Phone-based augmented reality has begun to appear regularly on apps such as Snapchat, YouTube and, of course, Pokémon Go. And virtual reality has found a reliable niche in gaming, film festivals and arcades. Augmented reality glasses are now a rare phenomenon in everyday life, but they have an extraordinary place in our imagination. And in many ways they are the most exciting and frightening of these three technologies.
AR glasses promises to separate us from our increasingly hated phones. Google co-founder Sergey Brin once claimed that smartphones were an "unmasking" and isolating "nervous habit," while products such as Google & # 39; s Glass headset promised the promise of freedom and connection. The startup "everyday smart glasses" calls Noord a way to stay "centered in the real world". Idealistic and well-funded start Magic Leap offers a vision of AR glasses that unites the world on a new kind of technology platform.
On the other hand, science fiction has warned us that AR would affect the real world. My colleague Nick Statt has written about how a pair of AR glasses built by Facebook can produce aggressive advertising placed over every inch of our vision and about the types of public rating systems that divide society into the poor and have-nots. & # 39; And that is not the case even touching the issue of surveillance, which led to a number of bars and restaurants to outright ban Google Glass and could only become more frightening as the face recognition technology spread.
AR headsets have not made the leap to consumers, but they are still a fully-fledged industry. It is similar to the way VR was used in research and simulations throughout the & # 39; 90 and & # 39; 00 well before the Oculus Rift. It turns out that when you really have a reason to use AR glasses, they are great. They are simply not near replacing our phones.