Explosion of Augmented Reality

April 06, 2010

The bomb of Augmented Reality (AR) has been dropped and the explosion is like that of a simmering volcano that has gone super nova! The future that we saw through the eyes of Director Steven Spielberg in Minority report is fast becoming our present reality. In its simplest form, AR is a combination of common technologies that have become largely prevalent today – a camera, a GPS device and a data connection to the internet.

The WOW factor is not in how they work individually but the power they unleash to the user when they come together. Imagine being able to look through the eyes of a camera and know what you are looking at from any perspective you can think of. The layers and context that can be added to this vision are simply exponential.

From locating the nearest train station to real time time updates of its arrival, searching for available real estate for sale, recognizing a face and looking up their social profile, searching for tweets around your location, playing games, reading children’s stories and so much more! It’s the tip of the iceberg really!

Brands too have embraced AR in a big way!  With ING Bank showing you the way to the nearest ATM, Doritos creating the world’s largest AR execution,  Adidas turning their shoe into a game controller, Lego showcasing the product inside in its final form to GM using the windshield o provide useful information mapped out on the real world. These are just a few examples of what’s happening in the world of branding with AR.

If I take a bird’s eye view of things I see AR as part of a larger trend towards a mixed, fused reality! Whereby it would be difficult to tell apart where does the virtual world end and where does the real world begin.  On the technology side I am seeing some developments like this wireless glove mouse from these two students from MIT inspired by Tom Cruise in Minority Report to a wearable robot that will transmit and share a sensory emotional experience virtually while communicating online. This future of a blurred-mixed reality is nothing less than science fiction turned into everyday reality.

Just to give you a peak into things to come check out this fascinating demonstration from Pranav Mistry again from MIT! I assure you this is unlike anything you have seen before!

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