Augmented Reality isn’t Virtual Reality: How augmented reality is shaking up industries: PreEmptive Episode #10

In this episode, we discuss how Augmented Reality isn’t Virtual Reality. We explain how augmented reality is shaking up industries.

We take a hard look at Augmented reality and how it’s very different from Virtual Reality, despite often being lumped together. While they share some similarities, we discuss why augmented reality is going to revolutionize industry and our lives faster than Virtual Reality even if VR is getting all the attention these days.  VR is still more for entertainment and education. While it is fun, exciting, and offers great promise, AR is already making real headways into our lives. It will continue to do so as it will increase productivity, learning and the spread of information faster than ever before.

What are the benefits of VR?

Some of the key benefits to VR can easily be seen if you put on a headset and visit the Space Station.  Right away you can see how immersive the experience is, but you will also see how alone you are. You may have a great visual experience but grabbing things with your hands is difficult, moving around is awkward and again you might be alone in this world. These are key factors that hinder VR’s advances into the future. Much of it is still a solo experience, grasping items with your hands is hard, and you quickly forget about the world around you. There is a constant push to put people together in a VR world. There is still a lot that needs to be done to make that part of the experience better before adaptation to their technology really takes off. 

What are the benefits of Augmented Reality?

AR on the other hand keeps the user in the environment and overlays objects in your view. A good example of this is the heads up display for pilots or the windshield display in some cars. AR keeps the user in the environment, but augments it with additional data. In our podcast we discuss a few examples of how VR is used today and where it is heading.  We both agree AR has the ability to change lives, from the way we work, to how our health care is administered. We should see these changes in the near future.  Unlike VR the user can still see the environment around them . That fact alone allows VR to become a bigger part of our lives. Ar will have less issues with adaptation than VR. This will propel the technology forward in the coming years.

How does AR work and how is it similar to VR? Jon explains how LIDAR (light detection and Ranging) works, and the difference between how IOS is using different technology than Android devices.  He explains how the technology relies heavily on 3D modeling.This technology is being added too many of the devices we currently use.

How is Augmented Reality being used today?

We discuss some of the ways AR is being used today.  There are  also some adoption barriers.  Most VR work applications for the average person uses their mobile phone as the tool. We both agree that for AR to really impact our lives. This needs to change to a more wearable application such as eyeglasses or other wearable applications in order for AR to make more inroads into our lives.  We also discuss another challenge AR faces in adoption, how to control objects and options while using AR. Currently a mobile phone has an advantage in this area. Switching from phone to eyeglasses for example will have its own challenges on how people can control what they see.

Where is Augmented Reality going?

Finally we end on where AR is going and how it can contribute to information overload. We both agree that VR does not really impact information overload as it can actually help tune out the real world when in use. However we both agree AR is the opposite. There must be controls on AR to keep it from contributing to information overload. We discuss a few of these. For example AR needs intelligence to really work well. Instead of showing all the information to a person, AR must find the most important information based on what you are looking at or where you are and only present that data to the user. This means AR relies on intelligence.  Therefore it’s tied to the advancement of Machine Learning and AI.

As artificial intelligence and machine learning advance, so will VR. It needs to know what is important to show the user in real time. It needs to provide filtered value, not just data, to the user. Properly done, AR will not contribute to information overload and should be able to reduce it. However AR will rely on other technologies to make it smarter before we can answer that question.

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