Augmented Reality Is Transforming the Arts

Augmented Reality Is Transforming the Arts

“A picture is worth a thousand words” but with the addition of augmented reality (AR) and 3D visualization–it’s worth a million. 

Augmented reality allows artists to bring their creativity to life like never before. Murals, paintings, and art displays no longer have to be static–instead, they can create an interactive experience for the viewer. Augmented reality has the potential to unlock new forms of self-expression and storytelling. Artists dream of connecting with each person who walks past their piece, but this isn’t always possible. However, if artists take advantage of augmented reality, they can connect with their audience in a deeper way to convey the message behind their work.

Artists all over the world are beginning to explore the possibilities behind interactive technology. In fact, there has been an ongoing mixed-reality project since 2011 called  Heavy Projects–The Art of AR. Their portfolio features thousands of artists who have disrupted the AR space to create murals that go beyond the traditional. On their about page they describe their message to use new mixed reality technologies to delight audiences while also maintaining artists’ truth. These murals prove that augmented reality can move beyond experimentation and foster emotional connections between artists and audience members in a new way.

As technology has progressed, big tech companies and social media have understood the importance of captivating the audience so that they stay on the app or website for as long as possible. More data is coming out that video and interactive media get people to stay longer. According to research, “93% of marketers agreed that interactive content is effective in educating its buyers versus static”. This same concept applies to art, if artists can get their buyers or audience members to stay longer, the more successful they can be. Augmented reality is the key to doing so. Not only that, but augmented reality allows the viewer to find out more information about the piece, whether that be title, message, or background on the artist. All this is virtually displayed in real-time to bring a unique experience to each viewer. 

Creativity has the power to evoke a sense of joy and playfulness in each of us. Every human can tap into their own version of creativity, and AR has the potential for us to share and connect through our creativity even more. Imagine, taking a walk in a big city to see murals and street art all augmented to captivate your attention. In turn, you learn more about the history of the city and get an essence of what the culture is about. Augmented reality is transforming the arts to give us more connections and foster our self-expression.

AR In Our Daily Lives: Smart Cities

AR In Our Daily Lives: Smart Cities

Think about all the things you do in a day. Maybe it’s work, grocery shopping, or school. At some point in the week, you have to stop for gas and maybe socialize with friends. Everyone’s routine is different, yet many of the same things need to be accomplished. Now, imagine a city where everything is faster and smarter. With augmented reality and artificial intelligence, you could get your errands done at three times the speed you had before.

If we think back to just a decade ago, we would remember how much planning it took to ensure we didn’t miss the bus or called a cab for the airport. Come apps like Uber and Lyft, with rides available right around the corner, the process is much faster. With technology, we have answers at our fingertips that changed our routines for the better. 

For quite some time, there has been interest in smart cities. The aim is to provide improved citizen services and connectedness. Thanks to the recent deployment of 5G networks, this isn’t far from our reach. With immersive technology like AR, navigation around a city could be much easier. Rather than having to pull out our phones, open a navigation app, and arrive at a dead-end–AR would allow us the chance to find our destination with ease. As we think about all the necessities that come with maintaining a city, we can also imagine how augmented reality can help. Some of the most important aspects for a well-functioning city include: maintenance, public safety, public health, transportation, and tourism.

Augmented reality could allow municipal workforces to accurately maintain city assets. Whether that’s streetlights, cell towers, or roads. With an AR device, maintenance workers can visualize information hands-free and in real-time. If needed, guidance from experts in another location would be easily accessible.

As far as transportation goes, imagine AR technology on your windshield or car where you would be alerted of a traffic accident or vehicle health. Physical transit system maps would be augmented so that users could access portions of the network they actually need. Tourists would benefit from this feature as well, as it can be confusing and frustrating trying to find your way in a new city. In fact, AR would improve tourism. Culturally significant buildings and museums would become much more educational and interactive if immersive technology is established. AR creates interesting connected experiences for tourists and citizens alike. In combination with artificial intelligence, our cities will be a center of wonder and convenience. 

The greatest news is, smart cities and AR are within reach. Startups and big tech are capitalizing on the vast opportunities present with AR. Many sectors like the power and utility industries are also investing in immersive technology to make work processes more efficient. The examples above are just a few real-use cases of AR in the public sector. Augmented reality will continue to create a fascinating world where we blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds.

AR In Our Daily Lives: Privacy Matters

AR In Our Daily Lives: Privacy Matters

Think about our daily lives and all that comes with it. Your day might look different from someone else’s, but there are commonalities to most of our days. For the general population, they go to work, cook food, and run errands if necessary. I could go on with a list of common tasks. Point is, how many of these tasks are simplified given technology? We think back to an era without GPS or smartphones, and many of these tasks take longer than they do now. The World Wide Web changed how people operated and technology continued to advance from there–until now, where we cannot imagine our life without it. 

With that said, Augmented reality (AR) is trending upwards and will soon make a powerful impact on the way we behave. Emerging technologies such as AR will need to ensure that the user is the center of everything. The problem is, how can we make the user the center of everything without invading their privacy?

For advanced AR technology to work, it has to create a 3D model of the real world, and this can mean gathering tremendous amounts of information about us and our surroundings. This allows the system to overlay objects on the physical world in a realistic way. Yet, it is important to consider what happens with all this data. If it sends the information to a “cloud” could it be encrypted? Will this data be shared with third parties where they target us with ads, but on a much greater scale? The questions don’t stop there. 

