Why Augmented Reality and Collaboration Make for a Safer and Better World
Augmented Reality (AR)-enabled systems show a mechanic how to repair an engine, or perhaps in the future will guide an inexperienced surgeon in a delicate heart operation. In my opinion, it’s when AR is combined with human collaboration that the magic begins. AR will soon work its way into a variety of applications that are bound to improve our lives, but more importantly, I am convinced it’s to become a catalyst for greater human understanding and world peace.
Augmented Reality Can Bring Us Closer
Everyone’s heart raced when Jake Sculley, the wheel chair-bound Marine in the movie Avatar, first connected his thoughts to those of his avatar, walked and then ran. His mission was to infiltrate the society of the natives, learn their customs and, having gathered that information help destroy their world. Of course, we all know how the story ends…It’s difficult to do harm to those we know. The first step in Hitler’s campaign to eliminate those he considered unworthy was to convince his followers that the others were less than human. In fact, this is a universal technique involved in incitement to violence against another group. It is only when we finally get to know someone that, even if we don’t agree, we can begin to understand and care about them.
AR allows a user to see an enhanced view of reality, placing graphic images and 3D models over the real background. This will be great for building and repairing things by ourselves, but when we combine that capability with modern telecommunications, remote users will be able to participate in those processes with local users in real time, and appear to the wearer of the glasses as if standing alongside them. We won’t just see our grandkids in a Skype screen; we will take them with us on new adventures around the world or in our backyard. An astronaut in space will literally see the hand of the equipment specialist on earth pointing to the board to be replaced as they speak.
Gutenberg changed the world because the printed page could easily display the manuals that apprentices used for learning the trades that freed them from the fields. Radio and then television added sound, motion and recently 3D to the flood of information. Telecommunications has brought the cost of distributing it to practically zero. Now AR combines these capabilities and creates an infinite number of parallel worlds that you may create and visit, as well as acquire skills in from one-on-one instruction. It’s the closest thing to teleportation this side of Star Trek.
Non-verbal communication is said to account for between 55 and 97% (depending on the study) of communication between people. AR will provide practically the same information due to its enabling of “belly to belly” proximity. You will be able to virtually sit in a conference room and interact with other remote participants, watch a theater performance in your living room or tag along with a friend on an exotic trip to a foreign land. That friend will be able to see you, too.
New Ways of Displaying Information
Talk about disruptive. This is downright neutron bomb material. Why do you need a laptop or tablet when you see the screen suspended in mid-air, with the glasses projecting a keyboard on any surface? Gone are large-screen TVs, when everyone sat stationary watching the game from the same angle. Why wouldn’t they prefer it in perfect 3D? Forget glass cockpits in airplanes; why not have all the instruments projected in your field of view? How about infrared images of deer or pedestrians in fog or at night shown on the windshield of your car, to avoid hitting them in time?
Augmented Reality and Collaboration
But, again collaboration use cases will take the cake. The level of empathetic bonding that occurs when you’re in the room with another person will make current social messaging seem like sending smoke signals. Professionals in other countries will virtually know you and work together on projects as I am proposing using the Talent Swarm platform. Along with such proximity-enabled work will come a better understanding of other countries and cultures.
Collaboration is key, but it can’t happen at scale if everyone needs to buy and use exactly the same hardware and software. Collaboration across networks and companies as diverse as the places where humans live and work builds upon deep interoperability. Interoperability with existing and future systems will require a globally agreed-upon set of open standards. We will work within the AREA to strongly advocate for interoperable systems and push for global standards together with other AREA members. Once we have collaborative AR platforms, the benefits of this technology will rapidly serve all people of the world. Becoming an AREA founding sponsor member is, for Talent Swarm, not only common sense, but putting a stake in the ground, demonstrating our leadership for a more productive and peaceful world. We will avoid embarking on another wasteful battle such as VHS vs. Beta, nor allow a single company to reduce the opportunities or lock others out. Christine Perey, Executive Director of AREA, refers to it as our mandate: to ensure that an ecosystem of AR component and solution providers is in harmony with the customers’ needs, and able to deliver the diversity and innovation upon which economic success is based.
Path to the Future
With a concerted group goal centered on the advancement of AR, and with many technological developments both in the works and being introduced at an increasingly fast pace, we will one day look back to 2015 and say, how did we ever get along without Augmented Reality?