Eighteenth year of the 21st century is now underway and considering the speed of the progress of Information Technology in this millennium, every year from now on promises to bring whole new technological advancements with them. Since the inception of smart phone the IT firms were very much working to advance the smart phone itself while the nerd community was waiting for the next big thing.
It was not very long ago that the innovators came up with the idea of “Virtual Reality” and we saw headsets and smart phone apps supporting VR technology. In 2016 when VR was still a new thing and people were starting to get used to it, the bright minds of the world came up with something more engaging. The thing we were seeing in sci-fi movies for a very long time, I am talking about the Augmented Reality which is not a science fiction anymore.
Augmented Reality often called as “Mixed Reality”, is the combination of Virtual and Physical World. It is basically adding virtual species to the physical world. Off course it needs some type of headset or eyewear to work as of now. AR is not as new as it seems to be. It debuted in 1968 but here will talk about the time when it really came into normal people lives. In 2014 Magic Leap announced the biggest AR investment till date, 50 Million US Dollars. Also the same year Google announced the first wearable device for consumers the “Google Glass”. In 2015 AR and VR investments reached 700 Million US Dollar mark, which increased to 1.1 Billion in 2016 and expected to reach $162 Billion in 2020. If we look at the statistics of investment they themselves prove that 2018 has to be a milestone year for AR technology.
How AR headsets work?
As of the products already announced, these headsets have sensors which allow digital reconstruction of the physical surroundings. That allows the virtual objects not just to be present in the view but also to interact with the physical world. Talking about the AR devices in the last two or three years will help us in knowing what to expect this year.
The mind-set differs from company to company but all the high tech companies know that a light wearable device is the next big thing. Starting from Google, what started as a geeky science project ended up becoming an object of ridicule. The biggest sin of the glass was looking weird. It soon became just a product used by a nerd to read emails and take photos faster.
There was nothing much to do with that. Google hoped that people will take this technology and develop applications to maximize the usage of it like Apple’s iPad. Even Apple didn’t know it would be so cool to have an iPad until the tons of applications came and used the device to its fullest. Since 2017 companies have started developing AR applications and it can only get better in 2018. Microsoft on the other hand went with more power rather than sleek design. They launched Hololens and it also received mix reviews.
Magic Leap which was formerly a secretive company working in partnership with Microsoft and Google, have announced their own MR headset named “Magic Leap One”. For me it is the biggest thing I’m looking up to in 2018. They are also launching an open-sourced creator portal for the developers to interact with their device and create applications and games which can fully utilize the potential of Magic Leap One.
The reason why these AR devices have not blasted the charts or revolutionize the way technology works is not because of the hardware. Yes the hardware also needs more work and eventually it will come down to independent, wireless and light weighed spectacles, but it will take time. The main domain to work currently is the software. Not many people are developing the applications for AR. From last year Google, Apple, Facebook, Magic Leap and other giants have started working to build a platform for the developers to work create magic with these AR hardware. Mozilla tasted a slice of success, in experimenting Web AR on iPhone. They demonstrated an experimental version of a Web AR model in a conference.While there are many other companies working on their AR headsets and the giants investing Hundreds of Billions of Dollars looking to make a platform for their already launched devices, there is one thing for sure. AR technology is going dominant this year and we are going to be blown away by this revolution.
Stanisa Naumovski is the founder of VRheadsets3D.com, site where everything is focused on Virtual Reality.
Prepared and edited by @EdinaZejnilovic, Journalism Student at DCU
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