If you haven’t yet heard of Augmented Reality (AR), then brace yourself for a game-changer. Unlike virtual reality which attempts to bring real life into a virtual world, AR overlays artificial information about the environment and its objects onto the world we live in.
Augmented reality is a “live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” You may have seen early forms of AR on your cell phone. There are several apps out, such as the night sky app, that recognize an image, and project new data on top of the image. With augmented reality, the possibilities are both endless and entertaining. Business cards, for example, are changing forever, with personalized secret messages only visible through the AR spectrum. Check out an amazing example below.
AR has gotten some dull reviews, and critics say that it’s not all what it’s made out to be. Everything that we’ve seen up until today has merely been scratching the surface, as preliminary AR technology could only read still images. Google, Apple, Samsung, Sony and others are working on various devices that unleash AR on a constantly moving and changing world.
Soon, you will be able to shine your AR device at one of your favorite athletes in action and instantly obtain information about them. The device will recognize the athlete, and provide you with vital stats about him or her. Displayed on the screen of your tablet or phone will be his or her height, weight, where they went to school, even their stats from this season. Talk about gettin’ in the game.
AR apps will allow us to point a device at a distant building and instantly gather information about it. What is the name of the business? How long has it been around? What are the hours of operation? What is the phone number? How far away is it? All readily available on your screen.
Toyota is working on implementing Augmented Reality into windows on future models of cars. On the passenger windows, you will be able to actually zoom in to distant objects, identify them, read facts about them, and even draw doodles on them.
It starts to become a creepy-awesome hybrid when facial recognition technology is introduced, which it soon will be. Your AR device will have a database of people you know and how they look, and will be able to point them out in a crowd. This real-time technology would potentially reveal what they studied, where they went to school, their job, their interests, and who knows what else! This would definitely help out when you run into what’s his name, but is the convenience worth it?
You will basically be constantly filming and being filmed at the same time. Not always desirable for many; but is it really much different than other types of surveillance (both for security and for advertising) that are being implemented worldwide?
There are many issues to keep in mind. Could GPS and Augmented Reality have a reverse effect on the world? Could we begin to become out of touch with the real world? How many people would know how to navigate about without a handy GPS helper? What would happen if super-convenient technology that we constantly rely upon malfunctions or becomes inoperative? Do you have any other concerns that this technology brings up? There’s certainly a lot to keep in mind as we move forward in a time unlike any other in history.
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