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.
Tags: AR, ARLab, Augmented Reality