Augmented Reality

Google Glass

Google Glass (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)

What does market research on augmented reality have in common with science fiction? Many of today’s hot technologies covered in market research reports, such as augmented reality, are based on things envisioned decades ago by science fiction writers and creators. For example, the original TV series Star Trek inspired the design of the iconic wireless clamshell-shaped flip phone and the first home computer. Augmented reality enhances the perception of reality by assimilating digitized information in the observation of the real world through computer-generated sensory inputs.

Like these and numerous other technologies, augmented reality appeared in fiction long before its development. Author L. Frank Baum, who wrote the Oz book series that includes The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, introduced the idea of augmented reality in 1901 in The Master Key. In his story, a kid gets a pair of specs which show him the good, bad and evil in people. Almost 90 years later, the term ‘augmented reality’ was coined by Boeing® researcher, Tom Caudell, who used it to describe a digital display used by aircraft electricians. Since then, augmented reality has been used in a number of computer programs and technologies, but its full potential has yet to be realized. Destined to bring changes to the world in a dramatically amazing way, augmented reality shows possibilities that are beyond comprehension.

Given this, it’s no surprise that analysts and experts predict tremendous global growth for augmented reality across a variety of markets and industries within the next few years. One of the key factors contributing to substantial market growth is the increasing demand for an enhanced user experience. Consumers are also taking note. The sudden surge in the hype of augmented reality is due in part to smartphone applications that have elevated general public interest. With tech giant Google® at the forefront of what is positioned to be one of this century’s disruptive technologies, its massive project, Google Glass™, is now making headlines. Closer to becoming reality, yet still in the research and development stage, Google Glass is rapidly boosting augmented reality to the stature of awe-inspiring technology with far-reaching effects.

As if taking a cue from the The Master Key, Google Glass is head-mounted wearable technology, with, of course, an appealingly edgy slim and small design. In brief, using Google’s Android® operating system, Google Glass uses wireless Internet access and voice recognition along with a tiny computer display and camera, to augment reality. Visual displays result when a verbal command is given by the wearer. For example, saying, “Glass, take a picture” will capture an image, or “take a video,” will capture a video of what’s in front of you, which you can share and/or store. With the help of Google Glass, directions to a certain location, or information on places, things or a person can be displayed immediately into the glass.

In May 2012, Google released the first Google Glass demo video, a filming experience of recording a 720p HD video with augmented reality display. In February 2013, Google released a demo video to the public showcasing the first sights and experiences of someone wearing and using Google Glass. Amidst the media frenzy and excitement within the technology community and beyond, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, has stated that Google Glass still has a long way to go. In fact, he claimed that despite the huge response from the tech world, the success of Google Glass is far from assured. In Sergey Brin’s own words, “It’s by no means a done deal yet. If it is, maybe I should retire.”

Isn’t augmented reality amazing? Access to information as well as information sharing has never been this readily available. It will change the way we look at the world and how we interact and communicate. What do you envision? Will augmented reality glasses eventually evolve to the point where, as author L. Frank Baum conceived over a century ago, they will enable wearers to see the good, bad and evil in people? Here’s something to think about—what would happen if you combine augmented reality with facial recognition, next generation graph-search technology, and advanced artificial intelligence (AI)? While we may not yet envision the massive breadth and depth augmented reality will have on business and on the human experience, we do know this: augmented reality will open up a world of futuristic possibilities.

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One Response

  1. A very insightful, detailed and well researched write-up. Made a lot of concepts crystal clear. As for me, many of my questions have been answered.

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