It is impossible to predict the exact future. Although you are involved creating it. However the experiences of the last months allow a very certain view on what the latest technology in future will be and how the way will be. It is a fact, that life will change similar, like the printing, television, internet or smartphone has done it in history. Therefore, what can we expect?
We can expect a world, in which a trip to the Great Wall of China, to our friends on other continents, to the death strip of former GDR, to the moon or to other bodies is possible within a few minutes. And so that our brain believes, that this really happens.
This fact will have an immense influence on our learning and the common understanding of the world.
In any case the buzzwords „Augmented Reality“ don´t meet it entirely and also don´t provide clarification.
In an exciting market that can be outlined at least with the buzzwords „Augmented Reality“ , both software and hardware are being developed, which are necessary to create the next generation of the mass medium.
Also there are some announcements of small start-up companies, which hit the internet virally with almost unbelievable hardware, it may looks like this step would be arranged between the well-established companies.
Google Glass was and probably still is a flop. However, it has never been related to Augmented Reality, as we understand it. The hype achieved bringing the issue more into focus.
The current developments and acquisitions of big companies show very clear, that this issue isn´t be slipped:
Google took its first step with Google Glasses. With the gained experiences they surely work meticulously on a better solution. That shows the acquisition of the company Magic Leap and the still experimental “project Tango”.
Magic Leap is talking about “Mixed Reality” and develops a hardware to merge digital and real worlds perfectly.
There already are devices available on the market for „Projekt Tango“ and it characterizes itself by a depth-sensing camera with which the device understands environment much better compared to present devices.
At the beginning of the year Microsoft introduced project Projekt Hololens and afterwards deepened and underpinned it on its Build 2015, which appeared very futuristic. There is still no precise date of publication, it only means that it will be published for Windows 10. Everyone, who watches one of the movies and assumes that the technique will work in that way, can imagine that this technique can replace monitors in offices for example.
I came across RealSense technique of Intel for the first time on the insideAR2013 in Munich and yet found the technology very interesting at that time. Intel continued working on it and left an update on the insideAR2014. At that time there were fixed delivery dates for the first end products, at least with a statically version of this technology. This year initial laptops with this technique come onto market and then further smartphones for sure. The hardware is based also here on the depth sensing of the camera.
It is nothing to be heared about Apple. They probably forego big announcements until they present a finished product.
However, Apple bought Primasense, which just developed such depth sensoring cameras (e.g. the first MS Kinect), and Metaio, which writes the software, so that computers can understand the 3 dimensional enviroment. In the same month Apple filed a patent for a new transparent display, on which also digital content can be projected and which can receive and emit information on every point of the display.
Facebook bought the producer Oculus, which works on the development of virutal reality glasses with great enthusiasm. In the meantime Facebook also announced the further development of a Augmented Reality suitable device.
Virtual Reality weist den Weg dorthin
We applied ourself to the perfect integration of digital contents in the real world. Of course it is cool to have a Oculus Rift on the head and immerse into worlds you couldn´t experience yet. However, VR is only a much more better alternative of todays screens. With the big disadvantage, that you notice much less from the real world than starring on the screen today. On the other hand AR means the merging of two parallel worlds, which we necessarily can´t really expierence today. Thus we usually aren´t absend for our dialog partners, while speaking to the virtual partner or the other way round.
For this reason it´s surprising at the first sight, that so many AR agencies jump on the rift and competition product backwagon.
It makes sense as by this step of the VR technology some problems can be solved, which augmented reality today still has:
- Despite many applications AR is still no mass medium. Applications for computers, for e.g. games, already are. That means with the step through virtual reality there is big interest and thus purchasing power of a huge market, than AR could offer it today.
- The creation of contents for AR and VR has major parallels and is completely congruent at some points. That means that you keep in practice as agency.
- VR can answer some problem issues, which also will be at the new medium augmented reality: How must a UserInterface be built up?”, “How do you control it?”, “How do you ensure, that the user has the view over the happening, does not get damaged and can be indicated to the hot spots?”
- The aspect of hardware is also interesting with a view to what Intel, Google, Microsoft and Apple will develop, in which Occulus plays a pioneering role if it´s about questions of viewing angles, fields of vision, resolutions and so on.
At these times it is really important to task yourself with the issue virutal reality.
But the thinking in virtual possibilites won´t overcome us the barriers between the worlds and exactly this is the exciting question for the future: What is possible if my view on the real world gets a new dimension?
What is the benefit of a book if it is borring? Of a television which only shows crap, of a social network if I´m the only one using it or of an smartphone if there is no connection to the internet?
„The best way to predict the future, is to create it“
It is a huge performance to develop this technology and we stay out of it, as at the end financially strong concnerns will decide it by themselfes.
There will be news again on the .Augmented World Expo in Silicon Valley, which starts in these days.
We already live for the contents which will be shown over there. Because we know what we want. Because we were waiting for exactly these possibilites.
At this point I would like to quote Neal Stephenson of Magic Leap:
I am mostly thinking about content. We don`t know necessarily how to make content that`s going to work on this. You can`t just take an existing video game…
There will be success by the contents and we are well prepared for it, as we are asking ourselfes all times, how we can integrate digital contents into the real world. How we can merge both worlds.
And we are really looking forward to it!