Augmented reality technology may have come a long way, but the hardware associated with it is beginning to fall behind. AR is a growing craze in the mobile realm, but the technology is often used as a gimmick for games or other forms of fleeting entertainment. Smart phones can be used as an augmented reality visor of sorts, but holding a phone up for extended periods of time to get a glimpse of a digital display can be cumbersome. Eyewear, such as glasses and contact lenses, however, can unlock the future of practical augmented reality. The problem is that such devices have fallen short of grabbing attention from technology companies.
Michael Gervautz, director of Qualcomm’s Augmented Reality Department in Europe, believes that so called AR glasses could be the future of the technology, but it may be years before such devices reach their potential. Gervautz says that glasses capable of rendering digital displays could open up the breadth of possibilities augmented reality could be used for. Two things have stunted the acceptance of such hardware, however: Limited visibility and the inability to accurately track head movement.
Most development companies are focusing on how to make augmented reality games and marketing tools and are unconcerned by the shortfalls of hardware. With so much focus being poured into the novelty aspects of the technology, augmented reality may be in danger of being confined to smart phones.