Is Augmented Reality the Next Big Jump?

Since computer technology was introduced in the in the mid 2oth century it has been improving at an exponential rate. When first introduced computers filled large rooms and were not used for much more than making calculations and compiling data.  ENIAC or the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator, which is considered the grandfather of digital computers filled a 20 by 40 foot room and used more than 18,000 vacuum tubes.

Over the next 35 years computers slowly got small and more powerful expanding the number and complexity of the calculations they could make and the other functions they could be used for. Until in the mid 1970s varying versions of personal computers began to be available on the public market. This advance brought computer technology out of the realm of scientists and corporations and introduced it into the homes of the public.

In the 1990s the internet became common place and portable laptop computers were introduced to the public. These two technologies allowed work to be done from any location and mean that communications could be easily managed with any part of the world. This trend continued as during the 90s the use of cellphones became common place.

The release of the iPhone in 2007 pushed the smart phone to the forefront to the technological revolution, to the point that it is unusual for a north american adult not to own one. With the advances in this technology a person can now hold more computing power than what was once contained in an entire room, and has access to nearly all of the compiled information of our civilization.

Now it seems that we are on the precipice of another jump forward in technology. It seems likely that this next jump will be in augmented reality technology.

While virtual reality, which has been around for quite awhile, and is also currently seeing a rise in popularity, replaces the world of the user with a virtual one, augmented reality attempts to improve or modify it. Because of this augmented reality can be integrated into our daily lives, making it more than just a novelty.  There are endless possibilities that it may be adapted for. Consider walking through a store and having prices and product information show to you in real time, or proximity alerts for bikers. Or perhaps a system for conferences that displays names and pertinent information about potential networking contacts.

Once this technology is able to be put to practical use, in a way that is beneficial, unobtrusive, and appealing it could have as deep an impact as the invention of the personal computer, or the smart phone has had on our society.