Augmented Reality

About Augmented Reality:

Augmented reality is a technology-based platform in which technology is used overtop of some real-world element. It is important to distinguish augmented reality from virtual reality, as they are not the same. Augmented reality provides the user with an artificial experience that uses some aspect of the real world, while virtual reality lacks the inclusion of any real-world aspects.
While developers experimented with augmented reality in the 20th century, it was first used commercially in 2008 when car company, Mini, used augmented reality to provide potential buyers an opportunity to experience the car without actually going to a dealership. In 2011 National Geographic used augmented reality to provide a lifelike exhibit of extinct animals in today's environment. In 2012 Google introduced Google Glass and gave the world their first practical look at wearable technology capable of utilizing augmented reality. Recently, Pokemon Go was a popular application using augmented reality. This application used elements of life logging to track a user's location and distance moved. As the user moved, they were able to catch different Pokemon characters. Augmented reality is successful as a technology in bridging the gap between the real world and the world of technology and artificial graphics. The comfort of experiencing the real world as part of the technological allows this software to have a wider consumer base. One of the current roadblocks of augmented reality is that there are no specific devices for using it as there are goggles for virtual reality. However, it is available in various forms on tablets, laptops, and smartphones, meaning it is widely accessible.

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Case Study: PTSD and AR

by Luana

Background:

AR for Veterans is a case in which AR is used to help soldiers from the Vietnam war overcome PTSD. This specific case analyzes how AR tools, such as AR googles and sound devices, can sooth Vietnam veterans. In this case they show how the PTSD symptoms and psychosis did decrease quite bit amongst the studied. And for the skeptical minds who are wondering how could AR help in any way with PTSD, well, it is by introducing something soothing during a trigger. For example the sound of fireworks is similar to gunshots. In this specific instance they will show or make a sound that reminds the person of something safe and calm, for some a song and others the view of a farm. Views of real life places such as familiar farms also incorporates the element of mirror worlds. The technology involved varies due to the complexity of the case. Something that could have been improved was a wider variety of participant, which in this case was difficult since in the late 90s already many veterans were from an older generation. Additionally, some veterans lost some of their senses, making it difficult to use consistent methods (like googles or sound devices) throughout.

Strengths:

This program offers a new and innovative way to help those suffering from mental illnesses. It also integrates AR technology into the medical field.

Weaknesses:

One weakness is that the procedure is not consistent throughout. Additionally, this method of therapy is focused on one specific age group and could face reluctance from an older demographic that is not as willing to engage in unfamiliar technology. This program could have the adverse effect of over time having the veterans associate the positive stimuli with the negative one.

Future:

In the future this can be broadened to help all those suffering from mental illnesses that have a specific trigger. It can also develop a brand new field in bioengineering that helps understand "the interaction between the brain and machine."

Case Study: Ikea Place

by Caroline
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Background Info:

Ikea Place is a free application created by the Swedish furniture company Ikea. It allows user to picture how different pieces of furniture would look in their space by allowing users to place graphics of Ikea furniture directly into their homes. The app is able to run off of smartphones and tablets and can be downloaded through the Android and Apple app stores.

Strengths:

Ikea Place encourages consumers to take the next step in purchasing furniture. As more and more shopping occurs online, the ability to picture what items look like in real life is lost. This application bridges the gap between the online and real world.

Weaknesses:

The main room for improvement in this application is that the graphics are somewhat unsophisticated in their ability to show the real texture of the fabric. Improving this would give users a better idea of how furniture looks in their house. Furthermore, the app does not have a search function, which is inconvenient if a user is searching for a specific piece of furniture.

Future Uses:

In the future, this application can include non-solid pieces like curtains, bedding, etc. This type of software could also be applied on a greater scale and be used to visualize how a proposed building would look on a vacant lot or in the setting of a specific neighborhood. The application could also be combined with secure payments in order to allow users to seamlessly view and purchase furniture. Furthermore, using web analytics, Ikea could see which furniture items are most commonly viewed on their website and on the app and place these at the top of the list of items.

