Augmented Reality has the potential of reshaping the way we interact with information and our surroundings in the future. We at Superhumans believe that this kind of technology will be able to support us in our day to day activities, making us more effective and at the same time keeping us sharp, focused and in control. As long as we develop it carefully and with intention. In this post, we will talk about our view on the technology of Augmented Reality (AR) and how we work with it.
What is Augmented Reality?
The term Augmented Reality describes what the technology does; it augments, adds to or enhances our reality. The AR technology thereby adds digital elements such as information and sensation to our real world and creates an enhanced experience for the user, affecting the things we see, hear and feel.
AR on tablet
The AR solutions that exist today has mainly been developed for smartphones or tablets, due to the availability of that kind of hardware. But in our meaning, this limits both the potential of the technology and the user quite a bit. Since AR can be applied to wearable technology, such as HoloLens or Magic Leap, it has the potential of affecting everything we experience in our current surrounding. It can assist us in every decision at every moment, without demanding us to first look at the world through our smartphone.
One of the biggest advantages of AR is that it can be applied in a major variety of fields, only the imagination sets the limit for its application areas and how to use it. It will guarantee unlimited situational information. Although the development of both AR software and hardware has a long way to go before we all are users of wearable AR equipment and can experience assisting digital elements in our surroundings in our everyday activities, it may change the way we interact with the world forever.
Why do we augment?
Think about your smartphone and all the different apps in it - One for every service, activity, and situation. Imagine moving all this information from inside your phone, to being available to you in your surroundings all the time, as long as you wear a pair of AR glasses (or lenses).
Shopping in hyper reality
Too much information and too many choices lead to mental overload, draining the energy and mental capacity of the user. It is no secret that the way we interact with information today is not at all suited for a world where we live with augmented elements around us all the time. The unlimited information stream available in our society today might be one of the biggest issues to handle in the future.
A busride in hyper reality
To avoid the risk of information overload, we believe that we need to take a human approach in developing AR solutions (Well - all solutions to be fair, but this post is about AR).
The main question regarding AR, according to us, is therefore not what or how to augment but why. To create augmented content just because we can is not good enough. We need to focus on how it can be of assistance to the user. The user is always the most important factor in developing new technology and with AR we can develop a whole new way of interacting.
When we create Augmented Reality solutions our focus lies on the human experiencing the augmentation and goes beyond merely augmenting our reality.
We believe that the individual experience of the augmented elements is the most important aspect of the technology.
We have described situational interaction in a previous post and find this way of thinking about interaction compelling since it puts the user and their state, situation and wishes in focus for all information and interaction. This and similar ways of thinking about interaction will be utterly important if we want to create a world where the correct information concerning the users’ purpose is more important than getting all information available.
As we have been working with AR we have encountered a few areas where we find the technology to be especially meaningful, when boosting people to become their best selves through mental empowerment, increased ability, supported communication and continuous education. We will certainly encounter several additional ways of augmenting humans as we continue our journey in the world of AR.
Magic Leap in health
Now that we have introduced you to the way we think about and work with AR we will continue to create posts on the subject, learning more about the subject together with you and show you some of our work.