Augmented reality might sound like a futuristic term, but it’s been around for quite some time. There are so many ways to use, experience, and enjoy AR that its technology can only continue to grow.
So, what’s the future of augmented reality? Read on to find out.
The History of Augmented Reality
To know where you’re going, you need to understand where you’ve been. And the same goes for AR technology. Follow along as we take you through a brief history of AR.
In the Beginning
The first AR technology is credited to Ivan Sutherland, a scientist at Harvard. In 1968 he created the first augmented reality headset. Sutherland was nicknamed “the father of computer graphics,” and the journey of AR snowballed from there.
In the early days of augmented reality, mainstream entertainment didn’t take advantage of this tech. Instead, it was used as a tool for military and industrial purposes because it allowed for simulations with geological information on various terrains.
It wasn’t until 2008 that AR became commercialized. An ad for BMW used AR by allowing readers to hold their magazine up in front of a camera to enable them to simulate driving the car. The advertising industry loved the idea, and soon other companies like National Geographic, Coca-Cola, and Disney began using AR in their campaigns.
AR in the 2010s
In the early 2010s, big companies continued to run AR advertisements by starting to get into virtual try-ons. However, the concept was not the advanced virtual try-on experience we know today. Instead, it required magazine subscribers to physically cut a piece of special paper to participate in the AR experience. This was not quite the substantial hit companies thought it would be.
Businesses continued to experiment with technology trends as time went on. Uses for augmented reality continued to grow in the beauty, tourism, and gaming industries through product try-ons, geomaps, and wearables.
Modern AR Technology
Now that we’ve entered the 2020s, AR has grown immensely, and technology is rapidly increasing. AR capability is integrated with e-commerce sites, implemented into in-store purchasing experiences, and found in various other use cases.
L’Oréal uses ModiFace technology for virtual try-ons that allow customers to try out makeup shades from the comfort of their homes — all they need is a smartphone.
IKEA has its own AR application, IKEA Place, that enables customers to use their phone camera to superimpose potential furniture options into their living room. No more building furniture just to haul it back to the storefront.
And mobile AR apps like Pokémon GO have gamified AR by creating digital overlays for the user to capture in the real world.
AR in the Future
Augmented reality seems to have grown its way into several industries. It started in the military world, grew into advertising, and now hundreds of companies and individuals have found personalized uses for AR in their lives.
So, what does this mean for the future of AR technology? Come along and explore the future with us.
The Future of Augmented Reality
The metaverse and all that it entails continue to grow each day. Developments in virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), extended reality (XR), and AR allow users to choose where they want to be on the virtuality continuum.
What does this mean for the future of the metaverse and augmented reality? It means that anything is possible.
As technology continues to grow, it also becomes more accessible. The future of digital realities will be more efficient and affordable. That means it will be in the hands of more people.
Currently, many people use AR on their smartphones. You might not realize it, but if you’ve ever used a Snapchat filter, you’ve used AR. As phone technology continues to grow, AR will too.
The newest phones, like the iPhone 12, are built with LiDAR technology (Light Detection and Ranging), which is used to create depth in 3D surroundings. It will make digital overlays look more natural and create a stronger illusion. If you’ve ever seen your social media filter or game avatar glitch out, LiDAR technology will increase functionality to help eliminate those issues.
Today, wearables are relatively unobtrusive. However, some still have to be plugged in and are heavy or uncomfortable. AR and VR headsets will be wireless, light, and fitted in the future — all with better features.
Hand and eye tracking technology are being built increasingly into wearable devices. This will allow more emphasis on user experience and less on having to control the actual device.
And something else on the horizon? Wearables for other parts of the body. Currently, most wearables are headsets or handheld. Boots are coming. Get ready to rollerblade, ski, or skateboard in the future.
What could be better than boots, right? Well, what about a full-body suit? Yes, full-body wearables are in the works. While full-body wearables won’t be affordable for the average user any time soon, you never know what the future holds.
Humans can never entirely be replaced, but technology can often help us improve our jobs. Let’s talk about how AR has made its way into the professional world and how both will continue to change.
In technical, engineering, construction, and all types of industries, there is a system of checks and balances for inventory and the like. Meticulous records must be kept for everything to run smoothly. And while we love our humans, they do make mistakes.
Companies are beginning to incorporate AR technology into their practices. A European telecommunications provider, KPN, utilizes AR glasses to:
- See product service history
- Examine diagnostics
- Analyze location-based data
- Make more informed decisions
This company has reported a reduced margin of error and a reduced work cost for service teams. If one company has seen results this quickly, imagine how efficient the workforce will be once it adopts AR in the future.
Many traditional tasks and workshops can be mundane when it comes to onboarding. AR is changing that. Augmented reality technology allows for differentiation and personalization in training. Companies can use AR in their training sessions to:
- Tailor instruction
- Pinpoint errors or misunderstandings
- Reduce training time
- Reduce the need for traditional instructors
AR can also reduce business travel costs, as flying professionals and providing costly accommodations is no longer necessary. AR offers the opportunity for real-time instruction without the travel hassle. Think about what future companies can do for their employees and customers with all those extra funds.
Augmented reality is a lot of fun, but what’s even more remarkable about it is that it has helped change the world through innovative solutions and will continue to do so in the future. Check out all the life-changing benefits AR is bringing to the world.
AR glasses are already on the market, but what if we told you that the future holds AR contact lenses? It’s true.
A startup in California, Mojo Vision, is using science to help those with poor vision. As these products are being developed, the goal is to allow customers to zoom in on any object they’d like to see better.
As the technology grows and becomes more accessible, these vision tools could turn into a smartwatch. People will be able to see the following right before their eyes:
- Health tracking statistics
- Text messages
- Weather reports
- Overlay of information about an unknown object
- Endless content
Digital realities have already made their way into healthcare, but this is only the beginning — advances in telehealth, surgeries, and education.
With telehealth, doctors can see more patients.
AR technology allows medical students and doctors to practice surgeries with superimposed, real-time images in front of them.
Augmented reality allows new parents to learn from childcare demonstrations, such as bottle feeding and diaper changing, right from the comfort of their new nursery.
The future in medicine is unparalleled as medical professionals will be able to create technology and see the human body in ways still to be discovered. As technology advances, discoveries will be made, and healthcare will become more accessible.
The takeaway is that augmented reality's future is bright and limitless. AR technology will continue to change our real and virtual world, from personal use to professional tools to medical advances.
Keep your eyes out for the new and improved realities on the horizon. It’s going to be good.
If you’re interested in learning more about the metaverse and AR technologies, check out the rest of our site.
Here at Illumix, we specialize in building dynamic AR experiences that can enhance your brand. We’ve done the heavy lifting already. Contact us to learn how we can help.
The Mainstreaming of Augmented Reality: A Brief History ⎸ Harvard Business Review
What Is Mixed Reality? - Mixed Reality | Microsoft Learn
Future Predictions Of How Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality Will Reshape Our Lives ⎸ Forbes
Why Every Organization Needs an Augmented Reality Strategy ⎸ Harvard Business Review