The dream of augmented reality, being able to insert data into ones world view, is finally here. While simple prototypes have existed for awhile, Google is making the push in a big way with its new Google Glass, already in the hands of developers.
For those unaware of augmented reality, it enables the addition of computer data into your day-to-day vision. Not replacing reality with a computer construct, as you would find with virtual reality, just inserting into reality itself. This can be done through a few methods, such as smartphones and tablets. What Google Glasses and similarly augmented reality goggles aim to do is enable the augmentation of reality in a seamless manner through a personal version of a heads up display, such as you would find on an airplane.
The sky is the limit for what this will offer the public. Imagine being able to search for price information while shopping at the mall, or appointment reminders popped right into your view. Even simple things such as seeing who is calling your cell phone will pop up in to your view, simplifying the ever more complex world in which we live in. Everything from encyclopedia data to map routing can be done through augmented reality.
As we found with smartphones, the initial adopting of the technology is likely to fall on to the business and professional communities before the general public. But entertainment will pop up as time goes on. Examples of augmented reality using smartphone and tablet technologies include video games which insert their contents into a real world view, such as this game, called AR EdiBear by Samsung:
While some are calling Google Glass an expensive toy, they said the same thing about the smartphone in the 1990’s. Today, they are ubiquitous. It is likely that the same thing will happen with augmented reality glasses. Within 10 years, there is a high probability that augmented reality glasses will be the latest fashion trend. Already they are appearing in fashion shows.
To address an ever more complex world, information is vital. Getting that information to people is now becoming centrally important. Google, though Google Glass, is jumping ahead of the curve in delivering this information to people. More will join them, but with this step forward, Google is aiming to shape the course of this market now, while it is still fresh, to prevent the initial chaos of the smartphone market which limited its growth for the first several years before the arrival of the iPhone.