„Augmented Reality is going to be the next big thing!“ – Even though, I always believed in this or comparable claims since I started developing and experimenting with AR around 10 years ago, I also noted that the idea of fusing real and virtual worlds has already been around for many years. However, it always remained a topic at very specialized research groups meeting at techy conferences.
Mainly technical problems such as too heavy head worn devices, narrow field of views, low image resolutions, insufficient tracking accuracy and robustness made entering the real consumer worlds difficult.
However, things are about to change! Google Glass was one of those first hints showing that also the big players believe and invest in the combination of real and virtual worlds. Although the first version of Google Glass is maybe not the very best hardware solution to make the difference and convince non-believers about the potentials of Augmented Reality, one could imagine that there is more going on behind the scenes and the next version of Google Glass might resolve all doubts.
Microsoft came up with the Kinect sensor, which allowed to combine tracking information with video data to create AR scenes. Among other ideas how to use this sensor, people started developing AR mirror interfaces for multiple applications, e.g. an anatomy mirror. HoloLens now clearly manifests visions and strategies of Microsoft all directing towards AR applications.
Some time ago Facebook bought Oculus Rift, a Virtual Reality interface. Zuckerberg said: “At this point we feel we’re in a position where we can start focusing on what platforms will come next to enable even more useful, entertaining and personal experiences.” It did not take too long until people started converting Oculus Rift into an AR user interface.
Having all this big companies on board believing in the idea of Augmented Reality will lead into exciting solutions for all those application fields that had been identified decades ago. I’m looking forward to report on more wonderful AR applications for health care scenarios!