Friday, November 16, 2018
AR AppsAR GlassesAugmented RealityHeadset AR Apps

Are AR glasses ready for consumers? Are consumers ready for AR glasses?

Technology needs time to develop, and end users need time to become accustomed.

With augmented reality, you are simply adding small portions of virtual reality onto the actual reality. AR glasses are often available in the form of smart glasses, something similar to Google Glass. There is no need to be connected to a personal computer to use them, and because you are not zoning out totally, it is possible to move about and perform activities while enjoying two different realities; an actual reality and a virtual one.

Developers will benefit from a new platform that Apple is introducing to help them bring high-quality AR experiences to iPad and iPhone with the use of the motion sensors, in-built cameras, and powerful processors in iOS devices. Developers can take advantage of the ARKit to tap into new computer vision innovations to develop compelling and comprehensive virtual content on top of real-world scenes for industrial design, interactive gaming, life-like shopping experiences, and more.

ARKit is going to have support for SceneKit, Unity, and Unreal. This information was also shared by Apple:

  • Xcode app templates
  • Ambient lighting estimation
  • Plane estimation with basic boundaries
  • Scale estimation
  • Stable, fast motion tracking

On the other hand, ARCore is a platform for developing AR apps on Android. It uses three vital technologies to incorporate virtual content with the real world as experienced through the camera of your phone:

  • A phone can understand and track its position in relation to the world with the help of motion tracking.
  • Environmental understanding lets the phone to identify the location and dimension of flat horizontal surfaces such as a coffee table or the ground.
  • Light estimation enables the phone to estimate the current lighting conditions of the environment.
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It is too early to determine what the new ecosystem of hardware and software built to offer AR experiences will turn out to be in the near future; however, it is safe to envisage that AR glasses will be part of the picture. How come augmented reality is all of a sudden ready for large-scale consumption? And why are we not jumping (magically!) into AR glasses?

The answers are quite obvious: Technology needs time to develop, and end users need time to become accustomed.

On the growth route, the consumer market was warmed up in small phases by Pokémon GO and Snap Filters, for a more robust augmented reality experience on their mobile phones. And the handset is opening the way for the next landmark in the AR development: headsets. We can look forward to consumers following the usual adoption curve with AR headsets, in the same way, they would for any innovation. Before AR glasses go mainstream, makers have some obstacles to clear, which include content, form, cost, and function.

In a couple of years, after some phases of advancement and miniaturization per Moore’s Law, service providers may well have the AR glasses subsidized, or otherwise sell them at wholesale prices. This might considerably decrease the perceived risk, reduce prices and result in higher sales among the majority of early customers and the late ones as well. Carriers may well benefit from increased billable network usage since heavy processing-powered apps together with entertainment consumption will probably dwarf the phone data usage of many consumers. Furthermore, the large-scale adoption of AR glasses itself will make the prices to drop as the costs of production climb.

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Attaining the correct form factor may also necessitate producers to think of the configuration of the AR glasses. Will the glasses need an external control box to house processors and power sources, or will they be a standalone product? Will buyers wear smart glasses, which are tethered to their a control box or their phones? They may if the glasses themselves look trendy and give immense value to wearers. A good example is Beats that offers oversized, tethered headphones that succeeded massively in the era of Bluetooth and ear buds.

The vital issues of the life and efficiency of the battery might emerge as a barrier to developing the best functionality. At present, there is a rise in investments for businesses in this space, such as Gridtential Energy and Microvast, two firms reinventing the chemistry of the conventional battery. We can look forward to revolutionary battery companies such as these to have a great impact on the augmented reality industry, not least by offering a much more efficient battery for powering AR glasses.

Also, processors that run hot are a hindrance to attaining optimum functionality. Most of the vital features of these glasses, from keeping track of the movements and environment of a user to creating geographically precise contextual overlaid content, lead to over-heated processors. Manufacturers find it hard to dissipate heat on the AR glasses with head-worn processors.

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These issues are demanding; however, manufacturers in the AR sector have the motivation and resources to confront them. What is at stake is nothing less than the next transformative experience in innovation, and what manufacturer would not wish to be there when history is made? We would not be shocked to see consumers, the early adopters, and innovators, putting on the next generation of AR glasses within the next few years.

ARPost Team
the authorARPost Team