'13: The Time of AR

This Year is going to be the time of AR.

Here near the end of last year, we are already getting a quick take up of Augmented reality technology. Portable devices just like tablet pc's, mini machines and smart phones are seemingly tailor-made for the new darling of the Information period.

So what’s Augmented reality? Well, AR (or ‘augmented reality’ to its friends), is largely the practise of implementing CPU generated images and/or information onto real life descriptions (at least the kind of AR we are discussing here is, anyway, it’s an open-ended phrase, so post your complaints within the remarks section, please). AR can be applied to paper supplements (so when the articles or pictures are watched on a smart phone application they jump to life and present extra content), street corners (like the app which can bring up all important information pertaining to a restaurant, including comments, menus and exclusive offers, just by holding your phone in the route of the eatery itself) and even the night sky (yes, some AR apps will actually offer scientific data and Hubble telescope information on heavenly bodies and constellations as you view them on your phone).

AR is coming in sync in a great way and make no mistake about it. Google Glass, a project unveiled by Google X Lab earlier this year, is one such instance. Taking the form of a fashionable set of spectacles, Glass users will walk down the street and access any information they see fit as they do so. They’ll even be capable of film their day by day proceedings, or take snapshots of things as they occur. Reality will be re-shaped in real time by the glasses; it is possible to even use them to generate video calls to loved ones. Google Glass will probably be offered to developers early next year and, by the start of 2014, will become commercially obtainable, along with dozens of other exciting products of that ilk.

Augmented reality’s impact on home enjoyment (especially video games) may even be felt, but there's also far more ‘grown up’ uses for this technology in the pipeline. Variations of AR are already being used to coach soldiers, educate would-be doctors and instruct firefighters in digital burning buildings. For those who do not have the money for a smart phone, Google Glass or the rest we’ve talked about, you will see the results of AR on television sports casting (take a look at the real-time analysis overlaid on recent NFL matches) and on shop window promotion (naughty high street chain Anne Summers pioneered a very unforgettable one earlier this year).

In 2013, with an abundance of funds coming in from Augmented reality applications, video games and gadgets, we are able to anticipate a rapid enhancement of this technology. Which means by the end of next year, AR could be an inevitable fact of contemporary life. We expect Augmented reality to become a significant selling point next year, with businesses offering an greater than before amount of AR-ready mini games as accessories on various devices and more AR apps being built than at any time.

If you’re in training as a surgeon, a soldier, a policemen or perhaps a fireman, the odds are you’ll come across Augmented reality (if you have not already) in 2013. Of course, this won’t replace the experience of dashing right into a burning building, going into battle or performing complicated surgery (but it isn’t attempting to), but the possibility is there for more thorough and meticulous training for specialists in these areas. Moreover, it will not be long before CEO’s and managers are holding Augmented reality-infused meetings, during which the attendees can access relevant information in real time, which will certainly beat a Powerpoint presentation any day!

In 2013, expect adverts, newspaper supplements and phone games to contain an rising element of AR capability. Augmented reality is taking the fast track into our lives and 2013 will be a pivotal time for this.

Next year will be the most technologically advanced period in mankind’s history to date and, if that seems like an easy thing to mention, consider the enormity of the statement. Much like the Internet before it, Augmented reality is set to make a big splash in our lives and 2013 is going to be the largest ripple so far. Simply, we can’t wait for it...

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