Even if you still didn’t know anything about Augmented Reality (AR), surely you hear about Pokemon Go hysteria. But what about the technologies behind this viral game?
Star Trek fans know very well the role of Holodeck rooms on Starship Enterprise. But virtual environments where interstellar crew relaxing is a virtual reality. A fiction, both in film and in reality.
Few know that in 1962, four years before the start of the show conducted by NBC, Morton Heilig – philosopher, filmmaker, and inventor, considered the father of virtual reality, made Sensorama Stimulator, a device simulation that combines 3D image with an audio clip stereo, vibrations, smells and breeze through your hair …
But no one had heard yet virtual reality or augmented reality back then … Hard to believe, but the emergence of the term augmented reality is not tied to game manufacturers and even to the cinema … The man who coined the term Augmented Reality is Tom Caudella, a researcher at Boeing, who seeking an alternative to classical simulation models used by airplane designer to install wiring in the airplane cockpit. Caudella proposed a mobile device that could wear on his head and could overlap schemes cable assembly over board devices.
Augmented reality is a concept where the real world and virtual models overlap in a single image. AR is already included in the top technological trends conducted annually by all major research houses. Recent studies show that AR has already out in the field of applied research and interface gaming platforms and makes its safe steps towards to industrial applications. In very short time AR technologies have proven their extraordinary power of adjustment and applicability in almost all fields, from architecture, engineering, archaeology and paleontology, education, games, medical applications and manufacturing industry.
The AR market growth is spectacular. If this year the AR solution market value is about $1 billion, for 2020 Digi-Capital‘s survey estimates over $ 120 billions in total market value.
Here’s a brief review of few areas where AR solutions can have an important role:
Archaeology: existing mobile apps allow original historic sites by simply screen overlay on excavations or ruins;
Art: special devices help people with disabilities to make simple drawings only by eye movement;
Commerce: AR applications offers many customization options or additional information about a particular product: car color, furniture place in the house, etc; More than 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality by 2020, according to last Gartner’s prediction.
Education: With a simple tablet, students can view particular texts, 3D graphics, drawings, animations, videos or maps printed in new types of multimedia textbooks;
Fashion: “magic mirrors” can help you watch your best makeup and how you would look with a certain hairstyle;
Games: AR technology ensures universal parallel interaction with the player of the game, using a real-world background;
Medicine: Doctors can view different parts of the body or internal organs functioning by overlapping images on the skin; A big impact could have AR technologies adoption in surgery rooms;
Military: From games to reality is not far away. AR applicability become most critical by essential impact in different combat or unconventional weapons simulation;
Navigation: Modern AR systems allow direction and destination visualization directly on a real map;
Sports: AR applications allow special viewings on land demarcations, tennis ball tracking or hockey puck trajectory, increasing the attractiveness of sport;
TV: One of the first AR applications was in the news spots, where weather maps overlay directly on 3D topography.
But the AR future is in the industrial area. Here is an application in the manufacturing industry: SmartFactory is the first research and production project in Europe based on the AR technologies. SmartFactory system combined with ARIS MashZone application running on mobile devices can help production line workers to streamline their operations. Each step of the assembly process can be followed on 3D animations with a simple tablet screen. This instruction method based on AR technology is a key component in the vision of Industry 4.0 open concept.
The AR boom is strictly related to unlimited development areas and to fast growing of new mobile applications generation able to run on any terminal.