How Aug­mented Re­al­ity is Al­ready Chang­ing Lives

NOVO - - NEWS - by Aaron Binder

The Sum­mer of Aug­mented Re­al­ity

The

Sum­mer of 2016 may seem a dis­tant dream but in the tech world it will be for­ever re­mem­bered as the Sum­mer of Poke­mon. The feel-good hit of the Sum­mer came out of nowhere and over­laid Poke­mon on top of bald heads, sleep­ing faces and ev­ery other sur­face users could find. It was and still is crude com­pared to what many fu­tur­ists and film cre­ative direc­tors see is com­ing but this foray into the world of Aug­mented Re­al­ity served as a re­minder that we’re just around the corner from much deeper im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences.

AR is still very much an un­tamed genre but there are com­pa­nies mak­ing strides to bring easy devel­op­ment plat­forms to de­vel­op­ers. Right now there is a lot of spec­u­la­tion about what AR is and can do, be­low is an ex­plo­ration of this ex­cit­ing new tech­nol­ogy.

Aug­mented Re­al­ity in Pop Cul­ture

For many, the idea of VR and AR (and don’t for­get Mixed Re­al­ity) still con­jure up mem­o­ries of the clunky 90’s, Nin­tendo’s Vir­tual Boy and the 80’s ver­sion of Tron. A great in­tro­duc­tion on how Aug­mented Re­al­ity could work in the fu­ture is the short film Hy­per-Re­al­ity by Kei­ichi Mat­suda, where the main char­ac­ter nav­i­gates a hy­per-cap­i­tal­ist so­ci­ety of the not too dis­tant fu­ture us­ing deeply im­mer­sive re­al­ity over­lays (https:// vimeo.com/166807261).

This idea of hy­per-con­sumerism may seem far-fetched but aug­mented apps for shop­ping, try­ing on clothes, try­ing on sun­glasses and other as­pects of pur­chas­ing goods are al­ready ar­riv­ing. Mat­suda’s film rep­re­sents an ex­treme ver­sion of aug­mented re­al­ity that few from any cur­rent liv­ing gen­er­a­tion would abide. Fu­ture gen­er­a­tions will likely find the level of in­tru­sion posed by im­mer­sive AR as a wel­come ad­di­tion of con­ve­nience even with a loss of pri­vacy.

While this type of fu­ture tech may one day be­come com­mon­place, what is more likely in the near fu­ture is that we’ll be­gin to see more uses of Aug­mented Re­al­ity sim­i­lar to One World Trade Cen­ter’s city ex­plorer (https://youtu.be/P_gUT9Uvoto). The tower uses iPads to give view­ers a look at notable points across New York’s sky­line, zoom in to ex­plore and get a feel for the city as view­ers are walk­ing around the top of the tower.

AR in the Near Fu­ture

Re­mem­ber Mi­nor­ity Re­port or Prometheus with the cool ges­ture based screens? That’s likely go­ing to be one of the big­gest uses of Aug­mented Re­al­ity and there are al­ready work­ing prod­ucts for those that can af­ford it. The other side of the coin is the re­cent Kick­starter project ZapBox. Rolled out in April 2017, it be­came the first con­sumer grade AR devel­op­ment plat­form on Google Card­board, mak­ing it widely ac­ces­si­ble to mil­lions of peo­ple at a cost of just $30. But these are all visual ex­am­ples so far.

Aug­mented Re­al­ity lends it­self pri­mar­ily to visual en­hance­ments but one head­phone com­pany called Dop­pler Labs has re­leased what it is call­ing the world’s first Aug­mented Re­al­ity Ear­buds, the Here One. Us­ing phone soft­ware, users are able to con­trol sound in­ter­ac­tions from mul­ti­ple en­vi­ron­ments

which led to one par­tic­u­larly hu­mor­ous and crass re­view from Ale­jan­dro Tauber (https:// the next web. com/ apps /2017/04/07/ here-one-ear­buds-real-fu­ture-of-ar/#.tnw_ Ixgkhxwn). If you’re a James Bond gad­get fan, this is wel­come news, you’ll now be able to block out your friends if they try to spoil any film plots in front of you – although how this helps take down an in­ter­na­tional plot to take over the world may not seem as clear yet.

AR in Health­care

As ro­botic and VR/AR tech­nolo­gies con­tinue to ad­vance, they will in­evitably be­come mar­ried to­gether in many health ap­pli­ca­tions. While re­mote ro­botic surgery (http://www.bbc.com/fu­ture/ story/20140516-i-op­er­ate-on­peo­ple-400km-away) has been used for a num­ber of years now, Aug­mented Re­al­ity of­fers the ca­pa­bil­ity to add in­for­ma­tion over­lays dur­ing surgery.

Duke Univer­sity has started prac­tic­ing with the Mi­crosoft Hololens ( https:// techcrunch. com/ 2016/ 10/ 10/ duke-neu­ro­sur­geons-test-hololens-as-anar-as­sist-on-tricky-pro­ce­dures) to in­crease pre­ci­sion dur­ing tricky brain surg­eries where there may be low lev­els of vis­i­bil­ity and brain tis­sue can’t sim­ply be pushed aside. AR com­bined with ro­botic hands will pro­vide surgery where small hands will glide through minis­cule in­ci­sions while the sur­geon ob­serves a screen with real time pa­tient in­for­ma­tion dis­played. Imag­ine it was only in 1967 where the first heart trans­plant took place and started by hack­ing

open a chest – just 50 years later and we’re look­ing at re­grow­ing tis­sue and mon­i­tor­ing it with holo­grams, thank­fully leav­ing the hack­saws at home.

Vir­tual Re­al­ity may have taken an early lead in the AR/VR de­bate but Aug­mented Re­al­ity is cer­tainly catch­ing up thanks to its in­creas­ing con­ve­nience and use­ful­ness. Poke­mon Go proved that AR can be highly mo­bile much like a plethora of Google Card­board apps. Its fu­ture ap­pli­ca­tions, how­ever, will reach much deeper as con­sumer brands be­gin to adopt it in stores, as the med­i­cal in­dus­try con­tin­ues to im­prove pa­tient out­comes and even­tu­ally as users bring it into their homes – who wants to clean up af­ter a dog any­way when you can sim­ply dis­play an aug­mented puppy?

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