How Augmented Reality Can Help You Excel In Social Situations
Augmented Reality (AR) is a phrase that sounds incredibly futuristic, like it originated on the pages of a Philip K Dick or Asimov novel or in an expensive Sci-Fi movie spectacular. In fact, AR is very much real and if the near hysteria being reached in certain quarters over its potential is to be believed, it could revolutionize the way we interact with technology and the world around us.
A simple and jargon free definition of AR is that it is the process of overlaying computer generated images over images being filmed by a camera. It is in this way that the reality (what is being filmed by the camera) is augmented, or added to, by the effects and images being generated by the computer.
This simple definition however belies a vast ocean of potential complexity, ingenuity and possible applications for AR. It is already being used to create dazzlingly inventive promotional campaigns and fueling innovations in fields as diverse as medicine and Archaeology.
Which is all very well and good, but how is AR going to affect us average Joes and Janes on a daily basis as we try our best to navigate the potentially stormy seas of having a social life?
The following examples are just a few ways in which AR may help you navigate these seas with a little more flair.
…find your car instantly
It happens to even the best of us from time-to-time. Emerging into the busy streets or jam-packed car park from the shops, cinema or whatever kind of activity you have been engaged in, you realise that you have no idea where you parked. The Augmented Car Finder will free you from this terrible affliction, by remembering where you parked for you and leading you right to it.
…learn more at museums
One area that AR is likely to excel in is giving people the opportunity to access further information on those things that interest them when they are in museums or out shopping. A whole range of museums are beginning to realize the awesome power of AR to enhance their exhibits and send their visitors away happier.
Not only does this mean that you can learn more than just what is printed on the plaques next to the pieces of art of the bronze age pottery, but you can also wow your friends and family with your superior brain power.
…get better at gift buying
It is in the world of retail where perhaps AR can make the biggest commercial splash in the near future, with shop displays turned into interactive kiosks and fitting rooms being revolutionize. If you are sadly deficient in the ability to buy thoughtful gifts that your friends and loved ones will cherish for years to come, then this video contains an interesting suggestion by Chad Stoller. He suggests that with the likely future integration of social media and AR, you will be able to walk into a shop and be able to see which products with your friends stated online preferences as well as all their likes and shares. No more will you shuffle aimlessly round for hours before plumping for a DVD.
…tell the story of the stars
It is movie cliché par excellence when a man and woman point out the constellations of the stars to each other on a heady and romantic evening, but it is something that would leave many of us stumped. The Google Star Chart will allow you to lean over to your lover and tell her the story of the stars, showing her on your phone exactly what they represent, where the planets are and a host of other celestial wonders.
…get good at pool
Being a fearsome pool player down at your local is a great way of earning the love and respect of your peers, but annoyingly it does require a certain degree of skill and the ability to compute complex angles, momentum speeds and collision directions in your head. Actually taking the time and effort to try and develop these abilities may well hinder your glorious ascent to a social god, so why not use PoolLiveAid to calculate your shots for you instead? Just pretend you’re sending a text when you step up to the pool table and everyone will think you have a natural affinity for the game.
…Impress with your language skills
Word Lens is a downloadable translation app that will allow you to find your way in any environment, translate any sign and impress those around you with your ability to straddle this crazy, multicultural world we live in. Of course, you are still going to get hopelessly lost without your phone if you don’t take the time to actually learn the languages.
These are just a few of the ways in which AR could help you glide more easily through life’s social challenges, and how in general your relationship with technology is likely to change in significant ways in the coming years. The future is bright; the future is augmented (to horribly paraphrase a large multinationals slogan).
What do you guys think of AR in general and the apps I have highlighted here specifically?
Gavin Harvey is a fitness instructor in Bristol who often ponders whether the wonders of technology will do us good in the future. He recommends Home Leisure Direct for all your social leisure needs.
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