Augmented Reality (AR) is a relatively new medium that is gaining tremendous traction in the software and hardware industries. Many companies are pushing to develop headsets, Apple, Intel, Google, Magic Leap..etc. Many also are doing a land grab for software that enables building projects for AR.
As someone who has been deep diving into AR for the past year, let me tell you, it gets awkward. Perhaps in the future when there is more general in-the-world social acclimatization to AR headsets, and of course, cost effective AR headsets, this might change – but for now, the AR channel that is ubiquitous, is of course, mobile.
Normally when I’m developing for mobile, I am just as “heads down” as all the other people in the coffee shop hovering over their mobile devices tap-tap-tapping away. But not with AR. With AR, you are often holding that phone up to experience digital projections on the physical world.
I was working on an application for the mobile shop Spillwave. Just for fun I’ll tell you that the application is called Smashed on Uranus. It’s a fun drinking game with just a bit of AR to make the experience engaging. The tricky part is that this application uses what is called “horizontal plane detection” in order to figure out where you should ‘drop Uranus’. Then you spin it around and it gives you drinking instructions.
Anyway – the absurd part is, as one is developing and testing, one will regularly deploy the app to the mobile device, and test.
This leads to the experience of walking around the coffee house, holding up my phone and scanning the room, scanning the room. I place the model on the plane. Then I’m swiping my fingers across the screen, still pointing it across the room.
It looks for all the world as if I am video recording or at least snapping pics of the other patrons. This is not the sort of “center of attention” I would enjoy! I get dirty looks at random from patrons and staff alike. I expect one day I’ll be escorted out of the building, or maybe even verbally attacked! I can’t wait. AR Forever!