Augmented Reality: the future is getting closer

In our New Media Masterclasses people often ask how how the future looks like. Things are happening so fast nowadays, one can only dream of the possibilities lurking at us in the next few years. Many people can’t grasp it today, let alone tomorrow.

One of the things always good for a few ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ is Augemented Reality. But what is it anyway? According to Wikipedia, Augmented Reality is:  a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.(see full article here).

In plain English: enhancing images (through your phone for example) with computer-generated information linked to the object in the picture. So if you walk in a supermarket and you meet an old friend but forget what his name was. Just look to him through your phone and his name, hobbies, latest tweets, Facebook profile and blogposts pop up, around his head.

Still a bit vague? Just watch this short videoclip:

Check more cool stuff from them here.

So Augmented Reality looks pretty SciFi. But will we actually find a use for it? I certainly believe so. How about the ingredients and nutritional value of stuff you buy in the supermarket? Or showing you the way to your location? Or what about gaming? And the funny thing is, Augmented Reality is closer than you think. Just check out here. Print out the Solar Panel Marker, hold it in front of your webcam and amaze yourself.

Rumor has it that Apple is working on Augmented Reality for the iPhone as well. If there is one platform which could create a truly amazing user experience it certainly is Apple. At this moment Augmented Reality apps are being rejected rom the App Store, and being told that they have to wait for iPhone OS 3.1. That people can’t wait is obvious, looking at the below video:

It’s a small start, but it’s there. It’s coming to an iPhone near you soon. And if that happens, the beginning could look like this:

I can’t wait…

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