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Top five augmented reality innovations of the future

When looking through a camera lense, augmented reality unveils computer generated images superimposed onto the real world, like the yellow stripes on the football field only viewers at home can see. The future is bright for this technology, and one futurist opines on what’s next.

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The future of augmented reality

David Houle, author of Entering the Shift Age, out in January, mines the present trajectory of technology to offer a portentous vision of what the future of technology holds.

According to Houle, we have left the Information Age and entered the Shift Age, a period in human history where change has become the new norm. As a futurist, since 2007, Houle has been defining this age and forecasting what it means and could mean for humanity.

“Looking ahead, it is clear that augmented reality will be one of the major new technologies of the Shift Age,” he notes, revealing what he believes could be the top five augmented reality (AR) innovations of this new age. In his own words below, Houle looks into his crystal ball to reveal what the future of AR:

Innovation one: AR Glasses

In a few short years, many of us will routinely wear glasses that augment our reality. Google looks to be first out of the gate on this with their “Glass” glasses, to be released in 2013. Merging the physical reality with the screen reality, a mini-camera on the frame conveys what you are seeing to the data cloud, which will provide information on it to one of the lenses. This provides immediate visual search information.

These glasses will quickly develop in functionality between 2013-2015 and will become commonplace both in the workplace and, eventually, for leisure.

Innovation two: free and paid AR apps

As we look at the world through our smartphones and AR glasses, corporations will develop both specialized and general apps in both free and paid mode.

In free mode, the corporation will aggregate and provide information on various topics and experiences and have their logo always on display. On a consumer level, think of Corona beer sponsoring the app of the world’s beaches. This will further tie their beach branding to the actual experience and exploration people can have at any beach. Social media commentary on bars, restaurants and the best places to surf will be ever expanding as people add to the content.

In paid mode, a consumer or business will charge a small amount for a particular AR interface for which they are adding curatorial value tied to their expertise.

Innovation three: AR education and trade goggles

The perceived skills gap in the workplace, and the expensive inefficiencies of higher education, will be addressed by these in-depth, programmable goggles to teach a specific skill or mastery of a subject matter. Say you are an auto mechanic used to working on internal combustion engines and a new dealership opens up that sells electric cars. Rather than having to take a course over a number of months or weeks, you will be able to be guided right away, in real time, on how to work on the electric engine.

Innovation four: Brainwave AR

We are now in the early stage of computer–brainwave interface. As this develops, it will move into AR. We can be looking at something and thinking imaginatively about what we see, and it will be created as we think. An example might be an architect looking at a vacant land site and thinking about what design of building would best suit the site.

Innovation five: Second Stage AR headsets and pods

This is when the technology has advanced so far, say in the early 2020s, that what we will experience in full AR mode will be stored by our neurological systems so powerfully that we may wonder: is it real or AR? This of course will take us into deeper issues of morality.

The takeaway

Augmented reality is a very young technology, with its future still fully before it, and we have only scratched the surface of what is possible. Not only for personal use, but for professional, the implications are massive and could prove to be one of the most important technologies in the next few decades.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. ric_holland

    December 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    @SammiMarks

  2. ric_holland

    December 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    @SammiMarks Thanks for the card and presi xx

  3. Petter Emil Anderssen

    January 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I’m thinking augmented reality games, and societies, where people start living in a different world, and eventually you could walk down the street beside a projection(as in seeing him through the glasses, etc) of your best buddy, from the other side of the globe..

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OnePlus swears to kinda stop collecting invasive data from users

(TECH NEWS) Inadvertently discovered during a hackathon, OnePlus was ousted for collecting insane amounts of data on users’ phones and promises to make a small change.

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Users of OnePlus phones were alarmed to learn this week that the company has been collecting large amounts of data from users without their consent or knowledge.

Software Engineer, Christopher Moore was participating in a hacking challenge when he discovered that his phone was sending excessive amounts of data to the OnePlus servers.

While it’s normal for your phone to automatically send data to headquarters when you have a bug or a system crash, OnePlus was collecting data every time the phone was turned off or on, and whenever apps were used.

“Moore says that OnePlus is collecting data such as phone numbers, serial numbers, WiFi and mobile network information, MAC addresses, and information about when and how apps are used, including Outlook and Slack.”

An opt-out option was buried deep within advanced settings. Most users were not aware that their data was being collected and transmitted.

In response to the user outcry, OnePlus posted an explanation on their support forum, saying that they were using the data to “fine tune our software according to user behavior” and to “provide better after-sales support.”

The company has promised to stop collecting MAC addresses, phone numbers, and WiFi information by the end of the month. They also say that they will update their terms of service to be more transparent about the data they are collecting, and will set up an opt-out option in the operating system’s setup wizard that will allow users to decide whether or not they want to join a “user experience program.”

