Not everybody is familiar with the abbreviation AR, short for Augmented Reality.Nor can most people explain what it is. Literally speaking augmenting reality has been around as long as there has been theatre, costumes and music but when a digital camera, GPS, and a compass make there way into a mobile phone AR takes on a new dimension.
Basically everything that is online can now, via a mobile phone and AR software like Layar and Wikitude, can be layered over your physical experience. Unlike virtual reality where one must completely enter a digital realm, AR simply layer’s the world around you with digital information accessed from the web, seen by a digital lens, coordinated by GPS and positioned with the compass.
The Economist quotes “Trying to imagine how Augmented Reality will be used is like trying to forecast the future of the web in 1994.”
The potential is huge because it’s easy and functional. Imagine someone making repairs to a damaged machine with an image of the instructions next to it, or a first aid doctor getting detailed life saving images floating around a gunshot victim bleeding in the street, or walking into a networking event with hundreds of people and seeing a pop up icon listing work /personal details above their heads and then even being able to create a search profile to find exactly the people you need to meet. It’s like having linkdin and facebook vision. Right now this can be seen through your smart phone but not long from now the consumer prices of getting AR vision in sleek pair of glasses or even contacts will make browsing the world a bit more subtle.
Walking down a city street will be a layered experience. In the near future I can set my sights for finding a job, or a second hand bike or a new love interest. My AR vision cued into my search profile will provide seamless navigation through bricks and stone just like one’s and zero’s through Internet browser. But there will be so much more. Mobile technology in the urban environment is the 7th mass media and has fundamentally new possibilities. We are still thinking in terms of Internet and TV. Like when the first TV commercials aired, they were one single still image with a text, because all we knew before that was radio and print.
This is the year where AR makes it’s break through. Your going to see it appear all over the media. AR will have influence our daily lives and change interaction between people and data. You will see a new layer added to public / private spaces, architectural integrations and efficiency / performance enhancing applications. If your interested in joining a platform for conversations and opportunities in the Dutch AR Ecosystem contact me for details about invitations to the free (but invite only) event hosted by V2_ the Institute for Unstable Media on the 4th of December. There will be demonstrations, speeches and interaction between diverse sectors including, developers, government, commercial, medical, education and culture.
I will leave you with one more AR thought relating to cosmetics / appearances. We all realize how much people care about looking good and staying young; make up, fitness and surgery included. And we also see how fast technology integrates into daily culture. So what if AR becomes so casual and routine that it’s in my contact lenses or even projects from street lamps so i don’t even need a device. My body could keep the appearance of a 25 year old my whole life. I could change my hair color and breast size at the click of a button or maybe i’ve always wanted to have wings.