Is this year about to be the year for AR

This Year is going to be the time of AR.

Here near the end of last year, we are already seeing a quick embrace of Augmented reality technology. Portable gadgets like tablet pc's, mini consoles and smart phones are seemingly tailor-made for the new darling of the Information age.

So what is Augmented reality? Well, AR (or ‘augmented reality’ to its friends), is largely the practise of using computer created images and/or information onto real life images (at least the type of AR we’re talking here is, anyhow, it is an open-ended term, so post your complaints in the remarks section, please). Augmented reality can be functional to paper supplements (so when the articles or pictures are viewed through a phone app they jump to life and present extra content), street corners (like the app which can mention all important information pertaining to a restaurant, including reviews, menus and special offers, just by holding your phone in the route of the eatery itself) and even the night sky (yes, some Augmented reality apps will actually offer scientific statistics and Hubble telescope information on divine bodies and constellations as you view them through your phone).

Augmented reality is coming together in a big way and make no mistake about it. Google Glass, a development announced by Google X Lab earlier this year, is one such instance. Taking the form of a fashionable pair of spectacles, Glass users will be able to walk down the road and access any information they see fit as they do so. They will even be able to film their day by day proceedings, or take snapshots of everything as they happen. Reality might be re-shaped in real time by glasses; you are able to even use them to make video calls to loved ones. Google Glass will probably be made available to developers early next year and, by the beginning of 2014, will develop into commercially available, along with many of other exciting products of that ilk.

Augmented reality’s impression on home entertainment (especially video games) may even be felt, but there can be far more ‘grown up’ uses for the technology in the pipeline. Versions of Augmented reality are already getting used to train soldiers, educate would-be surgeons and instruct firefighters in virtual burning buildings. For those who do not have the money for a smart phone, Google Glass or the rest we’ve talked about, you will see the effects of Augmented reality on television sports casting (check out the actual-time analysis overlaid on recent NFL games) and on store window marketing (mischievous high street chain Anne Summers pioneered a very unforgettable one earlier this year).

In 2013, with more money coming in from AR applications, video games and gadgets, we could demand a rapid improvement of this technology. Which means by the top of next year, AR may be an inevitable fact of modern life. We expect Augmented reality to become a significant selling point next year, with businesses offering an greater than before amount of AR-ready mini games as accessories on various devices plus much more Augmented reality apps being built than at any time.

If you’re in training as a general practitioner, a soldier, a policemen or a fireman, the odds are you’ll come across AR (if you haven’t already) in 2013. Certainly, this will not substitute the experience of dashing right into a burning structure, going into battle or performing complex surgery (and it is not attempting to), but the chance is there for more detailed and thorough training for specialists in these areas. Furthermore, it will not be long before CEO’s and managers are holding Augmented reality-infused meetings, in which the attendees can access relevant information in real time, which will certainly beat a Powerpoint presentation any day!

In 2013, anticipate advertisements, newspaper supplements and smart phone games to contain an mounting element of Augmented reality capability. Augmented reality is taking the fast track into our lifestyles and 2013 will be a pivotal time for this.

Next year is going to be the most technologically progressive period in mankind’s story so far and, if that looks like a simple thing to mention, consider the scale of the statement. Much like the Net before it, Augmented reality is set to make a big splash in our lives and 2013 will be the the biggest ripple so far. Frankly, we could’t wait for it...

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