As technological innovation continues to advance, we are shifting the fundamental way we want to interact with the information around us; we are no longer focused on screens but looking up to have technology blend into our daily lives more naturally. Augmented Reality brings elements of the virtual world into our world thus enhancing the things we see, hear, and even feel. Augmented Reality, or AR, sits in the middle of the mixed reality spectrum, between the real world and the virtual world, and is believed to have the most potential for practical use cases. Whether it’s students in med school opening up beating hearts in AR to learn how they operate to become more effective doctors or construction workers reviewing building specs to make sure no unnecessary mistakes are made, Augmented Reality is helping us be smarter, faster and more effective.
For Augmented Reality to reach its full potential it’s not enough for applications to be able to display information; AR will need to be smart. The idea of integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems is not a revolutionary one. Companies working with AR today are already finding new ways to intelligently guide their applications to understand where the user is in space, the objects around the user, and how all these things interact and relate with each other. On the other side companies around the world are training these AI systems to recognize objects and people.
For example, Google is using its deep learning algorithms for object recognition. As technology like this continues to evolve, machines will be able to provide us additional context and understanding to the world around us. Imagine taking a trip to a foreign country and having AR point out interesting places around you or help you with directions or translations.
Closer to home, retail stores will allow shoppers using AR with AI overlays to better understand options through descriptions, buyer ratings, and even complementary goods. This will bring the powers of online retailers like Amazon into the brick and mortar store, which might be the one thing that can save physical stores.
While the benefits for AI in Augmented Reality are seemingly endless there are a couple of major restraints from having this technology fully up and functional today. First, and perhaps the largest hindrance, the lack of an AR Cloud. This software infrastructure will need to be in place to hold, process and stream all AR experiences as well as a digital twin. The digital twin refers to the digital replica of physical assets, processes, and systems which provides information on how they can interact with the physical and digital world around them.
Another large problem is once this infrastructure is set up how will we be able to effectively access it. Software today is already constrained by limited hardware abilities and as the need for real-time data and graphics continue to grow, the need for intelligent optimization will become a necessity. While early adapters to Augmented Reality with AI might be more forgiving, user experience will need to be clean, streamlined and easy in order for mass adoption to take place.
While Virtual Reality has flopped in the minds of the consumer, Augmented Reality is being turned to as the new most desired technological advancement in our daily lives. The potential AR has made is astronomically better by the interweaving of smart systems or AI.
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Curious about AR's expansion to the public? Check out this post.