Create your own World (Literally!)


By: Sujith Mohandas (LTMHPS)

No it is not a title for a movie or any romantic phrase for people in love. It is the way technology is going to help us interact with the real world or even create our own world. Technology is evolving at a very rapid pace. Within six months we get a new model of a cellular phone, new model of a car and even a new model of a civil aviation airplane. If a particular brand is not able to come up with a new model before the others, the company’s profit ceases in response to the tough competition. By the time we get used to anything, a new tech appears which appears so pleasing that people just phase out the old one.

Virtual reality (VR) seems to be the new buzzword for techies and even normal civilians as well. Many VR games like “Walking the Plank”, where in a virtual world you experience walking on a plank placed in between high rise buildings give you the same adrenaline rush which Joseph Gordon Levitt might have experienced in the movie ‘The Walk’. Not just that, designers can now create their design in real time in virtual space and check for enhancements and flexibility for the design they have in mind. Artists can create their masterpiece in virtual space before executing them in real world.

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All this is great but one thing which seems to put VR in the back seat is the need to wear an eye gear and controllers to simulate the virtual world. This might seem a little bulky to some people as everyone is not that comfortable wearing bulky accessories in normal day to day life. But no worries, scientist and techies have started researching on a technology which doesn’t require to create a virtual space for you to create masterpieces, and it is called augmented reality (AR). AR is more like an advanced version of VR with a difference that no virtual space is created in AR as in VR.

In simple terms, augmented reality is just pulling out the graphics which we see in laptops and mobile phones into the real world and interacting with them. Imagine you make a square with your hands in thin air and just pull it to make it a cuboid. Interesting isn’t it? Scientists and techies are actually trying to eliminate or minimize the medium through which we interact with graphics. The medium can be created, modified and deleted where ever and whenever you want. Directions will be displayed directly on the road while you are travelling and checking directions through GPS.

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Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulative. This information can be virtual or real. Augmented reality brings out the components of the digital world into a person’s perceived real world.

AR can be created through lot of media like a head gear, or sun glasses or even contact lenses. AR can be used for tracking, face reorganization, modelling structures and virtual bodies for analysis. AR can also be used by presenters to create a visual treat for the audience. It can also act as an aid for challenged people and help them cope up with regular difficulties they face.

AR technology has been used in conjunction with greeting cards. They can be implemented with digital content which users are able to discover by viewing the illustrations with certain mobile applications or devices using augmented reality technology. The digital content could be 2D & 3D animations, standard video and 3D objects with which the users can interact. AR can enhance product previews such as allowing a customer to view what’s inside a product’s packaging without opening it and these are just some of the many possibilities which AR can help us to attain.

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But as every technology has its pros and also cons, AR is not at all different. The con side of AR seems to be privacy issues. The concept of modern augmented reality depends on the ability of the device to record and analyze the environment in real time. Legal complications would be found in areas where a right to certain amount of privacy is expected or where copyrighted media are displayed. In terms of individual privacy, there exists the ease of access to information that one should not readily possess about a given person. This is accomplished through facial recognition technology. Assuming that AR automatically passes information about persons that the user views, there could be anything seen from social media, criminal records and marital status.

AR will eventually succeed VR, as big corporates like Google, Microsoft, Apple and BMW are adding AR in their technology basket reducing effort and accidents in real life. Finally it’s time to grab some popcorn and become as lazy as possible because the future seems to be completely effortless.