We have always imagined a world where technology is deeply integrated into our lives in such a way that increases human productivity, efficiency and convenience while minimising the margin of error in everything that we do. The vision of this strong connectivity between technology and human interaction might arrive sooner than we think with Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things making rapid progress in the tech sector. We have already seen Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens and the worldwide phenomenon Pokémon GO and here are five more ways that AR and IoT can revolutionise the way we do things everyday.
1. Holographic windscreens in Uber cars
For those who rely on a service that can take you immediately to your destination at a moment’s notice, an Uber is a necessary part of life. Of course, in a very populated city it can be difficult for the caller to distinguish themselves for the Uber driver to see you amongst the bustling crowds. This issue can be mitigated by Uber tracking your location through your mobile phone but as we all know; GPS and cellular coverage isn’t always working at 100% when we really need it. So how can we solve this issue? How about a beautiful augmented car windscreen that can display metadata of the caller who has requested a specific Uber driver in real-time through the tracking of their IoT-enabled Uber app through their phone? That way, the driver is able to easily find that needle in the human haystack just by looking at his windscreen.
2. Easily diagnose a hospital patient with AR scanning
Hospitals cater to patients every single second of the day and with little time to waste when lives are on the line, any technological advancements to assist doctors and nurses in the operating room can make all the difference. There already exist machines that can scan patients such as X-ray machines and while these are effective in that they produce a rough image of a patient, with Augmented Reality and IoT we can do better. A scan, viewed through an augmented piece of equipment that is able to extract metadata from the scan and give us detailed information on any anomalies that may appear on any of the vital organs. This could potentially eliminate human error during critical moments in operating rooms so our hardworking doctors and nurses can focus on the more important task at hand.
3. Detecting lines, cables, leads beneath surfaces for maintenance
Cable management is a hassle. We all have chargers, adapters, earphones coiled and tangled all under our desks and at the bottom of our bags. So you can imagine the headache when trying to manage cables that provides internet service to our homes or supplying power to generators that keep an entire empire operating. Imagine what would happen when a fault occurs and an entire building’s power cuts off? Technicians would spend precious time searching through a large confusing cobweb of pipes and leads (which are typically behind a wall or underground) to diagnose the problem. Using cables that are IoT-enabled that would send out a signal when a fault occurs, technicians can use an AR device that could allow the user to see cables beneath surfaces and pinpoint the exact location of the fault. This removes the time and effort spent on pointless searching so the problem is able to be fixed and the company be up and running in little time.
4. Video games – Game Assets in a real-world environment with Augmented Reality
Microsoft revealed a special project that involved the smash-hit video game Minecraft and a prototype of their HoloLens, a pair of glasses that allows the user to see virtual objects in the real world to interact with. The virtual world of Minecraft was magically formed on top of a real world physical desk on the Microsoft stage in front of audiences and the user could interact this world. Another recent example was with the worldwide phenomenon Pokémon GO – a mobile game that allowed users to hunt down and capture various virtual creatures and add them to a collection. This incredibly simple premise of a game brought legions of people from all ages, genders, and races together forming bonds over collecting cute little pocket monsters. These are examples that currently exist albeit very simple applications using Augmented Reality but the next step of this would be to refine the experience. Take for instance a player wearing an IoT-enabled device that monitors and collects data about his body: temperature, breathing pattern, heartbeat. This allows an AI in a horror video game to tune the experience to this particular person’s habits to provide them with the ultimate entertaining experience.
5. Shopping – the Augmented Reality experience
Amazon recently opened their new project Amazon GO, a physical store that removes the need for queues or checkouts. Using a combination of technologies, including IoT, it has the ability to sense when items are taken off a shelf and that data is added to a virtual cart. As the customer leaves the store, the total value of the virtual cart is calculated and charged through the customer’s Amazon account. The technology is impressive but we can take it one step further with Augmented Reality. We could have a device that could reveal to us the exact location of an item in the 3D space without the need to search through multiple aisles and best of all, it’s already a device that we all carry in our pockets. Mobile phone cameras will help us locate a particular item immediately buy simply pointing it around the store. It sounds cool and futuristic, and that is exactly what AR and IoT is capable of.