Augmented Reality

Ever heard of it? Of course you have. But if you haven’t, here is the quick Wikipedia summary:

Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.

The most identifiable example is in football where the line of scrimmage and the first down line are projected onto the field. Viewers are watching the football game in real time, and computer graphics are blended onto the field as if it were actually there. Got it?

Just imagine the applications. Imagine going to a foreign country and going sight seeing. You pull out your camera phone and point it at a museum, and suddenly the name of the building hovers over your live camera picture along with descriptions about the history of the museum and the cost to get in. And then right there on your phone, you could purchase those tickets. Imagine if instead of a museum it’s a movie theater and you could see what movies were playing and watch trailers of them. Having trouble imagining? Here is a video from CES 2008 where Bill Gates shows of the technology.

Intel showed a similar application of the technology where a device was used to translate street signs from a foreign language to English. But this is just the start. I can imagine this implemented first on cell phones, but imagine it in eye glasses, contacts, or even implanted on your eye (creepy, but it’s bound to happen).

Imagine instead of using a GPS in your car, a line was actually laid over the street itself. And maybe you have to park a long walk away from your destination. That’s no problem because once you exit your car, that line is still in front of you, leading you right to the front door. And when you leave, maybe you don’t remember where you parked. But, there’s that line again…

If you are a designer reading this, you should try to stay on top of up and coming technologies like this. Who do you think will be designing those lines, deciding how long a phone must be pointed at an object before it brings up data, and deciding how that data looks? That’s right—someone else, unless you keep on top of these things.


Here is a link that will allow you to demo the technology yourself, but you need to make sure you have a web camera and and a printer.

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This entry was posted on Friday, June 12th, 2009 at 12:33 pm and is filed under Advice, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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