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We'll All Be Experts Now

Abstract

Augmented reality uses a personal display, up close to the user, to show him or her information, text, drawings, 3D objects, generated locally or remotely, by a computer. The overlay information is registered to the scene by a forwardlooking camera and can show the skeletal structure of a building, or the location of a store, or the pipes beneath the sidewalk. It can translate in real time street signs, menus, newspapers, and manuals. It will make us all experts, with massive data at out beckoning.

Augmented reality is blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical world and moving us into a new level of contextuality. Augmented reality delivers rich experiences derived from the use of sensors, computing, artificial intelligence, and big data.

Augmented Reality: We'll All Be Experts Now

Augmented reality uses a personal display, up close to the user, to show him or her information, text, drawings, 3D objects, generated locally or remotely, by a computer. The overlay information is registered to the scene by a forward-looking camera and can show the skeletal structure of a building, or the location of a store, or the pipes beneath the sidewalk. It can translate in real time street signs, menus, newspapers, and manuals. It will make us all experts, with massive data at out beckoning.

Augmented reality is blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical world and moving us into a new level of contextuality. Augmented reality delivers rich experiences derived from the use of sensors, computing, artificial intelligence, and big data.

Augmented reality will change our lives forever—for the better.

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

J. Peddie, Augmented Reality, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-54502-8_3

A technician can use a tablet to “look at” a device and be given instructions on how to fix it or use it (Source

Fig. 3.1 A technician can use a tablet to “look at” a device and be given instructions on how to fix it or use it (Source: XMReality)

In the very near future, I believe we will all be wearing augmented reality glasses, just as we wear corrective and sun glasses today. The augmented reality glasses of the future will be lightweight, they won’t be obnoxious or call attention to themselves, and they will be capable of providing us with a wealth of pertinent information, as well as being a logging device of our lives—think of it as your personal black box recorder. The augmented reality glasses of the future will be always connected providing you with information and sending information about you (with your approval and to your private storage locker). In one sense, augmented reality glasses will be the ultimate narcissist’s dream. They will also be the honest witness in any insurance claims, or disputes with service personal, or family members.

However, the benefits of augmented reality are not limited to the future or just to glasses. A smartphone or tablet can today deliver augmented reality capabilities too. Basically, any device that has a forward-facing camera and back-facing screen, could be an augmented reality device. Theoretically a digital camera with a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capability could be an augmented reality device. Your car could too if it has forward-facing cameras as are being proposed for autonomous driving. And if a car can, so can a boat, truck, bus, or a train.

Augmented reality is not necessarily a solitary experience. Using the camera and a Wi-Fi or mobile phone connection, a technician or first responder can show the situation to an expert at a remote location and get guidance. Or perhaps broadcast paths to safety in a disaster.

In their paper on the rebirth of augmented reality [1], Akif Khan, Shah Khusro, Azhar Rauf, Saeed Mahfooz described mobile augmented reality as sensitizing a new dimension of perception to see, hear and immerse in the real world via an interactive and enriched look and feel on physical world objects/places. This potential blend opens new vistas for overlaying information on physical infrastructure, places and object of interests (Fig. 3.1).

BMW’s augmented reality motorcycle helmet with head-up display screen on right (Source

Fig. 3.2 BMW’s augmented reality motorcycle helmet with head-up display screen on right (Source: BMW)

In addition to augmented reality glasses, also known as “smart-glasses,” tablets, and phones, there are augmented reality helmets. Helmets for first responders, motorcycle riders, and for factory workers. Helmets with head-up displays (HUDs) are a logical and practical implementation of an augmented reality system, and the helmet offers more storage space for electronics and batteries (Fig. 3.2).

The head-up display in a motorcycle helmet could be a GPS-based navigation system for couriers as well as law enforcement, or even the pizza delivery person.

A helmet has room for a lot of electronics including a 3D sensing camera, an IR camera, an inertial measurement unit (IMU—often referred to as gyroscope), and of course a projected (on the visor) display (Fig. 3.3).

Augmented reality is a head-up display for the user, and can simultaneously be a telepresence device—the user of an augmented reality system can take family and friends on a tour with him or her. For instance, in the movie, Her [2], the protagonist Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) becomes fascinated with a new operating system and carries a smart phone in his pocket with the camera facing outward so Samantha, the intelligent computer operating system, can share his experiences with him (Fig. 3.4).

As mentioned, augmented reality is not a new concept, Ivan Sutherland (1938 - ) built the first working device in 1966, and Professor Steven Mann (1962 - ) began real-world experiments with it in his childhood in the early 1970s (Fig. 3.5).

In the near future, the adornment of powerful augmented reality glasses will be as common as a watch or mobile phone, and by 2025 we’ll wonder what life was

The Daqri smart helmet is also a certified hard hat (Source

Fig. 3.3 The Daqri smart helmet is also a certified hard hat (Source: Daqri)

Theodore carries a camera in his shirt so Samantha can see what he’s seeing (Source

Fig. 3.4 Theodore carries a camera in his shirt so Samantha can see what he’s seeing (Source: Warner Bros. Pictures)

like before augmented reality, much like we do today about the web, or our smartphones. In fact, it is entirely possible we will no longer need a smartphone. The functionality of the smartphone could be built into our augmented reality glasses. Alternatively, the smartphone will act as a server to our smart-glasses, connected wirelessly and proving the network connection and local data storage, and reducing the power consumption and weight of the glasses.

Augmented reality will become a part of everybody’s life, you’ll use it everywhere; we won’t even consider it a technology anymore, it will be ubiquitous and invisible and an intimate part of our lives. It will enrich and improve our lives.

Steve Mann field tests his prototype augmented reality system circa 1980 (Source

Fig. 3.5 Steve Mann field tests his prototype augmented reality system circa 1980 (Source: Steve Mann)

New developments and technologies are leading to increased usage of augmented reality in several application areas. Due to these developments and the high growth potential, this an important area for study and understanding.

This book will discuss the history, applications, technologies, and opportunities that are bringing augmented reality to us all.

References

  • 1. Khan, A., Khusro, S., Rauf, A., & Saeed, M. B. (2015, April). Rebirth of augmented reality - Enhancing reality via smartphones. University Journal of Information & Communication Technologies 8(1), 110. ISSN - 1999-4974.
  • 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Her_%28film%29
 
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