If we all had a dollar every time a company predicted or claimed they were building or changing the future we could all retire. This time it’s different. Companies like Microsoft, Sony, HTC, and Facebook (via their purchase of the Oculus Rift) have jumped head first into building a new version of two ideas that have actually been around for a few decades: Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). You’ve probably heard of Virtual Reality and may have even seen it in a 1990’s movie like Stephen King’s The Lawnmower Man (New Line Cinema, 1992) or Virtuosity (Paramount Pictures, 1995) . You may have even owned Nintendo’s initial foray into the platform, Nintendo Virtual Boy, or tried it out in one of it’s many arcade forms.
Augmented Reality is arguably the lesser-known sibling of VR but it’s going to be an equally, if not more, game changing technology. Augmented Reality adds computer-generated information as a layer over a user’s real time view. If you’ve seen Iron Man (Marvel 2008), you’ve seen Augmented Reality in action. Think of the graphics that appear when Tony Stark is wearing his Iron Man suit. A more consumer related vision of how this technology might work is shown off in the personal advertising scene in Minority Report. Some real life products have even made their way to the marketplace, Google dabbled in AR with its (allegedly) defunct Google Glass, Nintendo added a few AR games to its 3Ds system, and you can download AR Apps on your smartphone today.
So far, there has been a vast difference between how the movies portrayed AR/VR and what was actually possible. In the movies the technology is realistic, lightweight and seamless. In reality, the displays have been low resolution, heavy, and cumbersome to use. That’s all about to change.
The next generation AR/VR technology won’t be quite on par with the movies but it’s going to be much closer. This new generation of VR will be immersive and engaging – finally bringing users into the game the way every Video Game fanatic has imagined. AR will present real time powerful information and graphics that will enhance how you work, play, travel, and more.
As a marketing and design firm, we’re fascinated by the endless possibilities of these technologies. For this series, we set our sights on AR and the unique realities that are created by overlaying computer images on a user’s real-time view. We let our imaginations run wild with ideas for applications of AR technology in everyday life, work, and play. We hope you enjoy these ideas and that they spark a conversation for more ideas. Thank you for reading – we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.