A gimmick or the next big thing?
How many of us watched the closing ceremony of the Soccer World Cup on Sunday 11 July, and marveled at the projected images of the nations’ flags and the giant watering hole where the elephants strolled over to have a virtual drink?
Above: Iron Man 2 AR online feature on iamironman2.com
Now, picture this in real time, imagine it being interactive…this is all possible using Augmented Reality, otherwise known as AR. This could very well be the next big thing to hit the design world, the talk around town is that it’s no gimmick.
Augmented Reality, in simple terms, is when graphics, audio and other sensory enhancements are projected or superimposed over a real world environment in real time. AR combines real and virtual to create an interactive platform in which the viewer is directly involved. It works by holding specific HTML codes up to screen via handheld, head mounted or spatial displays. It enhances the viewer’s perceptions of reality exponentially and allows us to play like never before.
Above: Various examples of how to use AR objects.
We have seen examples of AR in movies like Iron Man 2, and Minority Report, where Robert Downey Jnr. and Tom Cruise used this technology to design and manipulate images. While we never dreamed this possible in real life, we are reaching a stage where this, and much more is now suddenly feasible. We can apply this in so many important fields like surgery, teaching, building and navigation. It’s not all serious though, AR has already been used in music videos, advertisements and sporting events.
Now hold onto your seat and just picture how it could be used in the design industry. Paralyzed graffiti artist, Tony Quan AKA Tempton, has already used AR to draw again using his eyes. The simple act of presenting your portfolio could become something of an event, by just holding up a certain code to webcam to unlock the visuals. Print media would undergo a facelift.
Above: The Lost Valentinos performing a song on AR markers on lostvalentinos.com
The retail and fashion industry would also boom using AR, you could zip through catalogues of products on offer, and even try them on virtually (sunglasses shopping, anyone?).
Of course, AR is still in its early stages but who knows where this could go? We could be going to our favourite band’s concert with black and white grid designs on your T-Shirt that bring animations to life when linked to screens, bringing them to life in front of your very eyes…architects would never have to build real life models, and movies and video games would blow your mind. That said, the possibilities are virtually endless and the future of AR undeniably bright.