Augmented reality is a new and exciting technology with one key problem: much like the first cellphone, many people don’t yet understand what it really is and how it can fit into our lives.
Think back to the very first iteration of the cell phone. A far cry from the pocket computers we’re attached to now, they were corded devices that could be carried around in large briefcases. Despite the technology having clear benefits (make a phone call from anywhere!), people didn’t really see how they would fit into their everyday lives like our current cell phones do.
Augmented reality is still in its “briefcase” era. It’s like virtual reality, but with a completely different level of capability and functionality. When you’re wearing a virtual reality headset, your eyes are seeing a world that doesn’t exist around you. You are transported somewhere else, and you can no longer see your real-world physical surroundings.
In augmented reality, the headset is as clear as a pair of sunglasses so you can still see your surroundings, but you also see holograms built into the environment. (When two people have augmented reality glasses on, they can see the holograms in the same spot.) It’s a powerful technology, but like so many new inventions, it’s not always easy to understand why people would want or need it.
How can augmented reality be used in our day–to–day lives?
From daily activities to medical procedures, augmented reality can be utilized to improve performance, efficiency, and safety.
Take navigation, for example. Rather than looking down at your phone screen or your car’s dashboard to see where you need to turn next, augmented reality can display your route on the road in front of you. Instead of following voice commands from your GPS, you would see a blue line on the road ahead indicating your route or a hologram car in front of to follow.
Think about the difference a technology like this could make during home renovations. What if you could put on an augmented reality headset and see exactly where every stud, pipe, and duct is under the drywall? The headset would utilize the digital blueprint of your home to project a map of what’s behind your wall by pinpointing your GPS location in relation to it.
On a larger scale, augmented reality can also be used in the same way at construction sites. There are many underground utilities developers need to avoid digging into, such as sewer lines and buried cables. Currently, surveyors use city maps to measure angles from a single point on the street, and then the ground is spray painted to mark the spots that aren’t safe for digging. This is a time-consuming process, and it leaves a lot of room for human error. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if workers could simply wear augmented reality glasses and see what’s underground?
Augmented reality can even assist in health care, helping doctors perform complicated surgeries. Today, microscopic cameras and 2D screens are used to help surgeons navigate through their procedures. With augmented reality, just as a construction worker or homeowner could use the technology to see pipes and duct work, a surgeon would have the ability to see a holographic map of the patient’s veins along with EKGs and other important information without ever needing to look away from the patient.
These are all things virtual reality is incapable of doing because it can’t project into the world around us. Augmented reality can.
What’s holding augmented reality back?
As with the cell phone, understanding how new technology can be implemented into today’s world can be a large hurdle. One reason for this is the first iterations of something new are only baby steps into what’s possible. Most people weren’t excited about the first cell phones because they didn’t want to carry around a huge briefcase; they had trouble envisioning the day it could fit in their pocket (not to mention all the other benefits we take for granted these days!). While the development of cell phones was slower paced and went through many iterations to get to the modern smartphone, augmented reality has an unlimited potential that could be utilized at a much faster rate. Finding ways to bring this kind of technology into our present-day reality is what Envorso is most passionate about—and the most efficient way to do so is by partnering with lead tech providers such as Magic Leap.
In creating a partner-led space, Envorso is also able to help clients understand the full potential of leveraging augmented reality at their organizations in truly impactful ways. Many companies are already finding it incredibly useful in all kinds of situations, from training new employees on how to use machinery to locating specific items in a warehouse to solving technical problems out in the field. Sometimes it’s hard for business leaders to identify these opportunities on their own. A consultant who is partnered with lead tech providers not only offers experience in the industry but also a fresh, in-depth perspective on inventive ways to become an early adopter.
To learn more about how you might be able to use augmented reality at your organization, contact Envorso today.