You are visiting Los Angels for the first time and somehow you get lost on your way downtown from the airport. Luckily a bright blue car appears in front of you on the road driving along the traffic. It has a big sign over it that says, “Follow me.” After following it for just a few minutes you are back on the expressway and headed in the right direction. You wish you could thank the generous driver, but he never really existed. You were following a ghost car from an augmented reality program that was integrated with your cars GPS Navigation system.
Whether you are shopping for furniture, driving down the street or getting ready for a job interview, few technologies promise to make our lives easier and more exciting than augmented reality. While virtual reality tries to create an immersive world for someone to enter, augmented reality uses the real world that we live in and adds something to it to enrich the experience – like the ghost car that showed you where to go in a new city.
This experience can be in the form of pop-up messages that appear of a coworkers head to remind you what his name is, or could be a way to share a special dinner with you wife while you are away on business on the other side of the world. They are even being integrated into the windshields of cars to give directions or, as in Landrovers new design, see right through your hood of your car to the ground and spot obstacles.
So far, augmented reality is little more than a gimmick: that shows a baby dancing on your table or overlays an image of King Kong over the Empire state building swatting at the planes flying around his head. But as the technology has advanced some very practical applications have begun to present themselves.
Furniture stores have traditionally relied of huge showrooms to show customers every color and fabric that was available. Now with a simple gray couch and a projector, augmented reality show rooms can offer shoppers hundreds of combinations in a small space. This both increases the experience for the shopper and lowers the cost to the store allowing them to pass the savings on to the consumer.
Noosphere Ventures has always been interested in any technology that improves the human experience and change the way that we view the world, in this case literally. Keep checking back to our site for more information about this and similar technologies that we feel have the ability to change the world we live in and make it a better place for everyone.