Augmented Reality Comes of Age

posted Mar 23, 2015, 12:37 AM by John Hagen   [ updated Mar 24, 2015, 3:09 AM ]
Augmented reality is the next tour de force in technology - ushering in the era of 3D holographic computing. Microsoft announced the HoloLens with the release of Microsoft 10. In related news, Google Glass takes another "magic leap" with the release of its own augmented reality platform and applications. Microsoft, Google and others are on the leading edge in the era of augmented reality systems that promise to transform our everyday experiences from the ordinary into the extraordinary.

PC World reported on the Microsoft and Google augmented reality systems,

With the Microsoft HoloLens, "What you “see” is a smart version of augmented reality, confined to a rectangle about the size of a large phablet, about six inches in front of your face. Within that the magic happens: Virtual images spring to life. But the HoloLens “knows” where they are, so that you can walk around them, kneel, or stand over them, and they remain in place. It’s uncanny. And a Kinect-like depth camera mounted in the HoloLens can “scan” the objects around you, too.

There are several ways way of interacting with what you see. “Clicks” are triggered by holding your hand out a short distance from your face, and raising and lowering your index finger in a gesture. It then “clicks” where you’re looking, using a cursor that follows your gaze. You can also issue commands to the HoloLens, which can double as macros."
In a related report, t
he Google Glass augmented reality demo "purports to show “just another day” at MagicLeap’s office. It involves tanks plowing through walls. The video also shows a virtual weapons placed on a real-life desk that you can interact with, plus YouTube and Gmail apps that appear to float in midair—perhaps to show how augmented reality has uses outside of gaming."
In fact, there are already augmented reality system in use today. Vincent John Vincent is the co-
founder & creative force behind GestureTek Inc., the inventors, pioneers and world leaders for over 24 years in video gesture control computing devices. Along with Francis MacDougall they invented and patented "full body immersive virtual reality", where the user's image appears on screen and interacts with the surrounding animation. Thousands of systems have been used in public video games, entertainment and education environments, as well as rehabilitation.

Augmented reality promises to make our man-machine interactions more natural and human-like while offering novel and never-before-possible virtual environments superimposed on the real world to enhance our daily lives. Whether augmented reality represents additional layers of complication in our lives or something truly wonderful useful remains to be seen. I predict that augmented reality may just be the next historic game-changer in graphic user interfaces since we moved from the keyboard to the mouse.

You can check out demos of these augmented reality innovations in the video panels below.

Microsoft HoloLens Demo

Google Glass Magic Leap Demo

Immersive Reality Demo on TedTalks