You may or not be aware, but there is tremendous momentum behind VR at the moment.
Virtual Reality enables your play ultra-immersive video games, watch 360 videos of Snoop Dogg and take part in live surgery! But let us calm down a little bit. What about AR? It is predicted that the AR market will be worth $120 million in revenue by 2020. Which is more than VR.
Yet, do you use AR? What is it? Can you buy it?
AR stands for Augmented Reality, and where it differs from Virtual Reality is that you get to see your immediate surroundings with elements changed. So, for instance, a VR video game takes you to a specially developed world, but an AR experience could be an alien sticking out of the wall in front of you.
Many millions of people actually use AR without really realise that what it is currently. Snapchat users are revelling in the Face Swap and Bunny Ears images and video that you can create with the service. Tap on your face when taking a selfie in SnapChat, and the app quickly scans your face. You can then scroll through many different, cool, effects that happen when you raise your eyebrows or open your mouth. It is truly groundbreaking technology, wrapped up in some stupid fun. You can see our Snapchat Face-Swap efforts below by Al Fox and David Clare.
This is just scratching the surface. The biggest, most advanced, example right now is Microsoft’s HoloLens. Far from a finished product, it costs £3,000 and is only available to developers. But when you put on the headset, you see the room around you, only you then use your fingers to interact with menus, games and applications in front of you. If someone watches you using it, all they see is you waving your arms around like a fool. But from inside, you can see your Skype call on the wall in front of you and then make gesture with your hand to close the call.
It is very difficult to describe with any justice in words, so watch this short video below. It is like that amazing scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise puts on special gloves and then moves his hands around to swipe images and facts around on a giant screen. Only instead of gloves, you wear some strange goggles that look like they are straight from a 1980s Star Trek set and it’s actually real.
While it will take time for products to be created that are affordable, and then for apps to be developed accordingly, there is a massive marketing challenge ahead to get across the idea that strange gestures are the way forward to browsing the web. But thankfully, Snapchat has got many used to the idea of AR already. Strap in, the future is going to be one hell of a ride, providing you like walking around your office or like wearing headsets.