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All posts in Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality Now

Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality (AR/VR/XR). There are already a slew of devices, headsets, and mobile apps for the niche.

We all know hardware is both labor and capital intensive. You only need to look at the blogosphere spin on Magic Leap and others to know that we haven’t fully arrived at consumer ready, daily wearables to replace our phones or laptops.

Augmented Reality - Hololens1Augmented Reality - Devices

Full disclosure: I am a former Magic Leap employee. I don’t agree with all the hot takes in many tech blogs on what went right or wrong at the company.

The New Browser Wars

Today we are probably going to hear and read much more from Apple on this at WWDC and while this is going on, Facebook are pushing hard to launch their AR/XR. Anyone who has been following CVPR (Computer Vision Event) knows that the technology and innovation are flourishing and consumers are only going to benefit from the “new browser/mobile/computer wars”.








I don’t understand any of this …

For the uninaugurated, Augmented (or Mixed Reality) superimposes digital content, apps etc on our real world thru wearable computing devices or our smartphones. We still see the real world but we are adding layers of data to it.

Virtual Reality takes us into a world entirely constructed in the digital plane and any content or apps we see are there. We do not see the real world or interact with it.

Augmented Reality gets interesting in how we interact with the real world and our AR content. Sensors on these devices allow perception of depth, object, and spatial recognition and that our apps and content (preferably) adhere to the rules of physics.

Augmented Reality - Scotty


If our personal computers had webcams, and our smartphones have cameras, accelerometers and gyroscopes then these wearable AR & VR devices have these and other sensors to provide the data needed for our interactions.

The Warptest POV

As I have already said, the form factor of headsets has not delivered a mainstream consumer experience… yet. Google Glass had its own challenges and limitations. When headsets evolve into glasses-like wearables or lighter headsets then we will be ready for primetime.

If you want to get started in seeing Augmented Reality, then if your iOS / Android supports ARCore / ARKit you can Google a slew of animals and then see them in your room alongside your furniture, kids etc. Another alternative is simply go to the App / Play Store and search for AR Tape Measure and try any of the apps with a high rating.

Augmented Reality is here. It is going to change how we view the world and wearable AR may replace our smartphones and laptops.

Augmented Reality Is Content…

Augmented Reality and by extension Virtual and Mixed Reality are the new content. Content is king. We’ve all heard it and read it multiple times over the last decade.

Content about us or our brand has an impact both positive and negative, often spreading virally.

Augmented Reality presents new challenges in how we manage and maintain our brand or reputation.

Ownership Issues

Augmented Reality is often location based. Just look at Pokemon Go, Snapchat / Instagram Location Based Stories and others. In the past, if content was written about you, your brand or physical site of your company, it was all about where it was hosted (blogs, social media, even video or Yelp reviews) but the big change with Augmented Reality is that the content is at your location and short of banning the use of apps or smartphones onsite, anyone can create AR content that is tied irrevocably to your location.

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Museums and art galleries are experiencing a reality where anyone can add digital content to them. Imagine the scenario where someone either creates an inappropriate or unwanted AR. Control of the ether has flown the coop.

Some see this as a positive transformation, but the big question is, how do you curate this content? In fact, can a museum, gallery or any other private or public entity claim ownership of the location base for the content added as an AR?

Does a museum etc even have any direct redress opposite the app developers to have reputation damaging AR removed? Imagine a politician running a campaign and his opposition creating an AR at his campaign HQ or his next speaking venue. What if the location is controversial and Augmented Reality added by visitors contains strong or equally controversial opinions.

The idea behind Augmented Reality as an immersive, additional layer of rich data that offers an experience we wouldn’t otherwise get is a powerful one. AR apps are not just about social media but also useful in industry, education and can contribute to a museum experience. With ARKit and ARCore our smartphones make it easier for us to create and consume AR content but with great power, comes great responsibility. Or does it in this case? Is the genie simply out of the bottle?

The Warptest POV

Instagram as an example is something we can be calmer about. In paying homage to Snapchat Stories, Instagram made this content temporary so the damage of a negative or unwanted AR is limited. Prior posts have raised the idea that technological disruption can swiftly become our Frankenstein’s Monster. I’m sure if you read the (example) Snapchat terms and conditions, there are clauses that indemnify the company and they clearly have guidelines for approving “lenses” and geo-filters. Snapchat are only one player in the AR market, Quis custodiet ipsod custodes?

Once again, legislation lags behind innovation. Can Augmented Reality content be considered intellectual property? Does ownership of the location supersede any right to create location base content? Is there even a way for a brand or person to easily monitor their AR reputation?

Museums and others like them will have to find solutions to this issue. This is a huge opportunity. An opportunity for the app creators to deliver a solution for searching locations for this Augmented Reality content. As for an appeal process for owners to claim their location and be able to request that apps take down hostile, offensive or other allegedly inappropriate content, search engines offer a similar solution so why not?

Third party developers may be able to develop a reputation management solution if these AR platforms offer an API that supports this.

Here’s a free suggestion for you Dennis, Swarm (formerly the app known as Foursquare) displays photos of check-in locations why not similarly offer AR for the check-in?

Augmented Reality - Swarm app

The real opportunity is for us to use location based Augmented Reality constructively.

We seem to have failed somewhat with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, let’s not fail with Augmented Reality.