Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality... Really reality?

Photo by    Giu Vicente    on    Unsplash

Photo by Giu Vicente on Unsplash

These days, there are so many kinds of reality… Augmented reality, designed to add information to the physical world. Virtual reality, designed to put you in a whole different world. Actual reality, you know, where the people, pets, things and places you’ve loved your whole life ACTUALLY exist.

AR/VR technologies are truly amazing, and they grow by leaps and bounds every year. Traditionally growth in the *reality realms starts in the gaming industry. The virtual reality (VR) headset race is always on, and there are more competitors to supply the hardware than ever, with the Oculus Rift and Sony Playstation VR consistently leading the ranks.

Augmented reality (AR) hardware (some examples of AR hardware include Epson Moverio, Magic Leap One, and Microsoft HoloLens) typically comes in the form of glasses with lenses that allow you to see the actual world around you, with an added heads-up display that imposes (hopefully) useful and relevant data onto the world around you. This can also be somewhat accomplished with smart phones; think of Pokémon GO, or something quite a bit more useful like Google Translate, which allows you to hold your phone up to a block of text in any language and convert it to your native language for translation purposes. (As a side note, Google Translate is totally cool, and it works really well. On a recent adventure to France with family, my verbal French was just good enough to get us around with people, and The Google’s augmented reality French was brilliant enough to let us roam the city viewing beautiful sights and know what we were looking at.)

Clearly there is money to be made (and spent) on this booming industry… But is this trend fueling our addiction to social media, smart phones and getting away from actual reality? It seems that we are nearing a fork in the road we are currently on, where everyone seems to be more engaged with their technology, and less engaged with friends, family and life. That fork can either bring us more separation through technology, or we can find a way to use technology to help us set technology aside to do the heavy lifting and bring us closer to each other, like the good old days.

Hold on one second, Facebook is calling…