Left Image: Point-mask detection Right Image: Man using the Rainbow Filter-http://weplay.co/should-you-incorporate-snapchat-within-your-marketing-s...
Some may brush it off, saying that it’s just semantics. But words, like technologies, have the power to shape views and change the world. In this article, I’d like to discuss the deeper meaning of AR and offer a different perspective that can impact how it is used and developed.
The current worldview
When the smartphone was first introduced, it was a new concept that today feels natural but was extremely revolutionary back then. Imagine if, since the first iPhone’s release, mobile app developers continued to create apps that follow only the traditional use cases of phones as we knew them. We’d have amazing apps for contact management, phone calls, and texts. But no more than that. Our society would have missed out on the true meaning of the smartphone and the entire universe of possibilities it unlocked.
The AR arena is currently facing a similar and rather sad reality. Most apps in the field focus on two pillars: 3D visualization tools that serve mainly e-commerce purposes, and transient 3D content that offers little, if any, interaction with the physical world and is used for face filters and games like Pokémon Go.
These repeated use cases fail to open our minds to countless additional revolutionary applications. When we don’t understand what AR is, how can we realize what it is capable of? Without a necessary change in perspective, the term “AR” stands to lose all meaning.
A different lens
The Metaverse and a fish, by Shay Segal
What’s missing is the third pillar of AR use cases, which includes content that plays a genuine part in the physical world and behaves like an actual entity. Imagine a virtual pet that lives in your home and is actively interacting with your property even when you’re not there. Think of a coffee shop with another layer of virtual functionality where customers place orders and interact with one another. Possibilities are truly endless when we seamlessly blend the physical and digital worlds to form the AR metaverse.
This deep AR experience is achieved by doing the followings:
- Interacting with the physical world, perhaps even autonomously.
- Doing so within the context of a specific location.
- Interacting with other applications that are active at the same location.
- Offering an internal logic that goes beyond 3D information and dictates its independent behavior.
Minecraft earth Mob in the park event (2019) as seen on Red Robot — Intelligent Distribution, Youtube channel
This metaverse will eventually turn the AR camera into a visual browser and change how we consume AR content. We want AR content to be discovered in a “push” model rather than “pull.” Instead of actively searching for such content, we’ll stumble upon relevant AR experiences as we do when surfing the web today, or by running into AR content while walking around. We’re not alone in making this comparison, as Apple executives consider AR “the new internet.”
An augmented new world
Today’s AR developers are pioneers who face the unique challenge of making others see beyond the limits of current reality. It’s up to us to help the rest of the world understand and embrace real AR. In a way, we’re asking AR devs to blend different dimensions.
Developers should allow AR to realize its purpose in the following ways:
- New use cases: Instead of catering to users’ comfort zone, force them to embrace the new perspective by building creative new apps. We need to shift from gimmicks to solutions that can change people’s lives, which may be less entertaining but will carry a significant impact. This will win over users’ hearts while opening their minds to further use cases.
- Advanced technology: Devs should try the most cutting edge tech solutions that allow them to be bold, and continue to do so as AR evolves. We believe that this includes ReSight’s mapless localization, multi user experiences, and more surprises coming soon.
- A clear narrative: We must start referring to AR as a new web. When discussing related topics, we should explain this new perspective and present AR as a new layer for communication, not just another technology.
The world got a small taste of what Augmented Reality can do when Pokémon Go and Snapchat’s City Painter were released. But AR’s true potential will be unleashed only when the above transformation occurs. All of us in the AR community have our work and responsibility cut out for us. Still, the reward will change the way we interact with technology and turn every geek’s ultimate dream into reality as we’ll open a portal to another dimension.