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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Augmented Reality... A Critique

This was something I helped a friend of mine with. I hope you find it interesting.

Summary:

Augmented reality is the use of computer generated images and information overlaid on a view of the physical world. It is the 3D imaging in the real world and is a fascinating concept. All of us have been exposed to it at some point. Football broadcasts are a prime example of the use of augmented reality. The yellow line denoting the “first down” marker is overlaid on the playing field to “augment” the view of the game. Of course, you won’t see this if you actually go to the game.

Important Ideas:

In this section, I shall portray my ideas and how relevant are they to the paper.

In the simple world that we live in, Augmented Reality could play a major role in enhancing physical security in various real estate areas; for example, it could be incorporated in railway stations and airports where passenger safety is such a critical issue. Virtual hazard signs and barricades could be placed in areas of extreme danger which in reality would occupy space resulting in either the area not been used or passengers left to take care of themselves.

Another extremely cost driven and high level of implementing such an idea could be in everyday life. There are a variety of ways to incorporate the idea and with a visual display pointing out areas of interest to the user; even walking down the street would be a new experience. The augmented reality could be used to identify passing faces of friends and contacts, displaying their name and relevant information on demand.

Advertisers might also attract customers to their products via a whole new dimension of advertising. Imagine walking through Wal-Mart, wearing the embedded display glasses, picking up a product off the shelf and a video instantly plays to highlight its features. Augmented reality would be highly customizable, allowing the consumer to choose exactly what they wish to see when viewing the world.

Issues:

The features that I have discussed above are very conceptual but in reality they come at a price. For example; Virtual tours available in museums and other monuments come at a hefty price. It is a very knowledgeable addition to any environment but the cost that incurs to manufacture such devices is very heavy. Beyond the cost, the real challenge to build such technology is the resource availability. The technology is so far advanced that mere motivation to do so would not drive millions into building or buying it.

The technology needs to be given time to mature to sink into the corporate world where more and more companies shall be interested to take up the challenge of integrating these technologies.

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