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We’ve spoken at length about the difficulties of bringing virtual reality (VR) into mainstream use, but the general discourse around augmented reality (AR) is altogether more upbeat.
And this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Where VR requires expensive and bulky hardware, AR is easily mediated by mainstream smartphones and tablets. Where some VR experiences are can be awkward and glitchy, many rudimentary forms of AR are already in the apps – from games to social media – that form a part of our daily lives.
This narrative has only been accentuated by the ways in which AR has captured the popular imagination in the last few of years. Pokémon Go is a cliched example, but it brought AR global attention in rapid fashion. Likewise, the introduction of image and video ‘filters’ breathed new life into apps like Snapchat and Instagram.
As Hololens-style glasses become the dominant AR and MR user technology, so it follows that the ergonomics of these devices will evolve. This evolution is likely to trace a path similar to that of cell phones: becoming sleeker, lighter and less bulky over time. The end point will be a pair of MR glasses that are virtually indistinguishable from ordinary prescription glasses in terms of weight and size.
Finally, the AR devices of the future will eclipse those of today in terms of functionality. The range and quality of what you can see and hear using the glasses will take a huge step forwards, with improvements in field of vision and the maybe even the incorporation of motion capture that enables the wearer to command the device to perform tasks based on gestures.
We’re already seeing the beginnings of these developments, which means it’s an exciting time for AR and MR devices – and we’re only at the very start.