The future of augmented reality

While our top priority on AR Week on Pocket-lint was to speak to our five leading experts in the field of augment reality to find out what's going on at the cutting edge, we couldn’t but help ask them to become part soothsayer as well.

At the end of the sessions we asked each of them what their vision for AR was when it finally does make it - its limitations and successes. So, here is the future of augmented reality according to those that know. Follow the links to read more of their thoughts.

Prof. Blair MacIntyre, director of Augmented Environments Lab, Georgia Institute of Technology

“We’re 80 per cent of the way there with AR but the last 20 is going to be hard.”

“Not a lot is going to happen until we have head worn displays. It’ll be more compelling when it’s there. The day I have a pair of funky sunglasses and walk around with non-obnoxious advertising, news, social networking, totally immersed in the world, then AR will really have arrived.

“But before that, there are so many huge questions to answer: can we get all of the technology we need onto a mobile device; can we make it usable and not invasive, not a dystopian existence; and can we use it to build a positive future?

“Will AR like that arrive in my lifetime? Well, perhaps something of it, but not quite so well as we see now done in sports.” (More from the interview


Prof. Bruce Thomas, head of Wearable Computer Labs, Uni of South Australia

“A navigation application that actually works will be the killer app. To be able to just go to any restaurant anywhere in the world with confidence, convenient instructions and very good visual cuing will be irresistible. At the moment there are sensor problems, and compasses in phones aren’t very good but computer vision will overcome these.”

"They’ll need to extend the gaming community first but the next form of entertainment will be leveraging social networks. This isn’t Second Life. You want people in your space. My most enjoyable time with friends is having a cup of coffee with them, not being on Skype, and with the projector technology available right now, that reality is very, very close. Maybe it won’t be good enough for musical chairs just yet but there’s no reason why it can’t be done to sit down in a certain dedicated area." (More from the interview)

Dr Christian Sandor, Head of Magic Vision Lab, Uni of South Australia

“We’ve all been waiting for something to happen for quite some time. Apple and Google have been quiet on AR for a long time. It feels like they’re holding something back but no doubt we’ll soon see some really good AR applications from them embedded into their mobile platforms. The wait is most likely so that these releases can be absolutely bulletproof and really nice when they arrive to wow us all.

“When that’s all there, when these applications are on every iPhone and every Android smartphone out there and when my grandmother’s using it, then AR will have really arrived.” (More from the interview)


Prof. Steve Feiner, Head of Computer Science, Columbia University

“I honesty believe that at some point in the future we’re going to have AR eyewear that’s sufficiently light weight, comfortable, visually appealing, high quality enough and at the right price that people will want to wear while walking around. It has to be socially acceptable and desirable.”

“And AR contact lenses, yes, they’ll happen but my question to you is this - why have it washing around on the surface of your eye when you can have it implanted inside your head? Sure there are social and ethical issues but these things will change with each generation as it becomes more acceptable. (More from the interview)

Dr Georg Klein, leading expert in computer vision and augmented reality

“For perfect AR, it’s not enough to know where the camera is. Even if that is solved, then what about what’s around the camera?”

“HMDs (head-mounted displays) were meant to be the evolution of AR but people have stopped working on them. AR might only really take off when those are developed but there’s a funding gap at the moment. None of the big companies are really investing in them.”

“The thing you have to ask yourself with all these GPS augmented reality phone applications - are they any more useful than a top down map? They’re going to get better and it’s up to the user to decide when they reach that point that they really are an improvement on the standard versions.” (More from the interview)

For more information on what Qualcomm is doing with Augmented Reality please click: http://www.qualcomm.co.uk/products/augmented-reality

And for more on AR Week head over to our AR Week homepage on Pocket-lint



>