The future of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

App Development is a constant evolving workfield, undergoing continual transformations. The landscape today is vastly different from what it was just a few years ago, and the pace of changes isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Within this dynamic environment, one notable evolution is the emergence of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) within apps. However, comprehending the implications of the technologies for the future of app development requires a deeper understanding. What exactly are there new concepts? And how do they shape the future of app development in the years to come? This article delves into these questions, exploring the intricacies of their advancement and their profound impact on the continuing improvement of application development

Understanding Augmented Reality

In 1990 the term Augmented Reality was introduced. Two researchers for Boeing (Thomas Caudell and David Mizel) came up with the idea. In 1992 another researcher of the US airforce (Louis Rosenberg) invented the system called Virtual Fixtures. This was the first real AR. With this tool you could change the reality. But what is it really?

Simply said, AR integrates digital information into our real-time surroundings. Ar enriches our experiences by overlaying computer-generated perceptual information into the actual world, it is seamless blending of the virtual and the real, enhancing our perception and interaction within our world. Its primary advantage lies in the adept fusion of digital and three-dimensional (3D) components, facilitating decision-making processes. AR not only changes the environment, but also provides information about it. AR achieves this by seamlessly integrating visual elements, sounds, and other sensory information, channeling them through devices such as smartphones or glasses. The overlaid information can either enhance the existing environment or selectively mask portions of the natural surroundings.

The technology requires hardware components, such as a processor, sensors, a display and input devices. Mobile devices already typically have this hardware available, with sensors including cameras, accelerometers, Global Positioning System (GPS) and solid-state compasses. The technology for AR is already available on phones, tablets, computers and glasses. But they are also currently working on inventing AR for contact lenses. AR technology is especialy used in the retail-, gaming and entertainment-, navigation-, tools and measurement-, military- and archaelogy industry. Examples of AR are: Snapchat filters, IPhone measurement app, Pokémon Go, and Google Glass.

If you are curious about what this means for app developers, watch this video.

Understanding Virtual Reality

In 1968 Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull created the first virtual reality HMD. This was called The Sword of Damocles. This was a headpiece which was connected to a computer. It was very primitive as it could only show simple virtual wire-frame shapes. Nowadays VR has evolved a lot and a lot more is possible. While AR only adds things to the real world, VR has the tool to create entire worlds on its own. This gives even more opportunities because now the user has the freedom to create entire environments for himself. This world can be perceived through a VR-headset or helmet. VR can be used for entertainment to immerse yourself into the game, but it can also be used to practise heart surgery or improve sports performances. Other branches that uses VR are medicine, culture, and architecture. Examples of VR are: Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Google Daydream View, and Google Cardboard.

If you are curious about how this is possible with Android, watch this video.

The future of AR and VR

AR technology continues to grow as the popularity of apps like Pokémon Go keeps increasing. People get more familiarised with the concept and with the expansion of 5G networks it may be easier to support cloud-based AR experiences. The popularity of VR is maybe more known. Now you also see VR café’s, which make it easier accessible. The future of both of these mediums will lean towards multisensory experiences. The user not only wants to see, but also wants to touch, smell and taste the environment they are in. The 3D world will evolve into a 4D experience. The more realistic this virtual world will become, the more immersive and captivating the experience for the user will be. This will improve the quality of the experience, and it does not matter in which work field it will be used. The options are endless. Doctors can practice, the military can have trainings and archeologists can have better data to work with.

AR and VR are both going to play big roles in the future. They are a more sustainable and efficient way to practice for students and they are a real upgrade for the gaming community. The possibilities are endless with a bit of creativity and a lot of knowledge. One of the big players in this revolution will be the Apple Vision headset that is being developed. This will give AR and VR even more opportunities to develop.