Like plenty of products that peaked before their time, the Google Glass was met with mixed reviews. When we saw the occasional Google Glass wearer on the street, we weren’t quite sure whether to laugh or stare in awe. I suppose we did a little bit of both.
Since then, both AR and VR started going new exciting places. Are you ready?
A new technology?
Virtual and augmented reality sound futuristic, don’t they? A trend, a hype, a “maybe in a few years”. But computerized AR and VR have been around since the 1960s. The first organization to dabble with the technology? The US Air Force.
VR vs AR
There is a fine line between augmented reality and virtual reality. This is it: virtual reality completely immerses you in an experience. Augmented reality, on the other hand, overlays virtual elements on top of your real life view.
Where we’re at today
VR and AR are slowly staking its claim to mainstream society, though most devices that are being released this year still have a price tag of over 600 dollars. Moore’s law promises that in a couple of years, the devices will become better and cheaper, just like smartphones and digital cameras did a couple of years back.
Most of us are already using AR every day though. Don’t believe me? How many people do you know that are on Snapchat? That awesome puppydog Snapchat filter is a great example of low-effort, high-impact augmented reality.
Ultimately, AR and VR will become a big part of our everyday lives, because they’re just too darn cool not to. And because there are tons of possible uses that will make our lives better. Here’s just a few:
- Entertainment: movies and video games will never be the same. Playstation is set to release 20 VR games this year.
- Industry: hand gestures can replace voice commands in loud environments and training is a lot easier with the help of AR and VR.
- Tourism: not sure the Taj Mahal is all that impressive? Walk around on its lawn for a bit.
- Healthcare: practicing for surgeries and schooling become kids’ play with VR and AR.
- Interior Design: walk through virtual houses, check paint colors on your walls and check out whether that new couch feng shuis with your Scandinavian coffee table.
- Retail: trying on clothes without actually having to put them on. Raise your hand if this is what you’ve been waiting for.
- Social Media: there’s a reason Facebook paid 2 billion dollars to buy Occulus Rift. They believe heavily in “social VR”, a way to bring people together through the technology.
So what’s next?
The technology is still maturing, but VR is set to be a big part of our home lives, with video games, home shopping and movies, while AR is set to take the wheel once we go outside, with enhanced stores, classes, tours and so on.
Deloitte believes that VR and AR are set to make their first billion dollars this year, and AR/VR analyst Digi-Capital predicts that by 2020, the VR/AR industry will garner 150 billion dollars in revenue.
Augmented and virtual reality are done flying under the radar and soon, it’ll be hard to imagine a world without them. See you there?