According to Wikipedia (and I simply loathe quoting Wikipedia because I imagine the top tier to be a bunch of smart, snarky, nerdy Bill Gates type who will eventually make more money per day than I will in a lifetime) augmented reality is using computer generated data and graphics to supplement your physical, real world experience.
Right now on many airplane pilot’s windshields are computer generated graphics that one would expect in an Xbox game such as Call of Duty. Yet, these are real and here today. In fact this photo is a simulation of windshield augmented reality gone wrong.
The intention is to make augmented reality windshield for future cars a safer driving experience. For instance a windshield (with the user of laser and cameras on the outside of the vehicle) may be able to outline the road stripes so that during fog or a snowstorm the driver can keep between the lines.
Also night vision apps will allow drivers to see pedestrians or deer that may wander across the road. The misuse of augmented reality windshields of course is advertising and like texting while driving there will be measures in place to keep the driver focused instead of distracted.
Of course augmented reality is not only on windshields, but the cell phones that we have today will play a major role in augmented reality now and in the future.
Some of the highlights of the near future (like the pilot’s windshield) is that General Motors (and even BMW) have already worked out many augmented reality realities such as night vision options on the windshield, recognition of the side of the road on the windshield during foggy weather and basic instrumentation readings that don’t interfere with driving and actually aid in driving so all of the information is right in front of your face without the need to turn your head away such as yelling back at the kids that you’re about ready to pull this car over is they don’t stop misbehaving.
Now, texting while driving is a felony within the Universe as we know it, so this will most likely not be a part of augmented windshield reality (unless you can find a decent hack online).
Some of the power of the cell phone and a 4G network (I can’t wait for 7G either and the 10-bladed razor where the first 9 blades put out the root of my whisker and the last blade cuts just above the root) will be that you’ll be able to play board games (bored games) and do crossword puzzles like never before. In fact, cheating will become the norm and who will need Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in the shootout at the Okay Coral of chess tournaments when you have an iPhone or Android phone, a 4G network and IBM’s Watson in the background whispering to you the next moves?
Also, the augmented reality of a cell phone may actually help print media such as magazines from slowly shriveling into oblivion (like a scared turtle in cold water) as they have been doing for years. In the future, by taking video or photos of magazines with your cell phone extra info not found in the physical magazine will pop up like where Charlie Sheen is headed on the whoring and drinking circuit and is it really Okay to liposuction your big toe or other body parts. Static magazine pages will come to life with 3D images of people speaking in audio on your cell phone or laptop.
Some of the apps developed for cell phones will let you augment reality by taking a picture of a building and know the history of the places, GPS coordinates, prices and items they have to sell and who is inside including their Facebook profiles and most recent Tweets. In fact, this is being developed right now.
Now augmented reality is not the same as virtual reality. With augmented reality, you are still in the physical world which is augmented with computer generated graphics, images, text, video and other information one may find on the Internet. With virtual reality you will actually step into a world and interact directly with a combination of reality and fantasy based upon computer generated data.
Tired of playing Xbox in 2D, well 3D is about to hit the marketplace on cell phones and TV laptops. In fact, in the future you’ll be able to project your Xbox games into a room and do a little interactive virtual reality Wii version until you are virtually killed or actually too tired to play.
Imagine virtually training for boot camp in your living room before you actually join the military. Or perhaps you’re a business type of person who is holding a teleconference and you’ll have ability to virtually step into someone else’s boardroom and interact with them.
Back to Augmented Reality
With this same boardroom setting with augmented reality you can also scan all the members in the board room and know their biographical data plus of course Facebook info and latest Tweets displayed at your discretion (or digression or even digestion).
Another cool feature of augmented reality is the 3D instruction manuals that can be displayed in real time for products you have to assemble. Need to replace a fuse on your microwave or ink in your printer? Just look up the instruction manual on your cell phone which will guide you in 3D on how to change the fuse without blowing yourself up.
You’ll still have to use common sense, like don’t put tin foil or your cat in the microwave when you’re working on it and by all means unplug the device before starting your project. But, alas, my dear Horatio (as Shakespeare might say) technology will never dictate common sense.
The Future of Augmented Reality
Well, television of course will be a near future use of augmented reality. Just like Google TV and other services are now merging Internet and television, augmented reality apps such as those used on the cell phone are soon to follow.
You’ll be able to know instant data in real time about the stars on the shows you watch along with biographical data and historical data about the show.
The military will also use future augment reality to save lives in battle zones. Before ground troops go into enemy territory, drones will already have scouted the area using augmented reality to tell information about building structures and even do facial recognition comparing it to terrorist databases. Troops themselves will also have cameras and video on the ground with more detailed information about people and places.
Future space travel will be the same. Of course scouting spaceships, telescopes and other sensors will need to pioneer ahead to input data. But, space tourists and those who colonize the Moon or Mars and beyond will have the benefits of have vast information about a territory before leaving home.
Future augmented reality will also aid in teaching. Imagine a 3D avatar of a college professor popping up above your iPad and lecturing you about whatever subject interests you. This technology is in the beginning phases and will be refined in the future and will most likely give way to virtual classrooms. With augmented reality, though, you’ll be able to scan everyone in your class and fine out biographical data about them. Knowing someone’s status of “single” or “in a relationship” may cut down on a lot of embarrassment and time wasted.
Future eyeglasses, sunglasses and other eyewear will incorporate augmented reality in so in public you won’t have to be obvious and hold up your cell phone or camera to take a picture. You’ll be more stealth and will have the same readout about people and places that are just now taking shape in the cell phone market.
A Side Note
Now, the last point I would like to make is that I hope a developer will design a cool app that will turn my Honda into an augmented reality Lamborghini (I can’t wait for the virtual reality version to come out). No really. Get on it. In lieu of this I would like the app developers out there to come up with an actual chick magnet. I imagine it would be sort of like a Star Trek tractor beam. Then again, perhaps all I will attract is a farm tractor. Anywho, I will just load up my augmented reality breast enhancement app for a day at the beach and be a happy camper. I would be willing to sign up for a beta tester on this one. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?
Augmented Reality – from our blog category on this subject.
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