The near future of Augmented Reality

After reading the paper by Azuma et. al., I am convinced of the fact that augmented reality systems of the likes shown in Science Fiction Movies are not far. However, I think the first commercial applications of Augmented Reality will use the mobile phones as the primary device. The mobile phones are already equipped with a range of sensors like GPS, Electronic Compass, Accelerometer, Camera, etc. which can be used to provide measurements of the environment. This fact is already leveraged by applications such as Google Goggles and only slight improvements to it will make the system real time, thus making it qualify as an Augmented Reality System according to the definition given by Azuma et. al.  I also feel that acceptance of these applications will be higher as they do not require clunky wearable computers.

Another thought that came to my mind is the use of ubiquitous computing for augmented reality based applications. Instead of putting all the responsibility of sensing the environment, doing calculations and displaying results, it might be useful to distribute some of the task to other smaller specialized units present (or planted) in the physical environment of the user. When a user comes in proximity of these computers, the device they are carrying may just fetch the data and display them after doing some minimal calculations.

-Dipto Sarkar



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