The amazing promise of Augmented Reality

Let’s start with the basic premise that current augmented reality (AR) hardware and software (Google Glass, Microsoft Hololens etc.) are about as advanced in the state of the media as the computer was in the days of the space program. Let’s accept that AR will progress over the next few years to being of a visual fidelity to make the overlays visually indistinguishable from ‘reality’ and that the hardware will either become as pleasant as a great pair of glasses or built in to our retina.

With this ‘vision’ in mind we can start dreaming and looking at opportunities in the far future and in the near term where applications include product design, architecture, military environmental protection, navigation, social and gaming, to name the most obvious.

The infrastructures coming together to make this possible is not just speed and tracking but also advanced computer vision where the AR system ‘understands’ what we are looking at which is something which will have deep implications for what this technology will allow us to do.


Information can be overlaid what we see in simple text boxes, such as people’s names at a party or Reminders of something you have meant to ask them (tag by person not just place or time).

Descriptions of buildings or even fake x-ray vision can be overlaid to make learning about a neighbourhood more interesting and public transportation (and other) information can be completely tailored for your needs, not a generic passenger.

Ambient Information

Navigation with AR can include quite subtle direction indicators such as arrows on the side of your view when you need them.


With AR we can have projections lock onto any surface so anyone who has the same ‘channel’ can collaboratively use large horizontal or vertical workspaces without external projectors.

Inserted Reality

We can see buildings before they are built, rooms before they are decorated. This allows for better integration between planners and architects and contractors  ( Guardian )

Modified Reality

Modified reality can show all prices in foreign countries in your native currency, same as temperature and measurements.

Graded Reality

We can also picture heat maps onto people and objects to highlight various attributes. We can imagine our field of view turning monochrome, leaving only the important items in full colour.

& much more… is quite a nice visualisation of this future, though the glasses are not too brilliant.

This was just a really brief ‘literature review’ since it’s outside of my remit at the moment but it was worthwhile to clarify a few perspectives for future thinking