Is true Augmented Reality finally on the way?
AI, VR, holograms, and AR- how long will it take for the future to get here?
Out of all of the futuristic technologies, AR is the most feasible. Overlaying information on to real world settings requires properly interpreting visual data, but not necessarily recreating it.
Yelp unveiled Monocle, an augmented reality feature for iPhones four years ago in 2009. Moderate improvements have been made since then, with the feature coming to Android devices as well. However it's become little more than a novelty. Search functionality is still better suited using the traditional top-down map, but the appeal for AR was well demonstrated.
The problem with modern AR applications is that they are limited to devices which are not typically held up at eye level. For true Augmented Reality, Google Glass is the only true format which shows any promise.
At it's current implementation, Google Glass is still only a tiny screen in the corner of the user's vision. But it'd make sense that future plans include enhanced Augmented Reality with full lens-screens. Clear lenses could project real-time information onto the viewed world, filling a person's vision with pertinent and relevant data, as well as notifications.
There are many obstacles to overcome for true AR. Depth of field, perception, interpreting real world conditions- these are all sizeable tasks to account for. But there are finally many companies with lots of resources invested in the research of AR.
Google Glass- While Google is not focused on AR currently, the appeal warrants a lot of attention from developers. Glasses remain the most logical application for Augmented Reality.
Sony Eye/Microsoft Kinect- While restricted to gaming functionality mainly, both of these devices are dealing with the challenges of reconstructing real world conditions to combine with digital projections. Their progress will help pave the way for real world AR.
Mobile Technology- Any company which manufactures or develops smartphones is aiding in the endeavor for Augmented Reality. Improved camera performance, accelerometers, GPS, compass- all of these features are necessary to produce AR applications, and each are improving with each round of smartphones as companies attempt to outpace each other.
True Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence may still be a ways off, but Augmented Reality may be closer than many people realize. When it comes it'll certainly change how people obtain information, context sensitive data increase performance and enjoyment across a great manly areas.