As more wearable technologies such as the Google Glass and Oculus Rift take over the mobile industry by storm, various innovations are also being developed that enhances our digital experiences using these devices such as the Augmented Reality (AR). It wasn’t the first time we’ve discussed AR, especially that it’s been maximized by some game titles and mobile applications today. But, we feel that we owe you more than a light discussion about this new developing technology. In this post, we’ll have a closer look at augmented reality, including our two cents about it.

Define Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality is a form of technology that presents an enhanced animated version of the reality. It works by overlaying digital images from the camera as seen on the screen. The first recorded AR was in 1993 when Rockwell International built a video map to provide assistance to the Air Force Maui Optical System for space observations. There have been various attempts to maximize this innovative technology in the past, yet its return to the scene only happened at the present time with the release of more powerful mobile devices to run it.

Present AR technologies
Currently, the technology is being tested by various developers to create a perfect product that will maximize its potential. There are mobile games and apps that implements AR through smartphones and tablets. Wearable technologies in the form of headwears are the ones that fully maximized its potential. One of it was the Smart Helmet by the Daqri team. The technology may look bulky with its helmet that looks like a regular bike head gear with a front glass covering. But, this headpiece has cameras connected with it for the user to experience a full 360-degree augmented experience. This was advertised using a man wearing the headgear in a field while working, as it believes to make work more fun and precise.

Today, although these devices and technologies are now out on the market, not much development has been made after its release. 

Smartwatch is the future of AR
We’ve heard of smartphones and tablets with the right app that runs augmented reality, but what about smartwatches that have an increasing number of following?

Today’s smartwatches, even those that came from big mobile manufacturers run with a companion smartphone. At the wearable technology page of the UK’s O2, only the Samsung Gear S has the capacity to take and receive calls and texts, as well as connect to the internet without the need to pair it with a handset. The other wearable devices on the list such as the Moto 360, Pebble, and Sony SmartWatch would require to be connected to a device to fully operate its features. It would require a watch with powerful internal hardware to operate AR.

However, the idea of AR on your wrist is still not impossible, if we’ll consider Google’s attempt to make it happen in the past. In October 2012, Google was reported to patent a smartwatch augmented reality viewer that will maximize the company’s augmented reality technology.

“The watch face will open, which is where the augmented reality kicks in: you can aim the bezel at your surroundings to learn more about them, get information about deals on products, and even get directions,” the report from Hot Hardware said.

However, it has been two years, yet we did not see any sign of the AR-capable smartwatch.

In the end, we believe AR is one of the most futuristic innovations that came to life. With the continuous efforts to develop and maximize the technology through wearable devices (in a form of eyewear), augmented images will soon find a way to enhance our way of living. Various industries can benefit from this innovation, including but not limited to medicine, real estate, and government agencies. 

Article exclusively submitted to X-tech by Jen Birch