Augmented reality has been edging into our collective consciousness for a while now, yet still seems more like the stuff of science fiction than an eagerly-awaited tool for enhancing our everyday lives. Why would anyone want to walk around wearing AR glasses? Naturally, most of us default to some epic version of 3D gaming. But what about face-to-face teleconferencing in the virtual world? Or navigation that safely maps your way by eliminating the need to constantly toggle between viewing the road in front of you and the screen in your hands? Or traveling to another country and having all of the signs translated for you while you remain present in your exotic surroundings? Intriguing real-world AR possibilities like these and many more yet to be imagined are closer than you think. But before augmented reality becomes a viable platform ready for mass consumer adoption, three significant challenges must be overcome—and only one of them has already been met.
The first challenge: power. Processors, growing ever stronger and smaller as they evolve, will almost certainly become powerful enough for AR. Powerful processors require powerful batteries—high-capacity, low-consumption, and small enough to work with lightweight wearable displays. That balance has yet to be found. Likewise, low-latency tracking is a work in progress when it comes to true AR—and that’s the second challenge.
The ability to precisely track where you are, what you’re looking at, and how you’re moving your head, and then determine where the virtual information should be layered over your view of the actual environment—all in mere milliseconds—is essential to a realistic AR experience. Embedded motion sensors and cameras must work together to stabilize the virtual view, adding another layer of complexity.
The third, and perhaps most important, challenge: an optical display that can seamlessly blend the physical and digital worlds. This is the breakthrough Lumus has achieved. For the first time, their revolutionary optical technology enables a wearable display to generate large-scale, high-resolution digital imagery, distortion-free and completely transparent. By combining these crucial (and unique) attributes with a 40-degree field of view, the Lumus optical display provides a truly immersive AR experience—and Lumus is on track to deliver an amazing 60-degree FoV next year. With the optical display piece of the puzzle firmly in place, and several companies now closing the gaps on power consumption and tracking, it’s never been easier to envision a clear and bright future for an AR world.
About the Author
This article has been provided by David Goldman, Head of Marketing at Lumus. Lumus sits at the vortex between the most innovative industrial designers, technology gurus, fashionistas and futurists. Our optical engines enable Smart Glasses, Helmets, and Goggles that are changing the way we live, work and play. Lumus powers the leading AR systems servicing the enterprise today with optical engines that magically bring together incredible display and brightness with a wide field of view and small form factor.
Photo credit: WIKITUDE / Lumus