There is a perception that Augmented Reality is way too frivolous and don’t have real practical applications in our lives. We can’t be more wrong about this!
When we tell people that we work on Augmented Reality Selfies and show them a demo on MaskUp, the most common reaction we get: “That is cool but what is the use of this!” There is a perception issue that these use cases are too frivolous and most people don’t see how this is going to be useful in their lives. We’re old enough now to remember that texting was the domain of “youngsters” who have a compulsive need to communicate every 30 seconds with friends!
In 1988, the movie “Who framed Roger Rabbit” was released and I distinctly remember the excitement and awe it generated. The movie blended animated characters with real video footage and it was pure magic! At that time, this was done without digital equipment and software.
In the past few months, Apple launched ARKit and Google launched ARCore, key technology pieces that allow us to design a 3D environment using the phone’s camera, commonly referred to as Augmented Reality or simply AR. With AR, adding an animated Roger Rabbit and taking a selfie is a piece of cake, all on your smartphone. However, we can go far beyond that.
We can now show a life size model of the Eiffel Tower on the phone camera to a person in a small village in India, and allow the person to explore the model by walking around and using familiar touch gestures, and of course, take that Selfie in front of (model of) Eiffel Tower without needing to go to Paris.
We are already seeing apps that allow you to shop for furniture by placing a realistic model, with actual size and shape, in your home to see how they feel before buying. Others have an app to try eyewear, jewellery and so on without needing to visit a store. E-Commerce will be a whole new, engaging and intuitive experience with AR.
The most important category of applications on your phone is of course communication. With AR, we can project a life size hologram of your grandparent/parent talking to you remotely from their homes, with their facial expressions. Also, technology that forms the basis for animated emojis and AR Selfies will allow us to construct avatars of people and help them communicate in a much more candid fashion.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook believes “Augmented Reality could be as big as the iPhone”!* Augmented Reality has the potential to reimagine every app on our phone. Everything from searching for information, maps, entertainment, play, communication will be transformed with the next generation of apps using AR.
Augmented Reality is an entirely visual medium that works with the space around you. As a result, AR will make technology and information much more accessible, social and intuitive. You need not be English literate to experience the best apps. You will go outdoors and be more social to experience AR apps. AR apps will make us more human and enable us to interact with our surroundings and society in a profound and satisfying manner.
The next few years will see us build new interactions as well as reimagining every app using AR and promises to be one of the most exciting times in technology!
We recently launched Animated Emojis on MaskUp and it is really cool. Do check these out. This is the most advanced animation technology we have built with natural physics based ear animation on the bunny and expressive mouth morphs on each emoji character. We believe this technology will be necessary for implementing expressive communication using AR.