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Augmented Reality: Not Just for Pokemon Anymore...

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Lee, Queen's Square | December 20, 2016

With last summer’s super-hit mobile game Pokemon Go making headlines around the world, and Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive teasing us with their crazy awesome gaming buzz, many people were asking: What is the difference between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) anyway? Well, to put it in simple terms, VR sucks you up inside a tornado, while AR makes a tornado swirl out of your spaghetti!

On November 8th, Snapchat released an update to its popular “lenses” feature called “World Lenses” that allows users to find objects in the world around them unseen by the naked eye, and add animated overlays to enhance photos and videos. You can now stumble upon floating glitter, throw some hearts on your friends, or sprinkle snowflakes on your summer vacation photos! These features are in anticipation of their hopefully-soon-to-be-released-super-stylish “Spectacles” sunglasses, which will allow users to record for 10 seconds and wirelessly add snaps to Memories.

Not surprisingly, Apple has also jumped on the AR wagon with its approval of a new patent for “Augmented Reality Maps.” Digital navigation information now has the potential to be overlaid on top of live video on a user’s camera – in real time!

Although both AR and VR seem super high-tech and modern right now, AR actually made its debut in 1968 with the first head-mounted system used to display simple wireframe drawings. The technology then became used by companies like Boeing, NASA, NFL, Volkswagen, and organizations like the American military for commercial and training purposes.

Who knows where this technology will take us next. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for AR and VR devices at an Idea Exchange location near you…they’re coming!!!

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