AR has been around for decades, but nothing much happened on the consumer front until the late 90s when some genius figured out how to overlay the first-down line on the TV broadcast of football games. Today we have the capacity to make AR a household reality through smartphones, cameras, and location-sensing, but will we put it to good use?
Thus far there have been some interesting implementations, most notably Yelp's Monacle feature which allows the user to view the world around them through their smartphone's camera while Yelp overlays the location of nearby businesses. For the most part, though, we've yet to develop an AR application that truly improves daily life. As a result, there's a growing sentiment that augmented reality is a fad.
"Right now it's very awkward, you have to hold up the displays," said Michael Parekh, Managing Partner of StikCo Labs. "Soon these things will be embedded in glasses or whatever, and you'll have a whole new array of things that are possible."
Perhaps we're taking too narrow a view of this under-loved technology. The entire premise of augmented reality sounds like a potential evolution in how you interact with your computer: overlaying information on top of the real world. Imagine your car's windshield giving you real-time, location-enabled directions and notifications. 10 years from now, will Apple's killer new product be iLens augmented reality glasses which display iOS in your view?
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