A Peek into the Future
An Opinion Piece by Herbert Lui, Staff Writer
The Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Kinect, and the Apple iPhone are clear indications that people love working differently with electronics. Instead of being stuck to a controller, joystick, or a keyboard and mouse, people are now free to move around and use their physical selves to navigate around cyber worlds and other frontiers. These different methods of detecting motion have all contributed to the change in the way we think about video games and consumer electronics, often making the virtual feel more intuitive and natural.
[Developers] hope to change the world by introducing virtual tour guides Apps, games played in the real world environment…
Arguably, the next step is augmented reality: Modifying the physical world with technology. An example of augmented reality would be Le Bar Guide, an iPhone app that uses the phone’s camera and GPS to determine your location and the bar that you are aiming your camera at. Then, it overlays the image with descriptions of the bar and customer reviews if they’re available. Similarly, there’s an iPhone App called Car Finder, which allows you to find your car within huge parking lots.
Is augmented reality only feasible on the iPhone?
Not exactly, but it’s simple. No one purposely leaves their phone at home or is separated from it for long, unless they are trying to go on a media fast or a self-imposed exile.
These apps aim to enhance the physical realm and experience. They hope to change the world by introducing virtual tour guides Apps, games played in the real world environment, or even an overlay showing how your room can be redecorated and a general idea of how it would look.
Sure, some may say that it takes away from the thrill of entering a new city or if you’re ever in a situation where you want to explore without guidance, you might not welcome the information that these augmented-reality apps have to offer. However, information is just one facet and feature that augmented reality has to offer – there are also games, interactions, and social networks.
I’d like to leave you with two augmented reality applications that you can try for yourself. I used these applications on my Windows 7 PC. You’ll need a computer with a webcam for these experiments.
First, here’s the Virtual Mirror application by Ray-Ban that allows you to try on sunglasses virtually (not available on a Mac yet).
If this trend takes off, you might never have to step in a retail store again! Simply try items on in the comfort of your own home.
The second app is a game, found on Newgrounds, called Target. This game allows you to use your webcam and move your body to hit targets that appear on the screen.
These two applications are just the beginning of augmented reality, and it will be exciting to see what this kind of technology will have to offer for the future. Even Maclean’s embraces augmented reality and uses it in their latest Rethink issue. Keep your eyes peeled, I’m predicting that augmented reality is an up-and-coming, quickly developing trend!
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