Augmented Reality… I can’t wait for it to really kick off!

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Videos by Keiichi Matsuda for his Masters in Architecture at UCL 

As seen in the video above the possibilities of Augmented Reality (AR) are endless and only limited by imagination. Clearly we’re nowhere near the type of technology that Keiichi is demonstrating however we’re making quite a sprint towards it.

Nowadays you can easily make Augmented business cards, where if looked through an AR device or piece of software currently available to Android and iPhone smart phones, a digital image, video, or whatever is shown.

Today’s AR is usually programmed by the use of unique symbols or tags. That when seen by an AR device will recognise it as a piece

Augmented Reality gogglesof code containing a URL linking to the associated media. Also some object recognition through the use of computer vision, most notably for landmark buildings such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Pentagon in USA, or the Gherkin in London.

Very early AR systems used to comprise of wearing silly goggles and basically carrying around a full sized computer in a backpack. This used to project a heads-up display (HUD) to display additional information about the world. Technology has advanced significantly since then, and now with the power of smart phones and recently portable tablets like the iPad we can carry around powerful computers systems in our back pockets.

Research is going into developing special contact lenses capable of connecting wireless to devices and overlaying a HUD over our vision. For now for a full AR experience we may need to still settle for some silly goggles (albeit less bulky) but as the market for AR takes off we should see some interesting developments, until one day we may reach a full augmented world as shown in the videos Augmented Reality contact lensabove… without the full-on advertising please.

Of course there are justified reasons for being concerned that we as a species are becoming increasingly dependent on technology and that it taking over every aspect of our lives, however in my opinion this is simply making what we already do more accessible.

Imagine walking around a high street shopping centre, looking at an item of clothing in a shop, you may suddenly find that it is available for a cheaper price online or in another store. Or you’re hungry and want a good restaurant in the area near you, you can instantly check that information. Actions which can easily be done now with our smart phones and 3G, however AR will just make that information more readily available.

When a feasible (and affordable) AR system comes to market in the future I will definitely be considering it… How about you?

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