It remains to be seen whether the augmented reality industry can continue to climb into the collective psyche of the tech world with the aggression it has in the last few years. Some analysts predict exponential growth while others say a leveling off is on the horizon. With the rise of augmented reality apps, browsers, and even glasses onto the market, the bar has been raised high.
Some apps continue to wow consumers with the ability to overlay information into the external world in real-time. Other apps aren’t making the cut, dragging sluggish natural feature tracking and marker-based apps that often don’t contribute that much data, making one wonder if the feature might have benefited more from 3D, or just a more functional program to begin with. Meanwhile, AR apps are emerging in nearly every industry, assisting in everything from real estate appraisals to social media.
Will AR fall from the sky like Icarus, or surge into outer space?
Optimists will point to the the portable AR glasses said to be nearing the marketplace. But pessimists counter with the estimation that this kind of hardware will require at least two decades. They cite difficulties regarding battery life, connectivity, vision, practical services, accuracy, intrusiveness, and style. Many people, they say, will simply find that wearing AR glasses is inconvenient. While optimists say AR glasses will make life easier, pessimists say it will make life harder. They ask a number of hard-hitting questions:
How will Internet providers be able to supply 4G network connectivity without delays? How will the glasses be able to adapt to changes in light? Will developers embrace the community and support it with complementary services? Will AR glasses suffer from the same kinds of GPS inaccuracies as our current software does? Will manufacturers be able to supply glasses that are stylish enough for people to want to wear—and will they be comfortable? Will they prove to be dangerous? How can we be certain that AR glasses won’t become a treacherous distraction to motorists, like their smartphone ancestors? How will the glasses be able to store all the data necessary to power features like facial recognition and user location?
Optimists will contend that these are the same kinds of reactionary questions that were asked of mobile devices and, to a certain extent, the Internet itself. The logistics, they say, will work themselves out as consumers demand savvier, more cutting edge, and more stylish AR applications.