I was at the AWE (Augmented World Expo) and even though the name seemed to imply the kind of plastic surgery you’d see in Las Vegas this show was all about augmented and virtual reality. As always Qualcomm’s Vuforia group was solidly at the heart of this conference which was nothing short of amazing. I’ll cover some of the highlights but I think I’ve come up with the killer AR app, at least for the consumer segment.
Business over Consumer
Right now it is clear that business is where the real progress has been made and were value is being showcased today. A company called Scope AR with a product called Remote AR led the way with video that showcased just why this technology is so hot at the moment. Another example that this technology is hot was the fact that the AWE conference was standing room only even though it was held at the same time as Apple’s developer conference which should have sucked the air out of this venue. The fact it didn’t showcased just how excited these people are.
One thing was clear though and that is to really make this stuff work you need a set of glasses that does the heavy lifting. You can use a phone or a tablet but it is when you free up your hands and actually change what you see that the magic happens. The best set of glasses was a set from ODG which didn’t look that bad to wear (a damn sight better looking than the problematic Google Glass offering) and concealed the technology so folks wouldn’t feel the need to punch you out.
I still think these folks are missing that they need to embrace what regular glasses do like adjust for light (auto dark glasses) and sight deficiencies. In fact given that AWE was about super powers I could see how a set of these using both a conventional and an IR camera with zoom capability could give the wearer super sight on top of all the VR and AR capability and that super sight thing might sell the glasses all bay itself. (Hell I’d buy a set).
The Killer App
The common question at events like this is what will be the killer app. I personally think it would be a virtual pet. The system would always be aware of where the pet was and you could always see it if you looked and anyone else with AR glasses could see it as well. It could be a dog, cat, or even a pet dragon. No feeding, no landlord problems, no biting the neighbors but it could talk and comment on what it sees through your glasses and it could actually watch for and see things you don’t see as the camera eco system grows. Oh, and for navigation, it could lead you where you need to go even if that was to locate your car or a loved one. Oh and if someone pissed you off you would see the pet attack them but since it is all in VR you wouldn’t get sued into oblivion.
Personally I’d either want a Dire Wolf, Harry Potter’s Owl, or, yep a baby Dragon like the one that was in that old Qualcomm Snapdragon commercial. I just watched that video again, screw the other stuff, I want the little dragon that outruns surface to air missiles!
Wrapping Up: With AR/VR Your Imagination Comes Alive
At least that is the eventual result. While initially this will all be about business I expect that eventually we’ll find an app like my virtual pet idea that catches our eye.
In about a decade it won’t be that easy to tell what is real and what is only in your imagination. That’ll be an amazing time and, I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait!