The idea of high-tech AR glasses has been the foundation for a great deal of speculation for a few years now, despite the fact that nothing concrete has really come out yet. But as the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. So, while we wait for the first of the big companies to step forward with an AR glasses announcement (it’s going to happen, and it’ll probably be Apple), we’re going to take a look at some of the potential applications for new tech devices like these. Some may be realistic, others might be flights of fancy, but in the end, all will at least be considered and discussed once consumer AR glasses are finally released.
Let’s start off with the biggest one. Social media will undoubtedly become a massive part of AR technology, just as it’s done with modern computers, phones, tablets, and even smart watches. Just imagine a world in which your glasses could pull up a display of your social media feed, right in front of your eyes. There would be no need to look down at a phone screen or pull out a laptop – just the click of a button on the glasses, or maybe even just a motion with your eyes, could be all you need to access your feeds. And why stop there? What if you could start an instant messaging conversation with someone in your proximity wearing the glasses? What if you could take a photo from your lenses and post it directly to your social media channels? There are boundless possibilities for social media’s AR integration.
Just imagine for a moment that your glasses can tell you what time it is, what the weather forecast will be, and what the top headlines of the morning are. If rumors hold true, this may soon be the reality. Information will likely be one of the main aspects of our lives that fuses with AR glasses. And while basic day-to-day necessities come to mind first, this too could be an expansive development. For instance, some are already imagining how information applications could affect live sports viewership. Websites for sports betting already work seamlessly with their own mobile tools, and could well adapt to pass betting information (and maybe even betting opportunities) before users’ eyes via smart lenses. Similarly, some have imagined what seeing a film in AR glasses might be like. Some streaming programs have recently begun to display information when a screen is tapped, such as which actors are on screen. AR glasses could function similarly to help interested users have a more informed cinematic experience.
This could be the big one. The gaming has always embraced the latest technologies (and in some cases helped drive them forward) – though we should note that this hasn’t always worked out flawlessly. The much-lauded, recent VR revolution, for instance, wound up being rather tame and understated when all was said and done. There is no guarantee that AR won’t go down the same path – but the potential certainly seems to be there for the right games to excel fantastically in this medium. For example, let’s imagine one of the games best suited for this technology: Pokémon GO. The game, which was essentially the first mobile AR hit, already imagines a world in which Pokémon inhabit our surroundings – but currently it has to be viewed awkwardly, through phones we hold in front of us. But what if the same concept were to be adapted to AR glasses? Suddenly, the awkwardness would be gone, and a user’s entire field of vision would consist of a world populated by virtual Pokémon. It’s an exciting concept, and one that absolutely makes gaming an area to watch.
This too is among the most exciting possibilities in any discussion on applications for AR glasses. When traveling to foreign countries, one of the most common problems tourists run into is lack of familiarity with the local language. However, AR glasses may be able to solve that problem, thanks to an incredible bit of technology known as image translation. An app that demonstrates this idea already exists, and can guide your phone to automatically translate written language for you. With AR glasses, though, this concept could be taken to the next level. One might be able to simply walk down a street in a foreign country and see street and store signs translated automatically and instantaneously. Going a step further, we could even see applications that “listen” to people speaking foreign languages and translate in text across the lenses!
With all of these potential uses for the technology (and more), it’s a guarantee that big companies like Apple, Google, and others are all racing behind the scenes to be the first to have a working commercial product. Regardless of which company gets there first though, the ideas discussed above frame AR glasses as potentially being among the decade’s most significant innovations.