I’ve been reading a lot about “Augmented Reality” lately. Just the other day, I saw this beautiful short film titled ‘World Builder‘, that also depicts this powerful holographic technology to express the fusion of the physical and virtual worlds.
Augmented Reality (AR) is basically the combination of real-world video imagery and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time. The GE Smart Grid demo uses AR (must watch the video). It’s a fascinating technology, and I think it has a lot of potential in the consumer space as well.
Some startups (like Layar and Wikitude) are already developing AR geo-interfaces (GPS based) for mobile phones, which would allow anyone to simply point their phone camera in open space (say a market-place in a new city you are in), and get a location-based interactive perspective (say the landmarks, ATM’s, or pubs near you) through dynamic recognition.
Zugara’s Augmented Reality & Motion Capture Shopping Application (demo video) is also a neat example of things to come.
Nokia has also been building this technology on more than a decade of academic research into mobile AR. Nokia researchers have been working on real-time image-recognition algorithms as well; they hope the algorithms will eliminate the need for location sensors and improve their system’s accuracy and reliability.
One day, in the genuinely not so distant future we will live in two worlds; reality and augmented, neatly combined into one.