What Is the AR Lab?

Recently, I attended an interesting event in Vancouver which explored some of the possibilities that exist with augmented reality. This interesting Future of Augmented Reality Lab featured top industry executives from Google, Apple and Microsoft. It was hosted by Shervin Pishev of Google while Michael Booth of Apple talked about the company’s vision for augmented reality. The event also featured Nokia’s Jussi Lao and Asus’ Harriitt Rinn. I’ll discuss what I learned there below.

Let me start by saying that I believe augmented reality to be one of the biggest trends of the future. Why? Because it takes very little technological know-how to implement the concept and it can be applied to many different fields, not just computer science, engineering or the physical sciences. Also, the idea is incredibly cost effective. For example, you won’t need a separate equipment for each application you use. You’ll be able to seamlessly blend your real world data with virtual information to present a totally new user experience.

Think about cars. Even the best GPS systems can only give you so much information at any given moment. You have to constantly refer back to your maps and determine the position of yourself and your vehicle. With cars using GPS, you could essentially have an on-board navigator. By combining your car navigation system with your eyesight, you would have the capability of viewing the road ahead as if you were actually there.

As the host of the Vancouver event noted, once applications become more widely adopted, this new type of technology will replace many of our existing navigation systems. People will no longer have to look down a pager to see directions. They will be able to use their smartphones as screens that overlay live images on top of the real-world. This means that they won’t even have to look to their smartphones for directions anymore.

Another application is within the automobile industry. Drones have been used to film racing events at various tracks across the country. However, this is one aspect of the sport that most fans haven’t been able to experience due to the difficulty of navigating the complex controls of a remote-control plane. By combining their drones with augmented reality tools, fans will be able to see exactly where their favorite driver is in regards to the track and in regards to time.

Augmented reality can also make its way into the business realm. Companies can now use digital signs to represent their product or service. The information on these signs can include product specifications, pricing and promotions. In turn, the shopper will be able to go straight to the store without having to look around for multiple products or services. Instead, they will be able to immediately begin looking for what they need.

Information can travel faster than ever before. Mobile devices can send text messages, email and even video messages to their users. With this speed, it is easy to imagine how much time that someone might spend on their phone. By combining these devices with mobile-based augmented reality solutions, companies are able to provide customers with even more options and better ways to stay informed.

Augmented reality is changing the way we live our lives. It gives us the ability to see the world from another’s point of view. If you’re stuck in traffic, don’t worry. You’ll be able to stop by your local gas station and ask for directions. You’ll be able to see exactly where your car needs to go before it gets there, even if it has never done it before.