When plain ol’ re­al­ity just doesn’t cut it any­more

HWM (Singapore) - - Ed's Note - Zachary Chan Ed­i­tor

New vis­ual tech­nolo­gies have al­ways been the most in­ter­est­ing to me be­cause of the sheer im­prove­ments each gen­er­a­tion brings. Think about it, au­dio is great, but qual­ity com­par­isons are en­tirely sub­jec­tive and there re­ally hasn’t been any­thing that’s made as sig­nif­i­cant an im­pact since MP3s came around and rev­o­lu­tion­ized digital au­dio more than 20 years ago.

Vi­su­als how­ever have gone from strength to strength. From black and white to color; from 16 col­ors to 16 mil­lion col­ors; from 480p stan­dard def­i­ni­tion to 4K ul­tra high def­i­ni­tion; from 2D to 3D. Today, science fic­tion is be­ing re­al­ized, where one can step into and in­ter­act with be­liev­able digital worlds through vir­tual re­al­ity.

How­ever, what I’m re­ally ex­cited about is the nascent aug­mented re­al­ity (AR) in­dus­try. There have been many at­tempts to bring AR to the con­sumer space and Google’s ef­forts have prob­a­bly been the most pub­li­cized, from the short-lived Google Glass back in 2013 to the smart­phonebased Tango of today.

What’s so great about AR any­way? At the very ba­sic level, AR pro­vides real-time in­for­ma­tion over­lays to real-world en­vi­ron­ments, giv­ing us in­stant, re­ac­tive data points. More ad­vanced AR, such as Google’s Tango em­ploy mul­ti­ple sen­sors that can an­a­lyze en­vi­ron­ments in full 3D space, which is the clos­est we’ve come yet to mass mar­ket ro­botic sight en­hance­ments.

Now, that’s cool, be­cause I’ve al­ways wanted Ter­mi­na­tor vi­sion.

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