It’s not a matter of if Augmented Reality will completely disrupt tech — it’s a matter of when. From Apple calling ARKit an innovation of equivalent caliber as the iPhone itself, to Nintendo’s Pokemon Go becoming the highest grossing app in history, it’s clear that the response to AR has been nothing short of explosive. All the big players in the industry including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Netflix have been involving themselves in the action as well.
Why, you may ask? Simple — Augmented Reality possesses an exorbitant amount of raw power. Augmented reality bridges the gap between what is digital and what is real. Virtual objects create another level of interaction with a user that cannot be achieved by normal physical objects alone. It connect and overlay digital information from a user’s environment, enhancing one’s visualisation of their ecosystem. If a real world object is in your camera view, it’s instantly granted an internet connection.
Because of its immense potential, AR is completely reinventing huge industries all over the globe. Some examples include rendering surgery easier in healthcare, improving user visualisation in retail, aiding technicians solve their client’s problems in repair and maintenance, helping architects visualise products in design and modelling, and assisting teachers in helping students understand difficult concepts in education.
The rumour of a completely digital world has long been a recurring theme since day one of extended reality. From hit movies such as Ready Player One, to books such as Warcross and Snow crash, fiction has been obssesed with the vision for decades. The idea is intriguing; think of a fully mutable and interactive digital replica of our world, abundant on human-environment interfaces, thriving on truly untethered connectivity, leveraging technology as a mediating filter on our perception. Now imagine being able to tap into that dimension whenever you please. The possibilities would be truly limitless — it could restore sound to the deaf, give us the ability to manipulate time and space, troubleshoot machines thousands of kilometres away in space and most importantly, allow robots to see and understand the world.
When a robot is finally able to walk down a busy city street, the view it will have in its silicon eyes and mind will be the mirrorworld equivalent of that street. The robot will use previously mapped contours of the road — existing 3D scans of light posts, fire hydrants, traffic signs and local buildings to navigate itself through the city. Robot will also be capable of tracking the real-time movements of proximal objects. The same will be true of Autonomous Vehicles. They will rely on the fully digitized version of roads and cars provided by the platform. The majority of the real-time digitization of moving things will be done by employing cloud-based solutions, as robots will then be capable of sharing said information with all the other surrounding robots.
Fortunately, scientists all over the world are helping in the creation of the mirrorworld. Slowly, but surely, companies such as Scape and Leap Motion are uploading small fragments of the world into the mirrorworld — making somewhat of a mosaic of pieces. It’s entirely possible that the mirrorworld could dawn upon us very soon. However, until then, the mirrorworld is just the dream of an augmented reality.