No More Displays With ARby@danial
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No More Displays With AR

by Danial SiddikiJune 1st, 2023
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We are on the threshold of a new era: AR rise leads to using devices reborn. With users’ digital fatigue, boredom with display devices, and the recent AI innovations it is the perfect time for new digital experiences to come up. People are ready for a more balanced and natural way of interacting with devices - when digital experiences seamlessly merge with the physical world. AR glasses, such as the rumored Apple AR Glasses, promise to deliver these transformative experiences. When displays will dissolve, the information we consume will feel consistent, empathic, and human.
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My name is Danial Siddiki, I’m a product designer with 7 years of experience designing consumer apps. I also strongly believe in the success of augmented and mixed reality technologies, and in 2021, I won 2nd place in an AR design contest. In this article, I share my thoughts about the beginning of a new era of using devices with AR, why it’s a perfect time, and what to expect.

Imagine a world where displays no longer dominate our daily lives, where digital experiences seamlessly merge with the physical world.

Nowadays, when we use various devices, it’s hard to imagine a world without displays. They were first introduced in the 20th century on television made us stare at TV hours a day. The technology was then adapted to computers, laptops, smartphones, and wearable devices. Interaction with displays has evolved significantly since then: from slow, and difficult to use to fast, mobile, and touch-responsive. They have become essential in our daily lives, and they continue to evolve, promising even more innovation in how we consume content and interact with our devices in the future.

People are tired

For years, displays have played an important role in our lives. From the moment we wake up, we are bombarded with information and notifications through the displays of our smartphones, tablets, and computers. However, this constant impact has led to growing fatigue among users. According to Deloitte, almost 30% of consumers report feeling overwhelmed by the number of devices. As society becomes increasingly concerned about the negative effects of screen time on mental health and social interactions, people are actively seeking alternatives.

Moreover, while starring on displays, we lose focus on the surrounding. In other words, being attached to the display, people have their eyes closed from the physical world. That’s not only annoying when your friend is looking at the phone when you spend time together, but also dangerous – texting takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, which at 55 mph is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

But people are not willing to fully limit themselves from the internet and digital information. Instead, we will prefer a more balanced and natural way of interacting with digital content. This display decline will provide people with more ways to user experiences not getting attached to a device. Augmented reality offers a new experience: the ability to overlay digital elements onto the physical world, creating a seamless integration of the digital and the real. AR glasses, such as the rumored Apple AR Glasses, promise to deliver these transformative experiences. With AR glasses, users can have information, entertainment, and communication at their fingertips without the need for a physical screen. The emergence of AR glasses represents an opportunity to embrace a display-less lifestyle. By shifting our focus from displays to the world around us, we can restore our attention, create deeper remote connections with others, and experience digital information in a more balanced and mindful way.

According to Zippia, we use smartphones 5 hours a day every ten minutes when we need to see time, the weather, notifications, and find information. With augmented reality glasses, users can access information and digital experiences wherever they go, without constantly looking down at a screen. For example, while walking down the street, AR glasses can overlay navigation directions onto the real world, allowing users to keep their eyes on their surroundings while still receiving guidance. That means there will be no back-and-forth when a person looks in the maps app on the phone to see the directions.

IKEA AR cooking concept

Also, according to NHTSA, 27% of all automobile accidents are believed to result from talking or texting while driving. In augmented reality, when driving or walking, the route will be displayed over the way removing the gap between the virtual map and the real world.

While we already have tons of entertainment on our devices, such as Instagram Reels, Youtube videos, games, and so on, people are no longer get excited by these as they were when the first iPhone came up, the first games appeared, and the first videos were published. To wake these excitements up, completely new user experiences needed to come up. Imagine, if people were able to use whole new experiences as the layer of the physical world: play games while walking in Central Park like Pokemon Go, catch dinosaurs around the city as we saw it in the Monster Park app, or play as a wizard seeing the magic appearing to the surroundings.

