AR today has become more than a gimmick, it now holds real-life practical uses. AR is starting to be implemented into the healthcare industry. There have been many AR applications that are helping doctors and medical students. ARnatomy is an application that could replace the large anatomy textbooks for medical students by providing a hands-on learning experience. Alongside with the healthcare benefits, there are many uses for AR within the classroom. Aurasma, an application that implements Augmented Reality, can be used for help on homework, yearbooks, lab safety, etc. For example, students can scan a page of their homework and it will reveal a video of their teacher helping them solve a problem. The potential of Augmented Reality technology is limitless and could one day forever change the methods we use to gain knowledge.
The future holds many great uses for augmented reality, especially in the commercial field. Architects can use AR to show clients completed buildings before the first brick is even laid. How to repair cars and other commercial machines could be learned by just holding a tablet in front of you. Instead of using a pesky GPS system that requires you to divert attention from the road, AR can be implemented into the windshield which is risk-free. This is currently being worked on by Mishor 3D, and could possibly become reality within a couple of years. Alongside with commercial uses, pilots could find great use in augmented reality through heads up displays within their fighter jets which will be a massive improvement in military technology. Although many of these are just concepts now, continuation of research in augmented reality technology will make these real.
Augmented reality technology is already being used for fun on mobile. Many games and apps have already began to utilize it. A great example of this is snapchat filters and Pokemon Go. Snapchat uses facial recognition to utilize AR to change facial features in the image or video. Pokemon Go overlays a pokemon into the world utilizing a simple form of AR. Future uses for AR in the recreational field are massive, it’s easy to imagine video games and theme parks utilizing AR to make it much more vibrant and spend less on special effects. The recreational field of augmented reality will certainly be the driving force for more research and development money in the private sector.
Augmented Reality does not only have to be used for our entertainment; it can also be applied to help business processes, lower costs, medical breakthroughs, etc. Many institutions have spoken out about the value of Augmented Reality research and its unknown benefits. Gartner, Inc., an American research and advisory firm, claims that AR technology has matured to a point where organizations can use it as a tool to enhance business processes, workflows, and employee training. Likewise, Optech4D, an Augmented & Virtual Reality company, has acknowledged increasing interest from leaders across aviation and aerospace industries who are looking to save time and lower costs. Alongside with the benefits for businesses, it could make the jobs of doctors easier. EyeDecide, a smartphone application, uses the camera display for simulation of the impact of specific conditions on a person’s vision. Many more helpful applications can be created with the implementation of AR with more enticing functionalities. Augmented Reality may contain little substance at this point of time, but future breakthroughs could make education and research more efficient.
There are many benefits of using augmented reality, some of which not yet possible with current AR technology. Augmented Reality already shows plenty of recreational uses by utilizing the camera on many smartphones in apps like Snapchat. There are also navigational benefits such as a GPS for a car. A concern people have with this is the fact that it can lead to distracted driving if focus on the heads up display causes people to lose focus on the road. More benefits from augmented reality are expected to develop in the near future. Such expected AR programs include applications for students that let them scan their textbooks or homework to receive help on the topic, or a program that offers instructions to help someone fix a damaged car.
With the countless benefits that Augmented Reality could provide, there are also a number of voiced concerns. One issue is that Augmented Reality can be very dangerous for people with impaired vision, such as cataracts. Another concern is people are easily distracted using augmented reality, which can cause major accidents. Wearing AR glasses will make it tough to switch focus, and those already experiencing problems with focus will be at a great disadvantage. Also, the glasses obscure vision by interfering with the user’s peripherals which are extremely important for judging the distance of an object. Fighter pilots could be distracted by heads up displays if the Augmented Reality technology portrays biological forms which is scientifically proven to distract one from focusing on an object. This will hinder the pilots’ abilities to carry out their job. AR technology seems to be a massive improvement to humanity, but in the future these concerns need to be addressed.