Augmented Reality and the Future of the Internet

  • iReviews
  • February 27,2017
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The tech world is asking, “What’s the next big thing?” With the Augmented Reality (AR) industry estimated to reach $90 billion in 2020, the answer seems pretty crystal clear. No matter what sector you look at (business, education, healthcare, IT, etc.), the innovation compass is pointing directly at Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) as the next big disruptive technological evolution. It also seems like the most logical step in moving the Internet forward.

AR & Next Technological Revolution

According to Kevin Kelly – the founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, “Technology has its own agenda.” We can certainly put certain constraints on its direction, but as Kelly so eloquently explained in his TedxSF talk, “Scientists took the Darwinian process of natural selection and put it into computer systems.” In other words, technology is going to evolve, whether we like it or not, and now it just depends on “What does technology want next?” With the sudden uptick in consumer technology integrating AR, VR, and MR into their prototypes, the future appears to be here now.

“VR plunges people into new worlds, AR plasters the digital world over top of the real world.”

 

With zero limitations on how far AR, VR, and MR can go, the impact will be seen almost immediately. Just imagine having a digital classroom capable of producing a hologram of Abraham Lincoln delivering his Gettysburg Address. Or while putting together an Ikea entertainment center, you’re able to follow the step-by-step assembly process with the help of a Swedish product engineer. Or imagine as a first-year surgical resident being able to visually inspect a 3D holographic version of the patient’s organs prior to an appendectomy. Being able to interact with a three-dimensional space will have perpetual application – whether it’s sports, art, travel, business, health care, or entertainment.

 

Still in their prototype phase, here are three AR/VR/MR consumer technology products about to disrupt countless industries:

#1: Microsoft HoloLens Mixed Reality Headset

Microsoft HoloLens is “the first self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to engage with digital content and interact with holograms in the world around you.” By combining both virtual reality and augmented reality, HoloLens allows you to overlay 3D holograms onto any real-world backdrop.

 

With its built-in sensors and a full suite of mixed reality apps, your 3D holograms can be controlled with a gaze, gesture, or voice command. From moving the cursor by tilting you head to opening apps with the close of a hand, HoloLens offers an entirely new way to interact with the digital world. If navigating through a sea of office documents proves to be arduous, just simply speak to Cortana – your digital assistant – and she will locate the earnings report prior to your presentation.

 

Designed as an enterprise solution, Microsoft HoloLens uses mixed reality as the vehicle for collaboration with colleagues, clients, vendors, etc. Your Skype contacts, for example, can seamlessly overlay right above the objects on your desk or in the middle of the office floor. If that’s not cool enough, imagine being able to fine-tune a set of floor plans without physically going on the job site. Or adjusting the safety features on a new consumer technology product without needing to physically handle the model. Whether it’s altering a prototype or seeing plans from every possible angle, working in 3D affords so many opportunities to work smarter, faster and with greater precision.

#2: Atheer AiR Glasses

With its 50-degree field of view and 3D gesture interaction, Atheer has created the most powerful augmented reality glasses on the market today. The enterprise-ready smart glasses visualize and interact with data using motion detectors. The best part about the AiR Glasses: they can be used as an enterprise solution. Whether it’s training new employees or helping a mechanic complete complex repair work, AiR Glasses are the most intuitive, hands-free device that will eventually change the modern workplace.

 

Powered by AirOS, Atheer’s glasses have dual vibrant 3D-depth RGB cameras allowing for a fully immersive augmented reality experience. As a premium AR device designed specifically for a wide range of industrial applications, the AiR glasses are poised to take over the next generation of computing. The Android compatible interactive smart glasses are engineered to boost productivity in the workplace and at the same time, collaborate with industry experts.

 

Atheer offers two major platforms: AiR (Augmented Interactive Reality) Glasses and AiR Suite – a cloud-based application running on AiR Glasses and other smart glasses (Vuzix, Recon Jet, ODG, and Epson). According to Atheer’s website, AiR’s smart glasses platform is “designed to enhance the productivity and safety of desk-less professionals at Fortune 1000 companies.” How does it do this you ask? Thankfully, Atheer’s gives us an inside peak into the day-in-the-life of a hypothetical mechanical engineer working for a private luxury airline and using AiR Glasses to fix a highly complex electrical issue.

#3: Brain-Controlled Software that Integrates with AR/VR Systems

The way we interact with our smart devices is going have an entirely new meaning in the next decade. Instead of wearing an AR or VR headset and waving or closing our fists to interact with digital content, soon we’ll be able to just think of turning down the temp on our Nest Thermostat and it’s done. Or imagine being able to interact with an Excel spreadsheet by commanding your thoughts. Please add the totals of column B and column C.

 

Boston-based startup Neurable is designing a nuanced brain-controlled software and when integrated with AR or VR systems, allows people to interact with devices with their own thoughts. “Our vision is to make the standard human interaction platform for any hardware or software device,” founder Ramses Alcaide said.

 

Neurable is able to harness your brain activity, make sense of your thoughts, and then store that information. Called a brain-computer interface (BCI), Neurable’s core innovation, according to TechCrunch, is “a machine learning method that could cut down the processing wait so that user selection happens in real time.”

 

With a groundbreaking way to measure brain activity and an AR/VR industry growing by leaps and bounds, Neurable hopes that all major headsets will come with built-in EEG sensors. That would mean Alcaide’s cutting-edge BCI technology would position itself as the most sought after companion software for AR/VR devices.

 

Source: Futurism, TedxSF