Mixed Reality - Now and Then

You’ve all heard of Pokémon Go right? That overnight smash hit that caused people to run riot to catch an Aerodactyl? Well this is where it took off. Pokémon Go accelerated the use and awareness of AR exponentially by allowing people to catch a Lapras they once had on a trading card back in the 90’s.

Pokemon-Go-Mixed-AR-Blog

Speaking of the 90’s, I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that the first AR implementation happened in this decade – 1992 to be more precise. A fella named Louis Rosenberg built a headset that used some cleverly engineered lenses to make the wearer appear as if they are further forward than they are, and positioned a real set of robot arms where the lenses show the wearer to be. Having the wearer use an upper-body exoskeleton rig, Rosenberg was able to map the upper-body movements of the wearer to the robot arms to make you feel like Megatron! Well, the actual purpose was to improve human performance in direct and remotely manipulated tasks. But c’mon, you’d be using this to feel like Megatron…

virtual-fixtures-mixed-ar-blog

Twenty-five years later, we have hardware in the palm of our hands that can provide real-time 3D graphics for a more enriched augmented reality experience. And not just so Pokémon Go looks even better than it already does... Apple is now the leader in AR technology with their newly released ARKit framework, turning any supported device (which happens to be around 400 million devices currently) into an AR capable device, empowering anyone owning one of these devices to utilise augmented reality. Currently, most ARKit enabled apps are games (because who wouldn’t want to have a pet dinosaur appear on-demand) but more are being released that could actually make a difference in the real world. That’s what earthware is all about.

apple-arkit-demo

We specialise in solving healthcare problems. AR is an important milestone for the healthcare industry; there are so many possibilities to change people’s lives. Utilising AR could provide surgeons with second-critical information without the need for them to take their eyes away from their procedure. It could help to visualise internal parts of the body without the need for opening it up. Junior doctors could visualise advanced procedures as practice for the real thing, or see in vast detail how the human heart works. In the future you might even be able to have an AR general practitioner appear in your living room when you can’t make it out of the house. My point being, AR could be used in just about every sector of healthcare, and the industry should start to take advantage of the possibilities. Even in AR’s early stages, it could really help to make a difference.

ar-body

Ever been unable to find your way around a hospital? Well, there isn’t an AR solution to that YET (that I know of or can find). But these guys have made it super easy to find your friends at a festival, providing proof of concept.

Embedded content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VV9jMjncj2I

If have an idea of how AR could be used to make a difference in the world, drop us a line at info@earthware.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you!