While OnePlus claims that they have never given or sold information to a third party, users are suspicious that the types of data OnePlus is collecting would eventually be sold to marketers.

Even if you choose to opt out of the “user experience program”, OnePlus will continue to collect your data, but it will not be directly associated with your device. Users have generally not been satisfied with this response, saying that the company should give users the option of stopping all data transmissions.

Says Christopher Moore “Unfortunately, as a system service, there doesn’t appear to be any way of permanently disabling this data collection or removing this functionality without rooting the phone.”

You kind of blew it, OnePlus. You were caught red-handed, and it will take more than a partial opt out program to regain your customers’ trust.

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With reward comes risk: facial recognition and privacy

(TECH NEWS) Facial recognition and artificial intelligence are awesome rewards from technical innovation but with reward comes risk.

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Technology is an omnipresent force in all of our lives. It is the core of innovation, providing us with quick, new ways to research, socialize and entertain ourselves. It seems like everyone is taking advantage of rapidly changing technology.

However what one person thinks as a reward of new systems may actually be a risk to someone else.

Take for instance, facial recognition software. Facebook uses it to identify familiar faces in photos and Apple uses it to unlock phones. It’s everywhere.

Even the porn industry is getting in on it. PornHub, a major online source for adult content, announced their new plan to use AI to help categorize the 10,000 plus videos that are uploaded every day.

Prior to this update, the site used a system of tagging videos to keep them organized. I would go into examples of such categories, but I’ll leave that up to the imagination.

One non-explicit example is organizing content based on the names of the stars of the film. Both the site itself and users had the ability to add tags to videos.

Regardless, this was not fast enough. By integrating AI software, PornHub hopes to expedite this process.

While this may sound like a smart business decision, this seems like high risk beginning to inadvertently diminish privacy rights.

Many people in the porn industry have alternate personas to separate their work and personal lives. Facial recognition software may pull from sources from both sides of that spectrum and end up merging the two.

This has already been the case on Facebook via the recommendations the site makes for “people you may know” via your internet practices.

However, it’s not just a matter of protecting the identity for a professional or amateur porn actor, it’s also about the privacy of clients.

Imagine being recommended to friend the star of the last video you streamed. This industry in particular, requires a level of discretion.

To combat some of the fears, PornHub has insists that the AI software only tags from the 10,000 stars in their database. Though as this update has proven, they could expand their database to keep up with the demand in the future.

It’s a technological advantage for their organization, but at what cost to others’ privacy?

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Be My Eyes app offers eyes to those that need ’em

(TECH NEWS) Even with the best coping techniques, some people need help from time to time — enter Be My Eyes for the seeing impaired community.

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It’s nice to see a free app that connects helpful volunteers with folks seeking assistance.

“See” being a relative term here, because the free Be My Eyes app is designed to assist people who are visually impaired or blind. The anonymous and free app allows visually impaired users to connect, via video, to sighted volunteers who can then provide “visual assistance” to help with tasks such as identifying objects or describing environments.

Visually impaired users seeking assistance simply call in and the app finds the first available volunteer, usually within 45 to 60 seconds. The app automatically connects to a sighted volunteer who speaks the user’s language. There are currently volunteers representing 90 languages in 150 countries.

Be My Eyes also tracks the time zones in users’ locations so that visually impaired users can access the service 24 hours a day without worrying that they’ll disturb volunteers at night.

After dark, the app will even find a volunteer in the opposite hemisphere. Users are encouraged to ask for assistance whenever they want and as often as needed.

Sighted volunteers receive a notification when a visually impaired user seeks assistance. The volunteer can then decide whether or not to receive the call. If they aren’t available, the call is simply forwarded to the next appropriate volunteer.

Visually impaired users say they’ve used Be My Eyes to get help with finding lost items, reading instructions, navigating new places and public transportation, shopping, and more.

The app itself was invented by a visually impaired innovator, Hans Jørgen Wiberg, a member of the Danish Association of the Blind who began losing his sight at age 25.

Says Wiberg, “It is flexible, takes only a few minutes to help and the app is therefore a good opportunity for the busy, modern individual with the energy to help others.”

Wilberg presented his idea for Be My Eyes at a startup event in Denmark in 2012. He was able to recruit a team of developers, who rolled out the app in 2015.

Some critics have pointed out that the app tends to reinforce the stereotype that visually impaired people, and people with disabilities in general, are helpless and dependent on others to get by. Presumably, blind people have developed inventive strategies for solving everyday challenges long before Be My Eyes was ever invented.

According to the reviews from sighted volunteers, many wait weeks at a time to get an inquiry. The Be My Eyes network currently has about ten times more volunteers than users, which begs the question: Do blind people actually want to use this app?

If you’d like to try it out, as either a visually impaired user or a sighted volunteer, you can download the app for Android at the Google Play Store or for iOS at the App Store.

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