The move towards AR and VR has been a long time coming. While AR is certainly more overlooked than it should be, there can be no doubting its possibilities for both personal and professional use. Most recent among these developments is Google’s support, and the upcoming release, of its patented ARCore framework. This framework allows third-party developers to release AR apps onto Android-based devices. So what is AR, what can we expect, and how does it compare to existing technologies?
AR, or augmented reality, for those unaware, is a system whereby artificial and digitized visualizations are placed over real objects and views. Take the following image, for example.
In this real-life image of a boy in a toy store, the three-dimensional Lego police truck is the augmented reality part. This is a simplistic example of what is possible; in reality, the opportunities and possibilities are incredibly wide-ranging.
What is Next?
When it comes to the future of what is possible with the ARCore framework, we can’t exactly know or predict, as it being released to the public means that the resulting products will be the releases of the unpredictable imagination of new developers. What we have to go on so far, mostly through previews and third-party mockups, paints a picture of a fantastic new world, both valuable and entertaining.
Imagine your own Minecraft world, but which is built within the virtual confines of your own home, or a shooter where the game world is the interior of your living room. There could also be connections to scanning hardware, giving real-time readouts of public information about your friends and virtual costumes which they’ve decorated themselves, or easily creating 3d scans of environments to use in your own creative work. There is so much to offer here, and with third-party users now more easily getting in on the action, we eagerly await to see what their minds find possible.
So, how does this compare with technologies which are already available to us? The closest relationship would be to that of VR. While VR shows a lot of promise and will continue to improve into the future, by existing in a purely virtual space it cannot offer the augmented real-world experience which has proven so successful at integrating the real world with expansive new data-based potential.
Alternatively, we could also relate the sort of technologies which are available here to other systems which use mobile devices as a launching pad. These exist in multiple forms but usually exist as either business or gaming spaces. In business spaces these can be used to quickly connect workers or partners in specific organizations, allowing improved communication and efficiency via cloud-based connections for systems like NetSuite. In gaming, this can often be seen in systems like mobile live casinos, which offer virtualized live casino games from handheld devices, like those from Casino Euro.
In many ways, these could be seen as precursors to this upcoming technology, and ones that will both influence and benefit from its production.
Watch This (Virtual) Space
While first-party developers are great at opening the door when it comes to technology, it tends to be the third-party developers who have the imagination and drive to push these technologies to new heights. Just as VR has seen great strides, we expect similar strides from AR and mobile tech. With a much lower barrier to entry and a much larger existing base, this is going to be a market with a significant deal of public competition, which should create a fantastic environment for invention and innovation. We don’t quite know just where this new world potential will lead, but we do know that work like that of Google’s ARCore is likely to push it into the future as a major part of our lives, both for business and for fun.