In simple and fundamental terms, the expression augmented reality, often abbreviated to AR, refers to a simple combination of real and virtual (computer-generated) worlds. Given a real subject, captured on video or camera, the technology ‘augments’ (= adds to) that real-world image with extra layers of digital information. Those of us who enjoy watching television coverage of sport will already have experienced a basic form of augmented reality in action. Picture the cricket pitch on which a logo for a well-known sponsor miraculously appears or an Olympic swimming race where a line indicating the position of the current world record holder appears ahead of the competitors moving frantically through the water.

The uses are quite extensive, be it entertainment value (Games, face app filter, etc), training data for ML models (Motion capture for face recognition and body motion), training and maintenance applications to aid the trainee/technician in their job, aiding architects in design, marketing and sales in promoting product/services, etc.

AR Demonstration for Talking Devices by Xarpie Labs

As aptly put across by Micheal Abrash, both AR and VR are converging technologies. At some point in the future, we will have that one wearable lightweight device that is capable of augmenting virtual objects onto the real world or transporting the person onto a virtual world. It will have a field of view of over 140 degrees, resolution of over 8K per eye. And with 5G around the corner, Google Stadia like services will be able to stream data in real-time with minimum latency.

AR Demonstration for Executive Office Chair by Xarpie Labs

Google and Apple are already building the ecosystem for future devices with ARKit and ARCore, and rumour has it that Oculus is also working on AR. If this isn’t the future, I don’t know what is. I strongly believe that this device will a true successor to the iPhone and will change the way we communicate, socialize and work in the future.

Video Credits: Visveswaraya Industrial and Technological Museum & Indian Foundation for Arts – Talking Devices