I consider myself as a tech evangelist, constantly making efforts and taking time out from my personal schedule to stay in sync with the latest developments in the tech world. Over the past few years, there is this constant thought in my mind as to what the next big boom in the world of technology will be after the smartphone revolution. I finally have an answer for this – Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Both concepts are undergoing rapid advancements and we are in store for some mega surprises considering the investments being made by conglomerates into both domains.
VIRTUAL REALITY AND AUGMENTED REALITY – ARE BOTH THE SAME?
The simple answer in NO. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are different in their own special ways. Virtual Reality, today, is mainly defined by the use of a head-mounted gear that simulated a virtual environment for a user to experience. Supportive modules like trackpads and joysticks provide an interactive feel of the user dwelling right into the virtual world. The user has the option to interact with virtual elements and feel a new world developing around him. Few of the more renowned developers in the field include Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Virtual Reality, or in other words immersive multimedia, has been a big hit among the common tech enthusiasts, especially within the gaming community. The concept is making inroads into the education sector worldwide as research has proven that students respond positively to virtual based study protocols rather than just learning from books. Even the architecture industry is taking advantage of this concept as yet to be designed mega urban projects are first converted into the virtual realm for the clients to get a feel of the overall environment. The concept is promising and further modification and implementations will make the concept more accessible to the common man and are sure to be part of our day to day life in the near future.
Now let’s focus on Augmented Reality. This concept is slightly different from Virtual Reality, both in terms of the systems used and the actual usage criteria. Augmented Reality can be better defined as the ability of machines to give the user an experience of a product/service before actually making the final investment. For example, many smartphones today, most of them being super expensive has the Augmented Reality feature. This enables the concept of superimposing images and or elements as part of the immediate real-world surroundings.
Project Tango, authored by Google, is one of the more well-known concepts in the domain. The hardware part of it mainly involves a suitable processor, input devices, adaptive display and sensors. Augmented Reality works great for the real estate and e-commerce sector. A potential home buyer could experience his new home in the form of Augmented Reality to get an actual feel of the place. A person interested in getting a new piece of furniture could make use of this technology to virtually deploy the furniture into the actual world to see if it suits the place of his/her choice.
Another important player in the field of Augmented Reality is Microsoft’s HoloLens. Also known as Project Baraboo, HoloLens is a pair of mixed reality smart glasses. The concept is not well known to the global audience as the pre-production version is currently being sold in the United States and Canada, and that too at 3000 US$. The device incorporates an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), four sensors to understand the environment, camera with a 120x120 degree angle of view, a 2.4MP video camera, microphones and an ambient light sensor. The concept is being worked on by Microsoft at a rapid pace and more advancements are expected in the following months.
THE FUTURE FOR DEVELOPERS
As previously mentioned in this blog, there are massive investments being made both in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. To go ‘ Virtual’ is the new buzzword in the industry. Many firms are trying to implement interesting features & deploy products based on the two concepts and are on recruitment overdrive. A simple Google search will get you tons and tons of vacancies in the domain. I would strongly advise that developers take the time out to gain working knowledge of the two concepts to broaden the scope of your future. For starters, I suggest familiarizing the following tools:
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is going to redefine the future. It would only make sense for developers to be early adopters of the same. Technology waits for no one and only the chance takers can make it big. The future is yours, make the most of it!
Hope you all have enjoyed this blog. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments. You can reach me at https://twitter.com/shemeermali.