Augmented Reality: Future, Present or any of them?

       Augmented Reality is becoming popular amongst CV researchers, marketers, final users and even investors. However, one question remains unsolved. Is this technology enough developed to be considered as today’s technology? or does it still need deeper developments to be ready for normal use? One thing is clear, the present or the very close future of Augmented Reality is far away from the “Minority Report” screens seen in movies.

       Despite the fact some people think Augmented Reality is a technology targeted to the future, the current mobile processors already allow AR to be used, breaking the idea of AR being a closed technology which can only be applied successfully in a very controlled environment crowded of constraints. Due to these powerful processors Computer Vision algorithms which previously could be only run in Personal Computers now, can run on smartphones and Tablets, and they pass Augmented Reality to reality in current devices.

       It is true that there is still a huge world to be discovered, but the Computer Vision’s branches ported to Augmented Reality such as Image Recognition, Image Tracking or Object Tracking, or the latest developments in Augmented Reality Browsers are allowing AR to break into current applications with a good response from the final user. However, there are still some people that think Augmented reality is not still useful because users are limited to have a smartphone or a tablet and they must maintain specific constraints meanwhile the application is running, as could be seen in the last Augmented Reality Event. I personally agree up to a point with previous assertion. Playing a whole game or seeing a whole movie can be uncomfortable for the user to keep almost quite, or focusing to one point for a long time, but this can be thought as next steps to be improved in the field.

The current subbranches of Augmented Reality already available are not developed, or have not still been developed to be used for long time, but rather for final purposes like advertisement or sales, in which in a short time the user receive more information than the one shown in the real world. Imagine that you are walking throughout the street and you use your ARBrowser for knowing which is the cheapest restaurant close to you, or the next bus stop, or you are in the cinema trying to choose which movie you are gonna watch and you point with your mobile to one poster in order to see the trailer and users’ reviews. In these situations there is no need to stand still for a long time, and is in those kind of situations AR is considered ready for use. Regarding the presence of Augmented Reality for educational purposes, this cannot be a problem, since it can be implemented over a Personal Computer and a webcam, without being then limited to uncomfortable user positions for long time, or specific mobile devices.

        The progressive presence of companies working in the field, not only for final user applications, but also for providing the tools for developers is delivering AR to more people, specially mobile developers who have no idea about computer vision. This allows these developers to integrate in their applications some AR features in a “fast and easy” way.

      All the explained before gives sense to the claim of Augmented Reality being a technology of today which is ready for use,  at least as AR is used nowadays and for the purposes is focusing now, like advertisement, education or even simple games. But the question is, will AR grow in a “common sense” way? Will next improvements be focused in futuristic movies and not so related with real use? or can it even be forgotten like the case of old touch screens? This is something ambiguous, and we will have to wait until AR reaches that expected point to be able to answer it.

Do not forget to check out our AR Browser and Image Matching SDKs.

Tags: , ,
Posted on: 4 Comments

4 Responses

  1. Piotr Kulaga says:

    In the main, I agree with your assertions that consumer grade and especially hand-held device based AR is still very much at the stage of: get on the bandwagon and enjoy the attention generated through hype. However, countless examples of non-trivial professional applications exist and present tangible value in enabling or improving various HCI processes. At large these require a more cumbersome set-up than an app alone could provide, but in context of their usage this rarely presents a prohibitive barrier.

    For example, a few years ago I developed a very practical AR application for 3D design model critique situations. “Natural Mode 3D Design Preview” employed ARToolkit to facilitate navigation of the 3D preview and hands-on interaction with multiple elements of the model through direct manipulation of proxy markers. The aim was to free casual users from the reliance on skill and dexterity requirements of the conventional 3D and CAD User Interface. The prototype proved to be a compelling proposition enabling active engagement of clients and stakeholders in town planning and infrastructure design scenarios.

    Since then, a number of implementation and technology variants of this paradigm have emerged, which could be readily adopted for real world applications and only the pragmatism and business culture in the likely candidate industries stands in a way of their wider adoption. Indeed the ARlab article discusses the strengths and capabilities of related object proxy tracking techniques. To visualise my application, imagine multiple CAD model elements and a landscape which occludes the real world background (the table in the ARlab illustration) linked to one of the proxy objects being tracked.

    In other words, my reply to the question: ‘will AR grow in a “common sense” way?’ is YES, it is growing up (in basements, garages and college labs) and it will benefit from both, the hand-held gimmick applications and the development platforms which enable their development, in addition to constant capability improvements of the supporting hardware.

    • Jose Dolz says:

      Hi Piotr.

      Thank you for your response. As AR technology provider, we also think current examples of professional applications improve HCI processes and change the user experience in a very positive and non invasive way. This fact together with the constant enhancements on the supporting hardware, as you said, will allow to AR to grow up.

      Hope to see you in future blog entries!!

  2. [...] via Augmented Reality: Future, Present or any of them? – ARLab Blog.Tweet [...]

  3. [...] with a good response from the final user.This is a coarse approach of the article published at…Post   Add AnswerBIU     @    UpdateLink to [...]

Leave a Reply