Think I Was Kidding About Augmented Reality Taking Off ? [VIDEO]

I've been talking and writing about the impact of Augmented Reality on all industries, but particularly the health club industry and the fitness business in general, for some time now. In fact, over the past few years I've referenced Layar as one of THE up and coming technology platforms that could be harnessed to create some impressive new consumer interfaces. Its all about the merger of the physical and digital worlds in the health club industry, the fitness industry and others; with smartphones connected to the Internet in increasing numbers the possibilities to connect, engage and market to members and customers is incredible.
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Augmented Reality - What We're In For With AR

Augmented reality is a “disruptive technology.” As a result industries and businesses must prepare to adapt to AR quickly, before those who have assimilated this technology use it to take market share. To learn what augmented reality is you can watch an example here or read about it here. Portions of this post are related to and associated with a recent article by Jack Graham which you can find here . Jack is a reputable writer and thought leader on the topic. Suggest you follow him on twitter.

I shared this clip at IHRSA and during other fitness industry event. If you’re a fitness facility, fitness education or any type of fitness or wellness content provider AR has the potential to greatly impact the industry. Watch the example below and tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, what do you think about AR ?

The Challenges of AR

If you’re walking down the street looking into augspace with your iphone, you lose your peripheral vision. Playing Spec Trek, I was having a great time until I stumbled over a pothole while chasing down an AR ghost. I almost broke my neck.

Augmented reality apps that enable public tagging of buildings leave businesses vulnerable to harassment and vandalism via augmented reality sticky notes. AR apps which perform facial recognition threaten to further erode privacy, removing anonimoty in public places.

The Positives

AR technoogy holds a great deal of promise. Better heads up display glasses, are already appearing and will give augspace even greater immediacy, freeing the user from having to pull out their phone and look through it. Gestural and wearable interfaces will let us click on an object or building in a scene and bring up information on it, or allow complex interactions with phantom objects.

Industry standards for tagging places and objects with AR content will allow apps to access public AR channels. And educational AR apps capable of recognizing parts in a machine from the scene in the user’s camera could be used to coach workers through assembling and maintaining complex devices.

Emergent AR Technologies

Two research projects producing results are MIT’s SixthSense and a project at Cambridge University to create positional tracking for camera-based apps. SixthSense (watch it here) is particularly interesting because it’s in the small class of working AR applications that don’t display their output on a device monitor of some type.

Implications for AR in the Future

Soon we’ll see the emergence of open standards for building and tagging augspace, search engines selling premium AR placement, location based AR audio, and spam (along with spam filters). Farther out, augmented reality will completely transform how we compute. It will allow us to put a user-defined skin on reality, radiate and interact with personal area social networks, and wear graphics like clothing. It will enhance our intelligence, providing instant information on anything we look at and cueing us if we forget a name or a face. It will erase the boundary between the real and the digital, turning the world around us into a search engine whose results are displayed on thin air.

Merger of Physical & Digital World Continues

Vuzix makes a variety of video eyewear that enables users to view video content up close and personal. The company recently debuted a new piece of vision wear that allows augmented reality functionality. The new wrap 920AR eyewear overlays information over video of what the user is looking at while wearing the device. This new form of continuous AR will have even more applications.

This device uses stereo cameras to capture the video and gives the user a 67 inch display when seen
from 10 feet away. The company will begin selling the new device later this year and will also offer the
AR functionality as an add on to their existing video eyewear designs. The merger of the physical and digital worlds continues.

Augmented Reality

Not to get ahead of myself, which I do at times, but you must watch some of the videos below, they'll blow your mind - and its only the beginning.

In all industries there will be an increasing move by insightful participants to benefit from the merger of the physical and digital. This strategy enables the creation of new value paradigms; thus continuing the relevance of business models - like magazines, among others. For example, Esquire Magazine's  2009 Best and Brightest issue includes "Augmented Reality", which layers data like audio, graphics, and animation over live video. Wow !

The Augmented reality term was coined in 1992 by Tom Caudell while working for Boeing, where factory workers used AR to sort parts. Now, with video cameras available in so many electronic devices, AR applications range from advertising to architecture and gaming to pizza boxes. The technology had not been applied in an editorial scale, until Esquire did it. The Barbarian Group is a leader in the application of this and other technologies.

See the video demo below and get your experience software for the experience here.