Reality. At face value, it might seem the concept is pretty simple. The state of things as they exist right now.
But the word reality seems to take on different meanings or, when coupled with some other words, takes on an entirely new life.
"Reality bites" when we finally realise what reality looks like.
A "reality check" when we might finally realise the real situation.
"Reality TV" which, after extensive editing, is absolutely nothing like reality.
Then we have "virtual reality" when we immerse ourselves in another world and "augmented reality" when we have a composite view of a virtual and real world.
There is no wonder that sometimes we need to be brought "back to reality". With a lot of excitement around virtual reality, I think we will actually see more of an impact in our lives with augmented reality (AR).
Ikea has just announced a new tool that demonstrates one way that we may see AR commonly used.
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Ikea's new app is called Kreativ Scene Scanner and, not surprisingly, is designed to make it easier for you to buy more products.
You start by taking a series of photos of a room that you wish to place furniture in. If you already have furniture there, no problem.
The app will allow you to remove all existing furniture so you have an augmented view of your room with no furniture.
Then the fun begins. You place virtual furniture in your room. You can choose from thousands of items of furniture and accessories to give you just the look you are after.
For anyone that has helped a friend or partner set up a new room, the most exciting part is that moving furniture around on a screen involves significantly less sweat than moving a couch to one side of the room only to have your friend suggest it would be better on the other side of the room. And then changing their mind and asking you to move it back to where it once was.
Of course the app calculates the dimensions of the room so there is no need to try and measure different areas and compare them to the measurements of the furniture you are looking at. If the furniture will fit on the augmented screen then it will fit in the real world.
Lastly, you move around the room and view what it will look like once the new furniture arrives. If all is in order, a few clicks later and you have ordered your furniture and other items.
I would like to see an analysis of the sales Ikea will generate using this tool.
Other organisations are also taking advantage of this technology. Medical students are using AR to train on models where a variety of different situations can be presented.
If you fancy a new Harley Davidson motorcycle, you can look at the physical version in the showroom but use AR to see how it will look once you customise it to suit your needs.
Modern cars already have a basic form of AR with speed and upcoming turns projected on to our windscreens but as AR further develops, I can see more information being available in front of us to combine information to help us on our travels as we look through that to see the real world outside.
And of course, there is gaming. It almost goes without saying, but when the worldwide gaming industry is already worth over $300 billion, game manufacturers are always looking for new concepts.
Tell me how you see yourself using augmented reality at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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