Imagine you’re in a dark Seattle bar. The bar top features a row of single malt Scotch whiskies that you’ve never seen before. There is a brand, Glenkinchie, which you’ve never heard of before. So you hold up your smartphone, or put on your "smartglasses," and with one click, you can instantly view text, images, graphics, GPS, and video relating to the Glenkinchie distillery, Scotch whiskey, Scotland, malt whiskey, and basically anything you could ever want to know related to the topic, right in front of your eyes. This is augmented reality, and this is our not-so-distant future.
Augmented reality explained
Augmented reality is all the buzz in the tech world these days, as the major players—Google, Sony, Facebook—are investing billions into this next-level technology, according to an article posted by readwrite.com. With augmented reality, we’ll be able to alter, and essentially enhance, our real-time environment with overlaying digital sensory messages.
You may be wondering how this is different than virtual reality. Where virtual reality replaces your environment with a simulation, augmented reality adds desired elements to your current experience as it’s happening.
According to an article posted on wired.com, Valentin Heun, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, is: "building an app that he hopes will effectively turn the one-dimensional objects in our lives into a library of parts whose functionalities can be mixed and matched via an augmented reality interface."
So, how will augmented reality work in your every day life?
Many are already using augmented reality apps on their smartphones for the purpose of navigation—that’s right, hold up your phone and you can view information on restaurants, subway stations, and directions layered over your real-time environment.
Perhaps you’re redecorating your apartment—augmented reality could allow you to see furniture, fixtures, and other décor within the room, as you are walking through it.
In addition to the high number of augmented reality jobs that are becoming available, we’ll likely be using this technology in job searches as well. Get a visual update of job listings as you walk by that marketing firm you’ve had your eye on downtown. Or access immediate, virtual listings of all companies hiring as you’re walking the neighborhood.
According to an article posted by informationweek.com, Nokia is already working on an augmented reality job seeker app, JobLens, which means, "job seekers pan their phone around any given area and they will see what companies in the region are hiring, explore job listings, and view the listings from multiple angles (street view and birds-eye view) for improved orientation." Check out these awesome visuals by BuzzFeed demonstrating more ways augmented reality will soon be used on a day-to-day basis.
The concept of augmented reality isn’t without its skeptics, however. Some say the technology isn’t quite there, or that it’s the same as virtual reality, or that our smartphones won’t have the capacity for such complex data. Some even say it will soon become another channel for advertisers to reach the masses. Perhaps these assessments are true. However, regardless of what people are saying, there is one thing that cannot be denied—the future is most definitely now.
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