Augmented reality may not be all it’s cracked up to be, according to Alex Makarov, head of development at SHAPE Services, a developer of mobile applications for iOS. The expectations surround augmented reality seem to be quite high. This should come as no surprise as several tech companies boasted that society would be fully immersed in virtual environments by now. Marketing campaigns and YouTube videos have not placated these expectations, as they often paint the technology in a favorable light. And so, society waits on the edge of its seat for the time when virtual reality and actual reality and synonymous, which they are assured is right around the corner.
Makarov believes that augmented reality technology may have a different role to play in the future than what is being expected of it. He says that the technology’s application may be more befitting of its name and will enhance the physical world with subtle digital augmentations, much in the way that present day AR browsers work. These browsers overlay a web of digital information upon the real world, allowing users to find directions to nearby locations or other such activities.
SHAPE Services has developed an AR browser of their own called CheckIn+. While not as immersive or intricate as the ever popular Layar browser, CheckIn+ enables mobile users to take advantage of Foursquare and Facebook Places with the help of an augmented reality display.
The future of AR technology may be vague, says Makarov, but the true potential of the technology will never be fully actualized until the definitions currently in use for it are revamped. AR browsers may be the most accurate precursor to what augmented reality will be in the future.