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AR is the next major shift in computing

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5 days 18 hours ago - 5 days 18 hours ago #139 by PABlo
  • Smartphone sales have dropped for the last two years straight, and all the big tech players are casting around for the next big thing.
  • They seem to have settled upon augmented reality -- a face-worn computer or glasses that superimposes computer-generated objects on the real world.
  • Apple’s plans have started to leak, and everybody’s waiting to see if it can revolutionize AR like it did with smartphones.

The tech industry’s next bet is a series of technologies usually called augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality. The vision usually involves some kind of computer worn in front of the user’s eyes.

Users will still be able to see most of the real world in front of them — unlike virtual reality, which completely immerses the user in a computer-generated fantasyland, augmented reality layers computer-generated text and images on top of reality.

Industry watchers and participants think that Apple has a good chance to validate and revolutionize AR like it did with smartphones. Apple has been prototyping headsets for years.

But Apple’s not the only company working on these products. All the big tech players — Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon — are in the game as well.

Futurists and screenwriters have conjured blue-sky visions of what could happen with advanced computer glasses — one episode of the dystopian anthology “Black Mirror” explored a world where people could “block” certain people out of their view. More positive visions imagine having important information coming directly into your view, exactly when you want it.

Today, the most common use cases are much more mundane, including smartphone-based games and apps like Pokemon Go or Apple’s Ruler app, which use the phone’s screen and camera rather than relying on glasses or another set of screens sitting on your face. The few companies who are actively producing AR glasses are mostly focused on work scenarios, like manufacturing and medicine.

Of course, considering what all of this means for the future of innovations in Educational Technologies, means learning more about what is being developed to bring AR and MR (Mixed Realty) applications and solutions into our lives.
Last edit: 5 days 18 hours ago by PABlo.

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3 days 13 hours ago #140 by PABlo
“It is augmented reality that is driving our future,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said at the beginning of the company’s first-ever investor day.

“AR is the next major shift in computing,” Spiegel predicted, but we’ll need a decade before it fully materializes. Do Facebook and Apple have thoughts?

Mark Zuckerberg mostly agrees, as he predicted last year that we’ll get “breakthrough” AR glasses this decade.
Tim Cook thinks AR “will pervade our entire lives,” and at this point, Apple’s top secret mixed-reality ambitions are really not-so-secret.
Right now, nearly everyone who interacts with AR does so through a phone. We won’t know the winning horse(s) in smart glasses for a while.

What we do know
Qualcomm’s XR chipset will power many next-gen AR and VR devices. Yesterday, the chipmaker dropped its reference design, a hardware blueprint for companies that want to build AR glasses based on the XR1 and other available technologies.

Qualcomm’s prototype is a glimpse into AR’s near future, and the glasses pack powerful technology. But they must be wired to a phone, computer, or puck. “And for that reason, I’m out.”—the average consumer

AR hardware still has many technical constraints, from power management to processing power.
Current price points and form factors appeal to commercial buyers. But beyond early adopters, a consumer market has yet to take shape.
In fully virtual land

This week’s big VR headline comes courtesy of Sony. The PlayStation 5 will get its own VR system, the company said yesterday.

What Sony’s promising: More immersive VR, a higher res-headset, new tracking capabilities, and next-gen controllers with additional inputs.
When: Sony will send out developer kits soon, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan told WaPo, but the company hasn’t landed on a launch date. So...not 2021.
Easter egg: The glasses will have “future-proof technology,” Sony SVP Hideaki Nishino flexed.

Big picture: Depending on who you ask, VR is either AR’s competitor or a technological bridge to it. AR hardware will eventually be a bigger consumer market, but capable VR products are available right now or close on the horizon.

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