Think about if you are holding a business meeting or connecting with someone for the first time for a job interview, would you want all your information easily accessible for them to see? This is for you to contemplate. Many people would agree that they don’t mind for a job interviewer to see their LinkedIn profile digitally as they enter the room, while others would disagree. This is just one real-world example of how levels of privacy could vary from person to person. As AR technology rolls out, it needs to be extremely considerate of each individual’s preferences.

The questions of human factors remain and how much we are willing to let AR technology into our private lives. Just like the internet, it will take some time to balance and govern the space to ensure the user’s best interest. 

In an article on the risks of AR, they make an outstanding point that, “as we marvel at the innovation and creative uses of AR, we have the opportunity to move forward with our eyes open to the risks, and with the intention of building a collaborative and participatory regulatory framework for the technology that can help mitigate those risks and serve humankind.”

Slowly but surely, we must tread this new space with caution and excitement as we progress forward into a world with immersive technologies.

Augmented Reality and Geographic Location in Emergency Response

Augmented reality can be crucial for helping the population navigate towards the correct location. As mentioned in our previous article, Augmented reality can become so personalized it will navigate, for instance, someone towards their desired restaurant. However, we have not discussed the use of augmented reality and geospatial analysis regarding rescue teams and medical necessity. For emergency medical personnel and firefighters, the geospatial aspect of AR could help save lives and streamline their rescue process. 

In fact, In Kite-Powell’s article in Forbes, she discusses the same concept. She points out how vital the use of technology was for a Thai cave rescue mission. During that mission, the team could see and interact with 3D geospatial data, which provided insights that weren’t otherwise possible with 2D. In the cave, it was necessary for them to understand the subsurface terrain so that they could model and visualize the cave for proper rescue. 

This is just one example of how modern-day technology saves lives and can be vital to an emergency response team. Glenn Letham, an expert in the geospatial space, helps us imagine a scenario where “A firefighter trying to find his way through a smokey environment where the visibility is zero. The responder is already wearing a helmet and mask so they could have an AR-enabled helmet where they can view their surroundings on their face shield or a small screen.” 

With hopes that the entire building’s footprints would be visible on the screen, it would enable them to find their way. In most cases now, satellite-based positioning is not always possible due to a lack of signal coverage inside buildings. Come AR, and this would change. In emergency situations, minutes, even seconds matter for someone’s life. If augmented reality could save precious time, why would we not jump all over it?

Location is everything for first responders. Whether that is for victims trapped in a building, flooding, or even tracking down a criminal. With the ability to visualize information in real-time, first responders will have much more power to work quickly and efficiently. 

Progress is already being made in this space. This last year, NIST’s public and Public Safety Communications Research Division launched the ChairIoT challenge which awarded “$1 million in prizes for solutions that can emulate and transmit scenario-accurate data streams for AR devices that will help public safety personnel communicate and respond more efficiently.”

AR technology will make decision-making easier in scenarios like wildfires, floods, or active shooter situations as well. Soon enough, we will see how augmented reality will change the world for the better. First responders and victims will be grateful for such technology to streamline the rescue process. 


What do you see for the future of AR and emergency response?

A World of Personalization: How Augmented Reality Will Follow

With the power of machine learning and targeted advertising, computers decide on what to show people faster than ever before. Marketing personalization has come a long way that sometimes it feels like an invasion of privacy. Augmented reality (AR) has the power to add a “digital layer” to our current reality. In order for society to feel safe and comfortable in that layer, they need to feel like they are not overwhelmed with information–so much so that they can’t distinguish between real and virtual. 

But we bring up another concept for the future of augmented reality–personalization. As mentioned, personalization already occurs on our social media, advertisements, and Google searches. You open up Facebook, and it already knows that you’re in your mid- 30s and you love to go camping. As you’re scrolling your feed, you have encountered 3 advertisements for hiking gear. You clicked on one because you needed a new backpack–advertisers win, and so do you. 

This is a perfect example of how personalization rules our technological devices every day. Yet, how will personalization continue through augmented reality? 

Let’s say you are on vacation in a new town. You are looking for a pizza for dinner; you look towards each restaurant on the street and you get access to a detailed menu before even walking inside. With less time wasted, you find a restaurant that satisfies your pizza craving. Maybe, the next time you go out, your personalized digital layer gives you recommendations on pizza places near you because the computer now understands it’s your favorite food. 

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? When combined with machine learning, augmented reality can generate and display an incredible amount of information to people. 

On the other hand, if augmented reality isn’t personalized with your environment, things could go sideways. If you are too focused on the digital signals around you and run into a tree on your walk, then you will become frustrated. You would be grateful for a personalized navigation system that can track where you are, even if you are off the main GPS system. In this case, there would need to be a personalized geo-fence that helps you navigate your environment carefully and productively. 

For such personalization to occur, there will need to be a precise structure in place and an AR cloud. As mentioned in an article on Nojitter about the AR cloud, “Whether guiding people through crowded environments or uniting remote workforces, the promise of the AR cloud is vast. It has been called the single most important software infrastructure in computing.” With the help of machine learning and an AR cloud, we could live in a world with a digital layer that helps us navigate challenges and understands us better than ever before. 

Personalization–as it continues through AR–will be important for us to navigate a world that has both a digital and physical component. If the technology is successful, we will step away from the computer screens and cell phones and experience personalization as we interact with our environment every day. What do you envision?

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