo is a simple plan executed very beautifully.
AR for everyday productivity
Here's an app that I didn’t initially think of, the very handy travel companion of Google Translate. It has the ability of translating things such as signs with the use of AR as seen below.
AR for brand advertising
Blippar is the standout example of using AR with Advertising. It's worth exploring the Blippar app or checking out the website.
Augmented reality challenges
There are problems with augmented reality, the opening warning on Pokémon Go is the obvious one.
Augmented reality can be a distraction to real life dangers, accidents while using the Pokemon Go app have happened, as people are too distracted by their screens.
Currently, the AR that’s readily available to the public market is rather limited, as with all new technologies there’s only so much it can do. But there’s a lot of room for developments.
Augmented reality is likely to be a bigger hit within the next 5 years, at least when it becomes more than a part of a mobile App. With any technology once it becomes affordable at a household level that’s when I think it will be truly embraced.
Microsoft are about to drop the must-have AR gear. The abilities that are on offer (or will be on offer) from this piece of kit could revolutionise design, gaming, interactivity, media as we know it. The first truly wireless AR headset would allow users to create 3D objects live in front of them, almost like a sculpture.
There's a limited amount of apps available at the moment, but with the plans for expansion almost limitless, I'm sure there will be some exciting things coming from this piece of tech.
Augmented reality will trigger developments in marketing & design. Campaigns & associated collateral will become more immersive, potentially also having triggers from iBeacons, an example being that you’d walk past a Starbucks which would alert your phone, you then open an AR app and the Starbucks store projects an offer for a free coffee. Or if Google glass becomes the norm, then a similar guise of a pop out advert would be available. I can also see exhibition stands being more immersive in the same vein.
I can also foresee the application of AR to driving with AR windscreens displaying directions and potential hazards, (unless driverless technology overtakes this.)
I’d also think it would be amazing to have AR glass available on public transport for games and something to entertain or advertise whilst you’re journeying. Imagine an interactive version of Flappy Bird, but whilst on board a train.
This recent Forbes article shows an interesting opinion in making AR and location based games/apps, for good and charitable causes - definitely worth a read.
Dependant on how other entities (i.e. Google Glass) turns out I can see the AR possibilities being huge, however there’s a lot of things in the balance in order to make AR a success. I do fear that the world might become like this visualisation … that terrifies me a little.
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