The World is your canvas.
Your mobile phone now is a 6-inch piece of glass which allows you to order lunch and pay for it as well. Did you ever imagine doing that on your ancient Symbian-powered candy bar 10 years ago? These days, you don’t have to worry about milk boiling over and spilling on your countertop – you can get an electric coffee maker for the price of a shoe. These advancements come in all shapes and sizes. Some start of as gimmicky and are deemed unnecessary (you still need that vessel if you want hot milk and not coffee) but with enough up-gradation, you realize that we can’t live without the convenience. Why should I bother purchasing a scanner? An app takes care of all that…
Which brings us to Augmented Reality, a technology which has been teased around long enough in the science-fiction flicks of the 20th century. Movies like Blade Runner, Terminator and Robocop showed wide-eyed audiences how practical usage of this technology is totally bonkers. However, before going into detail, let’s start with the basics.
What is Augmented Reality?
Think of any object sitting on your desk, for example, your pencil. Would you like to get cool facts, such as where it was made? Which wood is used to make its graphite casing? What does is weigh? Whether John Wick had his hands on it? A proper AR application works in the following manner:
- You point your camera at the pencil.
- The application scans the object in the viewfinder.
- It displays all the relevant details on-screen itself.
Think of the Iron Man’s Heads Up Display (also an AR application) telling him the current speed he’s flying at. Or the integrity of his armor when he’s tackling super-powered robots and sinister extraterrestrials. That’s how augmented reality works – displaying every possible relevant information about your surroundings by simply pointing at it with an electronic apparatus.
Why does it matter?
Frankly, it doesn’t matter to us now. We have lived without the gift of AR since the dawn of time. Modern AR applications are limited to clicking pictures of objects and scanning them separately. Real-time analysis and output can only be achieved by advanced hardware that manages image processing on the fly. We’re not there yet. It’s akin to cars – we’ve just made the first petrol-powered engine. Getting to electrically-powered vehicles will take time.
And once that happens, get ready to imagine a world where AR has limitless possibilities. Want to know how good that barista’s coffee is? Look at the shop and your spectacles will display relevant reviews and ratings. Want to purchase a jar of jam but can’t locate the price tag? Doesn’t matter, AR will find that out for you.
To be honest, we’ve actually progressed quite a lot. Gone are the days of Monopoly and Carrom. You can now play fantasy role-playing games on any flat surface live, complete with an army of trolls living in straw huts. Worried about not being able to tell how a sofa will look in your living room because you’re used to online shopping? Retailers have applications that can place a non-existent couch right in your house. Your bitmoji dancing on your lap? Surprise! Snapchat utilizes AR.
The future is here. Sort of. Until then, keep one eye on that milk.