Case Study: Ingress

by Dex
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History:

On November 15, 2012 developer, Niantic, introduced a mobile augmented reality game called Ingress. The application has fetched over 14 million downloads although player numbers have decreased, especially since the introduction of Pokémon Go, by developer Niantic.

Playing:

Ingress is a free application and can be downloaded for both Apple and Android users. Users must decide between joining the resistance or the enlightenment as their "team." The game utilizes Google Maps to provide the user with locations of portals. Oftentimes, portals are located at monuments or important public areas. Users travel, often by walking, although some enthusiasts will drive great distances, to capture the portals. Once captured, users and their respective teams defend their portals from the opposing side by using resonators to strengthen their portals. Users can weaken enemy portals by attacking resonators with XMP bursters. As the resonators weaken, the portals become neutralized and vulnerable to capture by the enemy. Once two or more portals are captured, users can link portals via a portal key, strengthening them and creating the potential to capture more territory. Once three or more portals are linked, the user has created control fields. The more control fields, the stronger the individual and team.

Strengths:

Ingress has found success due to its free gameplay and involvement of technology in the real world. Players are required to leave their homes and explore the world in order to find portals. Ingress is a time-based game and therefore even players with little to no skill can be successful if they are willing to spend the time.

Weaknesses:

Needing to capture portals has become an issue for some, as players often spend time driving to portals and on occasion trespass on private property in order to capture portals.

Future:

Ingress' future is dependent on its ability to attract new players and sustain the current players. Ironically, Niantic's Pokémon Go has led to a drop in Ingress players, but the game is still relatively popular. The future of Ingress will also depend on future updates and the ability of the app to create new gameplay, as the app cannot survive forever with such a basic platform. Additionally, the amount of revenue from in-app purchases will also determine the future of the application. The success of Ingress and other Augmented Reality technology will also depend on the popularity, just as Virtual Reality is extremely popular today.

Case Study: Snapchat Lenses

by Haynes Young
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Increasingly frazzled by the traffic in front of her, Sally, a bitmoji on Ayud97 H.'s youtube channel. Sally looks around raising her arms at the supposed traffic surrounding her pounding on her wheel. Her eyes flared, the brown haired woman pounds on the wheel even harder—BAM! Her airbag deploys right into her face.

Sally, no matter how real her feelings may seem, is fake in the real world. Sally is a bitjmoji, a 3D emoji essentially, and even better, Sally is a 3D emoji of human Sally, her creator. A 3D character interacting in our world through an iPhone screen. One can thank One could create their own, Raquel, Laura, and Malik thanks to Snap, Inc.'s application, Snapchat.

History

Before Snapchat, Reggie Brown came up to Evan Spiegel at Stanford about the idea of disappearing photos and thus three friends, Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, would later on release the Picaboo app. Brown eventually accused his cofounders of stealing the company away from him when they left him over a supposed patent argument. After many years in court, the lawsuit was settled between Brown, the plaintiff, and Murphy and Spiegel for $157.5 million. The first augmented reality Snapchat ever released came via snapchat lenses in January of 2015. Snapchat would then go onto add 3D objects into its arsenal in April of 2017.

How do Snapchat Lenses work?

Analysis

  • Widely popular: “A new report by eMarketer said some 40 million Americans will engage with augmented reality monthly in 2017, up 30 percent over last year.”
  • Snapchat's already ginormous user base aids the expansion of AR
  • Very Personal: One can alter their own face or bitmoji in their own reality

Challenges

  • "Snapchat growth will continue to contribute to AR users in the future, but in the next several years eMarketer also expects Facebook and Instagram Stories to be significant growth drivers of AR usage."
  • Snapchat does not allow third-party apps to develop software for it while Facebook does

Future

According to Phys.org, a research firm called eMarketer, states that: "By 2019, the number of augmented reality users is expected to top 54.4 million, or nearly one in five internet users…The group said 22.4 million people in the US will use some form of virtual reality monthly in 2017, double the number from 2016.” And while there is little information on what's next for Snapchat's AR features, I believe we will be able to put a depiction of ourselves in the real world at some point down the road with the continued improvement of Snapchats current software. Look for the continued sharing of art, interaction, and an increase in advertising of all kinds including an increase in celebrity promotion for Snapchat in the near future.

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