Augmented reality has been hot topic for several years now, but much like that new piece of kitchen gadgetry no one really understands, it seems to have been neglected despite it’s potential. So we thought we’d dedicate a couple of posts to having a look at this mysterious creature and how it could be rather useful. AR, in completely basic terms means some form of technology that alters (or ‘augments’) reality, typically adding something extra to it – imposing another layer on what you see around you. For instance scanning a train station sign to receive the times of the trains leaving, or scanning a box of cereal to see it’s nutritional contents.

There are already quite a few AR apps kicking around for phones and tablets (including a reasonably terrifying app where you are responsible for shooting down the killer zombies staggering towards you, definitely one I regret downloading), and there are some good ones mostly for navigation-style purposes. But uses for AR are expanding, for instance ‘SnapShot Showroom’ will show you what a bit of furniture would look like in your front room and there are even a few apps that will help you make your way back to your parked car (it happens to the best of us).

Currently it feels like the launch of AR has been a fizzle rather than a bang. Why? Maybe it’s because of the current absence of the tech big hitters that always reassure us something is going to be a ‘game changer’. Yet look what happened when Google premiered their glasses - the whole world began to whisper. AR is growing slowly and surely, and maybe one day, when you’re reading this blog projected onto your living room via contact lense we’ll look back to this point to think about when it all began.

In our next post we’ll be looking at how AR has the potential to really change the healthcare system and how we approach personal health.