Moreover, AR glasses have the potential to enhance social interactions. Instead of people hunched over their displays, engrossed in their own digital worlds, AR glasses can improve shared experiences. Imagine a group of friends playing a virtual game together, all wearing AR glasses and seeing the game elements seamlessly integrated into their physical environment. AR can bring people together and create a sense of connection often lacking in our screen-centric lives.

Other than new experiences and less attachment to the display, augmented reality will also play an important role in privacy-wise experiences as the information will be seen by the owner alone, making interactions more personal without a fear of being spotted by the next person sitting to the owner.

If you shopping, technology can help you by displaying product reviews, healthiness ratings, and highlighting allergy warnings. When fixing your home appliances or putting together IKEA furniture, it can assist you by providing visual guidance with information on how things should work and look. It also can educate you when starring in the night sky, showing you the star’s name and remoteness, or showing you what that plant is when you walk in the forest. Health-wise, sometimes you need to understand what’s causing that pain in the stomach to figure out which organ is sick.

Technology is ready

As known, there were several attempts to introduce the augmented reality world to people. Most known is Google Glass, which appeared in 2013 but didn’t gain users’ love. The reason is that Google put a small portion of information in the top right corner of Google Glass. That turn didn’t introduce a new experience but changed the device where people see the information. Rather than overlay the physical world, Google had chosen the easiest way, which led to failure.

Google AR Glasses navigation

Virtual reality, in contrast, succeeds better than Google Glasses. The most known device Oculus Quest from Meta, which features tons of games and fun experiences. But the main problem is that people are not willing to dive deep into digital worlds or games, but connect the physical and digital. VR also mostly covers the entertainment field, which can’t be scaled to the majority as most people are interested in social interactions, and making their lifestyle better.

As known, Apple releases new devices only when they are fully developed and ready for market, rather than rushing to release them prematurely. They made a smart move by introducing ARKit in 2017, giving developers time to prepare for augmented reality devices. Rather than releasing AR glasses, they focused on developing various software applications that could be delivered on iPhones and iPads. AR designers already build many apps with knowledge in 3D, lighting, and virtual scenes. These apps can now be adapted for use on any Apple glasses the company eventually brings to market. The upcoming rise of mixed reality devices will boost developers to create more AR software.

Also, there is no doubt that in the recent couple of years, AI made a huge step in understanding our intents. For example, Chat-GPT understands and responds to our asks as a human. Midjourney accomplished visualizing art by our asks in a detailed and natural way. The recent device by Humane that translates your speech into different languages is the very first step in the era of wearable AI devices with no displays. AI plays an important role in removing unnecessary displays by understanding the user’s intent just as another human does.

AI wearable device introduced by at the TED conference

Keeping in mind that AR devices adapt to the physical world, they need to have cameras to scan surroundings, it means that devices will process more information which will lead to better-trained machine learning, thus, better user experience for people.

Thoughts about the future of AR

The era of displays dominating our digital experiences is slowly coming to an end. With rising digital fatigue, fear of missing out, and boredom with display devices, it is the perfect time for new digital experiences to come up. Luckily, technologies have also climbed to that point where artificial intelligence and augmented reality developments are ready to help us achieve this new era. With the upcoming arrival of AR Glasses, we will unlock a world of endless possibilities where digital overlays seamlessly blend with our physical world. This future might bring us a more connected, balanced, and human way of interacting with the digital world. That being said, augmented reality will succeed if it works as a third eye for humans by providing helpful information when we do anything.

Should we be aware of yet another wearable device that will be attached to our body? No doubt, that the first devices will feel weird, but, at the end of the day, the main purpose of technology is to dissolve and be not noticed. The change will be felt lighter compared to the first computers and smartphones, as rumors have been going around for a long time and augmented reality is already being integrated into devices. Since digital and physical will be combined, the information we consume will feel consistent, empathic, and human.