> Augmented Reality Disruption

Augmented Reality Disruption

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010 | No Comments

The two technologies that were predicted to really take off and rocket this year are “Geo-Location” aware applications (such as FourSquare, Gowalla and even Twitter’s built in location), and “Augmented Reality”.

Whilst the term ‘Augmented Reality’ (or AR), is pretty new on most people, I can guarantee that you’ve seen it before. Where Virtual Reality (VR), is a 100% digital version of the world, AR is a collision of the real world and the digital world – where digital information can be displayed against a real backdrop.



You will have seen this on television millions of times before without fully appreciating the technology – digital overlays and signage either in front or behind a presenter – or if you’re an F1 follower, the technical data that is displayed on the screen as you watch the race.

But technology has shifted AR towards the every day use of most people and the latest smart phones apps are pulling digital data into the real world. A good example of this is the Yelp application which helps users find just about any type of establishment – for example, open up the application, tell it you want to know where the local restaurants are and then point your phones camera down the street – the application then uses GPS to determine where about you are and then overlay a digital readout showing you where the closest restaurants are directly on the viewing screen of the digital camera.

Pure brilliance.

But it’s this video that caught my eye yesterday. The US military have developed an application that allows the user to wear a head-up display unit, linked to a Google G1 Android phone, as they peer at what appears to be some sort of generator, the application uses AR to demonstrate to the user exactly how to fix the problem they are dealing with and repair the generator. Here’s the clip:


It really is a powerful application – but it really does demonstrate the potential in AR yet to be unlocked. This particular application could easily be adjusted for civilian use – allowing people to repair their cars or PCs for example.

Whoever develops these new AR applications could really disrupt many, many businesses; car mechanics, PC engineers, teachers, plumbers, electricians, builders, etc, etc, etc.

To steal a couple of quotes from Sarah Lacy:


  • “The most amazing thing about the Internet is how many industries it’s wrecked”
  • “The second most amazing thing about the Internet: The fact that there are still industries it’s barely touched”
It seems the internet marches on relentlessly.

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