You’ve probably heard of Pokemon Go. The wildly popular mobile game is the best-known example of augmented reality (AR). Soon, AR technology could spread into every aspect of our lives.
AR headsets in the OR
Surgery is risky. There’s always an element of the unknown. Even supremely experienced and knowledgeable surgeons can’t be certain what’s happening in the body until they start an operation.
So Microsoft’s HoloLens, an AR headset, could quickly become an invaluable surgical tool. Surgeons at Duke University Medical School tested the device in a mock brain surgery. The headset showed the surgeons a CT scan as they performed an operation on a dummy. Once the technology is perfected, it could make real-life surgery safer and more effective.
You might remember the hype for Google Glass. It was one of the first commercially available AR products, but it didn’t pan out. In fact, it was somewhat controversial when it launched. It seems that the time wasn’t right for AR glasses in 2013. That time change in the future. Google is still working on AR headsets, and Facebook is also developing AR glasses. Mark Zuckerberg thinks that AR glasses might replace smartphones as the dominant mobile computing device.
AR Art Shows
In a recent art show in New York, artists collaborated with an AR company to enhance the pieces they showed. One artist, Jane Lafarge Hamill, added AR animations to existing paintings. One shows a woman meeting a baby dragon. “I simply want to walk into one of my paintings,” she says.
Meetings and Teleconferencing
Soon, AR and VR could make remote conferencing more interesting. Conference calls can be dull enough, it’s even worse if you’re just staring at a wall as someone else talks. So you might soon be able to meet in VR conference rooms, where documents and data you discuss will be able to appear out of thin air if conferencing startup Rumii has its way.
AR Fighter Jets
The F-35 is the United States military’s futuristic new fighter jet. It has all sorts of bells and whistles that have made it one of the most expensive (and therefore controversial) defense projects in history. F-35 pilots all enjoy the use of a sophisticated AR helmet that includes a heads-up display, communications tools, night vision, and other useful gadgets. As Wired said, it’s a good thing that the helmet is so cool, because it costs about $400,000 per unit.
Hand Tracking a La Daft Punk
The French DJ duo Daft Punk are well known for producing elaborate live sets, which they seem to command by waving their hands through the air. They look like future funk androids. Soon, you’ll be able to actually DJ your own music—or play games—by waving your hands. Leap Motion developed AR/VR hand-tracking technology that will allow you to interact with virtual worlds simply by moving your hands.
AR is just getting started. As the technology becomes more ubiquitous, we’ll encounter all sorts of exciting, new applications that will change our lives in ways that we can’t even imagine yet.