Back in 2010, headlines were breaking about a new wave of innovation in the smartphone industry promising users to interact with their surroundings virtually. This talk of the town was Augmented Reality or AR which refers to a modern technology that allows computer-generated content to overlay or superimpose over real objects in the environment. Taking it another step further, the concept of Mixed Reality was introduced which allows digital graphics to be designed as a part of the real world. The distinction between the two terms has blurred a little now that Google and Apple are classifying MR under the umbrella of AR. With advanced computing, cameras and accurate GPS tracking, AR applications like Project Tango, ARKit and Pokémon Go arose.

Future of Augmented Reality

But what does the future hold in terms of Augmented Reality? One thing is for sure, the boundaries between the virtual world and the reality will be impossible to distinguish in the next few years. The content on the AR apps will be compelling enough to match the color and lighting of what is right in front of you. As AR is moving from games and entertainment to providing real-life solutions like Ikea’s plans of using ARKit to allow customers to envision the furniture at their homes before buying it, it looks like it’s here to stay. This is just the beginning of how AR can be put to use to facilitate customers. Interdisciplinary research will help in expanding the horizons of this incredible technology to discover its true potential for achieving meaningful results. 

The constructive use of AR in personalized navigation has already been introduced with applications like Layar, ARCity, and Hotstepper. Moreover, AR can also aid in providing helpful solutions by being integrated into already existing applications like AirBnB and TripAdvisor.  Other shopping ventures like Amazon, Sephora, Wayfair, and Target are also utilizing this futuristic technology to engage users in an exclusive, immersive experience. From home accessories to makeup to prescription glasses, everything will be at the touch of your fingertips without worrying you about how the products would actually look. The possibility of using smartphones integrated with AR for personalized healthcare is an astounding market in itself. It would especially be helpful for patients in remote areas without access to physical healthcare services. Although similar applications exist, the integration of AR would allow more accurate diagnoses. Tissue Analytics is one such organization working on creating an app helping doctors and nurses to identify specific types of injuries for better identification and care.

Augmented Reality will transform the future altogether from business to retail to field services. Remote communication will take a new form using holographic technology. Business meetings, Powerpoint presentations, and even personal appointments will all be changed drastically as they will be conducted from your smartphone alone. From the talks of a hologram phone, Hydrogen One to the reports of a 3D laser system by Apple, tech companies are already gearing up to include dedicated hardware for making mainstream devices AR ready.