If you were bitten by the Pokémon Go bug two years ago, you might have found yourself walking around town with your mobile device in hand as you try to catch virtual creatures and store them inside Poké Balls. You can then let them battle other virtual creatures inside Gyms which are in fact specific landmarks around your physical location. The secret to Pokémon Go’s erstwhile success lies in its use of augmented reality which adds virtual information to a player’s natural environment. But as not many mobile users are playing Pokémon Go nowadays, what’s the state of augmented reality in 2018? Some answers which don’t involve Pokémon Go at all are as follows:
1.) Shopping for furniture will become easier thanks to mobile apps utilizing augmented reality.
Furniture shopping used to involve hoping the couch you bought would look good in your home. Otherwise, you’ll have to either immediately replace it with a better-looking couch or accept the fact that you’ve made a terrible decision in choosing the piece of furniture.
Swedish furniture brand Ikea would beg to differ though as they’ve already put out a mobile app named Ikea Place last year for iOS users with its Android version rolled out a couple of months ago. Ikea Place lets you scan the floor of a room where you want to place a piece of furniture, choose one that you like from the app’s catalog, and virtually position the item itself to get a feel of how it would look in case you buy it from an Ikea store. You don’t have to deal with regret in purchasing what eventually turned out to be an ill-fitting piece of furniture anymore.
2.) Driving around an unfamiliar place would become a more engaging and safe experience.
Maps and atlases used to be a driver’s best friend when it comes to familiarizing themselves with a certain unfamiliar location. The Internet then eventually replaced the printed informational tools as a driver can now easily look up any useful information about a certain place using Google and its Maps application. However, using your mobile device while driving is dangerous and can get you caught in a vehicular accident.
Tech firm Nvidia had launched their Drive AR interface last January as part of the annual Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada. The said augmented reality driving interface aims to deliver real-time information about a certain location as well as any points of interest that you might want to check out. Nvidia Drive AR would also create alerts that would flash on your vehicle’s windshield in case there’s a road hazard nearby. While Nvidia has yet to release their augmented reality driving interface anytime soon, it looks promising based on its two main features as mentioned. Cases of distracted driving might even drop once the Nvidia Drive AR becomes available to the driving public.
3.) People would start wearing augmented reality glasses like they’re normal.
Even before Pokémon Go had put augmented reality into the spotlight, Google had already been trying their hand at the technology since 2013 with Google Glass. The tech giant essentially designed the pair of smart glasses as a hands-free device where you could see all virtual information under a small prism and access its interface by sliding your finger across a touchpad located on the side of the device itself. However, they had temporarily stopped the production of Google Glass but then resumed putting it out last year – albeit for the use of industries such as aeronautics and healthcare, to name but a few. There’s no word yet as to when Google would relaunch Google Glass to the consumer public.
Meanwhile, Microsoft had also put out their version of Google Glass known as the HoloLens, though they’ve also yet to put it out for public consumption. Another pair of augmented reality glasses that has yet to hit store shelves since it’s still in development mode is the Vuzix Blade which comes with a voice recognition function.
The main challenge surrounding augmented reality glasses is not so much their functionality as the above-listed examples have already been making use of the said technology just fine – though of course, some improvements to user interfaces as well as the introduction of other relevant functions can pop up in the next few years or so. Rather, augmented reality glasses have to look less conspicuous and more similar to how most ordinary eyeglasses look like for the consumer public to wear them without looking like a cyborg.
Thanks to Pokémon Go, augmented reality had broken out from the confines of tech expos and suddenly made its way into the mainstream. However, its success would eventually prove to be short-lived as most of its players have since moved on to other games. One thing’s for sure though: Augmented reality is stronger than ever in 2018 even as Pokémon Go has yet to experience a resurgence in popularity. After all, there’s more to augmented reality than just catching virtual creatures on your mobile device as the above-listed current applications of the technology have shown to you. So no matter how augmented reality would surface in the mainstream scene once again, the technology is here to stay for good.
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