Day by day we are getting closer and closer with tech gadgets. Video games taught us for decades on the entertainment factor about make believe worlds through technology, and day by day the graphics and the “reality” factor of technology is getting better. Everything about the today’s technology is much more sophisticated than they were a decade ago. The graphics seem unreal, making it hard to recognize an animation from a real person. It is closing the gap between you and what you see in your screen. Have you imagined what the prospect of this futuristic innovation looks like?

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality is the next level of integrating what you see in the computer to your real world. It is not entirely about “virtual reality”, but about enhancing what you see in the screen to have a more real feeling. Augmented reality started by adding graphics and sound to the real world within a digital screen, and now it has evolved up to adding tactile features and smell. This technology is used in many aspects of life, from tourists who want to have more familiar sense of directions in new places, to soldiers who are in nowhere among the battlefield to merely a pedestrian who wants to find the nearest restaurant. Video games are obviously another application of this technology.

How augmented reality is used?

It is a new way of seeing the world, which can be further enhanced with the used of wearable devices. Augmented Reality seamlessly connects you from the real world to the great influx of information which you get through technology. For an example, with the use of this technology, anything you fall your eye upon when you walk down the road is similar to something you see on a computer screen, and you can get more information about as if you would normally use a search engine to get more information about what you see on screen. A lot of market research has been done with regard to this technology. With the arrival of Google Glass, they made it even easier to integrate this technology into practical everyday life. It is similar to looking at the world with normal glasses, but through which you can get more information about everything that you see. More than just displaying information about your surroundings, the Google Glasses allow you to record videos, take pictures, show your messages or even translate a text that you see in real time.

One of the biggest sectors benefiting from AR technology, in literally life-changing ways, is healthcare. From helping doctors during surgery by displaying undetectable veins to improving the quality of life for those with debilitating health conditions and disabilities the applications of AR in healthcare are countless. University of Oxford is using Augmented Reality smart glasses to enable partially sighted people to recover some of their independence.

Recently Microsoft has showed us what augmented reality was capable of. They released an ad for their upcoming HoloLens, which is still in development. From video games, to designing objects or just merely watching TV, it feels like everything can be done through this device and this is what the advert tried to demonstrate. It will also revolutionize communication by bringing Star Wars like holograms allowing distant family members to talk face to face. To summarize this technology will eventually bring all the features of a computer within your surroundings.
However, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated that the HoloLens would be available for developers by mid-2016. The technology is there it is just not ready to be used and this means that the consumer version could be as far as 2020.

Without stopping to a wearable device such as a headset or pair of glasses, which enables you to use augmented reality power in your day-to-day life, there are experiments being carried on to adding them to virtually undetectable things such as contact lenses. The possibilities of augmented reality are endless, with the ability to enhance the efficiency and the experience of everything: archaeology, military, healthcare, design… When the technology was first introduced, there was an ongoing debate about privacy issues of others when someone wears an augmented reality device, but solutions are being done for that at present.