August 26, 2014
“What’s the next big thing to come out of the tech world during the coming 10 years?” the man asked in the sweltering sunlight. The setting was Lightning in a Bottle, a music, arts, and spirituality festival held each year in California. Chad Hurley, the founder of YouTube, was on stage at the Temple of Consciousness giving his take on founding and building a successful business in the age of the internet.
YouTube, as you may know, was purchased by Google to the tune of over $1.5 billion back in 2006, giving Chad and his colleagues an inside look at upcoming innovations.
“It’s certainly not Google Glass,” he said. “Have you heard of augmented reality?” a subject that has interested us at Fueled since we heard about it. Augmented reality technology has been in the works for years, with the first AR mirror already on the market.
Essentially, augmented reality provides a real-time look at the world, with added features. For example, popular Smartphone apps offer the ability to look at a landscape while simultaneously viewing GPS information. Other well-known possibilities include the ability to gaze at the night sky with constellations highlighted. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There are myriad applications of augmented reality technologies in the professional world. For example, in the near future, architects will be able to construct 3-D digital blueprints of their projects and superimpose them on the construction zone, allowing them to better visualize and modify massive buildings before the concrete sets.
Volkswagen already uses augmented reality to assess safety tests. And on the topic of safety, augmented reality technology shows promise for increasing the abilities of doctors and surgeons, allowing medical professionals to simultaneously view injuries and valuable information about the patient’s pulse, body temperature, and more.
Beauty company Sephora recently launched the world’s first augmented reality mirror. While it may lack the practical applications of other technologies, this product is sure to become a favorite with the luxury crowd. The screen allows users to visualize the effect of makeup on their faces, without putting any on. In the near future, products like this will make their way into the homes of the wealthy, just one of the ways that augmented reality promises to make life more convenient.
Video game companies have been researching augmented reality capabilities for years, and the time that this sort of entertainment hits the streets is fast approaching. Soon, indoor games that use AR will create fantastic worlds, mimic laser battles, or pose challenging puzzles through a blend of real and virtual components.
Another promising lead is the idea of virtual geo-caching, where participants are forced to navigate the real world to find digital objects in a series of challenging adventures.
Aesthetic considerations also play into augmented reality predictions. As Mr. Hurley explained, people will soon be able to add to their experience of the world. “If you like palm trees, you’ll be able to walk down a street lined with palm trees, no matter where you are.”
Perhaps more disturbing would be the capability to recall dead relatives or distant friends, placing them within a world that is only half-real.
Whatever the case, augmented reality will give everyday users more direct control over their experience of the world.