Augmented Reality (AR) is becoming less a Science Fiction daydream and more plausible as a daily feature of our lives, as the idea and technology proliferate. Consumer grade products such as Google Glass & Cardboard, as well as more sophisticated projects like the Oculus Rift, have unleashed a veritable landslide of futuristic idealism. Superimposing digital content in an analogue world creates fissures and crests that both individual users and industrial parties have been quick to tout as “the next big thing”.
The (non-augmented) reality, however, is that for the most part AR remains an exercise in wishful thinking. There were no big surprises at SPAR this year. That being said, the trajectory of the AR projects detailed below finally establish a finite timeframe for execution.
The DAQRI Smart Helmet (DHS) goes down as smoothly as the name suggests, leaving a sweet taste on the tongue a buzz of excitement in the back of the head. Aimed exclusively at high-end industrial applications, DAQRI is poised to create a new class of worker, a synthesis of the blue & white collar archetypes. Socio-political implications aside, the technology driving DAQRI is incredible; specially designed glass allows imagery to be superimposed over the wearer’s field of view. An impressive array of cameras and sensors allow for real time tracking and positioning. Matched with their Industrial 4D authoring software, the DAQRI Smart Helmet is indeed a formidable piece of technology. We can expect to see the DHS being implemented in industrial settings as early as 2016.
Although less precocious than the DAQRI Project, the work done by Scanable for the fashion magazine Garage was, in a sense, far more impressive. The project is poised at the vertices of modern day excess and futuristic prediction, demonstrating an execution and ease-of-use that leads one to believe that AR will become common-place, and sooner than we expect. Although certainly not as “immersive” as the DSH, the project is readily available to consumers and requires only the now common smart phone to operate. The excellent execution and the ability to use images, rather than QR codes, as the means for queuing AR content make the adoption of AR practices seem more feasible. This sort of work should inspire similar schemes for content distribution and integration, and ultimately help push our digitally immersed culture to new horizons.