In case you missed it, augmented reality was one of the most talked about tech trends of 2016. Well, it had to be considering its vast potentials. From wearables to toys and application in medicine, Augmented Reality was the subject of millions of dollars in funding.
Augmented Reality was made more popular in 2016 by the worldwide boom of the Pokemon GO game. Ironically, it is said that the game is more of location-based then augmented reality. This did not stop the game from surpassing 100 million downloads.
While it was brought more into consumer space in recent times, Augmented Reality (AR) is not exactly a new technology. In fact, the term ‘augmented reality’ was first coined in 1990. Even farther back is the day AR tech was invented — way back in 1964 by Ivan Sutherland, a Harvard associate professor.
What is Augmented Reality?
Using google’s define tool, to augment means to make (something) greater by adding to it. While reality is defined as the state of things as they actually exist. Bringing the two definitions, augmented reality seeks to add more detail to the real world as we know it.
Augmented reality allows users to interact with superimposed graphics, audio, and other sense enhancements over a real-world environment and in real time too.
If you’re a sci fi movie buff you may have seen a semblance of AR before. Remember Minority report? Well if you don’t, at least you can remember Iron Man. Those computer stuff Tony Stark does with his hands is an example of the idea of AR.
It is safe to add that at the stage, AR hasn’t developed as shown in the movies. Users still have to communicate with the computer-generated environment through phones, tablets, Heads Up Displays (HUDs) etc.
For example, a colouring device can have kids draw 3D images that sit on their real-life kitchen table. Then adjust the image to blend in with the real environment.
What’s the difference between Augmented and Virtual reality?
In virtual reality, the user is cast into a virtual world. There is little chance to interact with this virtual world from the real world. With AR, the user is fully conscious of his environment.
Both technologies are however common as being the subject of many recent innovations. Virtual reality is now used by real estate companies to take buyers on property tours without having to be there in person. In January 2017, USA ex-president Barack Obama and his wife used VR to take viewers on a virtual tour of the White House.
Augmented Reality: The Future
It’s hard to fully gauge the potential impact augmented reality will have on innovations. One thing I know is that, it’ll be huge. Personally, I see it as a footpad for much more inventions in the years to come. Already toy makers have gone on the train to design some of the most sophisticated toys in recent history.
The application of Augmented Reality in healthcare will be revolutionary. The technology will monumentally enhance their ability to diagnose and treat conditions by allowing them to access real-time data and patient information faster than ever before.
There have been many cases where doctors just haven’t had all the information. With Google glass and soon-to-be commercially available technology such as Microsoft’s HoloLens doctors learn about the human anatomy, but also help them diagnose patients more effectively by overlaying CT scans and other imagery onto a patient’s body.
Augmented reality glasses are also expected to be on the rise in the near future. I expect more of the tech to be included in gaming. Where characters can interact with their favourite video games.
In Nigeria, there is no place for augmented reality at the moment. This might be because the field is fairly expensive to work. It’ll be interesting to see augmented reality apps and devices in the near future.
All in all, I expect something like what Tony Stark owns soon. Maybe, someone will build the suit too, after all, Facebook owner, Mark Zuckerberg, has attempted making JARVIS.
A Freelance writer, Tech enthusiast, Anime fan, Nice guy