Augmented Reality under the Scope

Augmented reality (AR) has been in development for three decades since the first use in the Air Force. This paper will discuss the potential uses of augmented reality in the military, healthcare, education, the workforce and in tourism and how this will affect the respective fields. In order to explain the impact of augmented reality, many studies, prototypes and working products will be evaluated and analyzed . AR for the military has been in development to transition what is available for their jet pilots to their ground troops. It was found that AR has been in use outside the military as early as 2012 with the release of Google Glasses. AR in healthcare has been developed to make everything easier and more efficient. AR has largely been introduced to the public via applications with the biggest being Snapchat and Pokémon Go. The introduction into the workforce has made the technicians efficient and better performing. The use of AR in tourism will make it easier for foreigners to travel and explore visiting countries. Ultimately, based on the information presented, it can be concluded that AR will advance humanity by improving the way information is presented and applied to make the lives of those who use AR easier.

Introduction

Augmented reality or simply “AR” has been overshadowed by its cousin Virtual Reality and its promising features. Virtual Reality has given a lot of particle use to the specialized work environments, but AR can influence the masses without removing them from reality as VR does. This is where AR truly shines in modern society. In a world that never rests, AR will be the perfect companion. AR simply shows information or any image and places it into the field of vision without actually projecting a hologram into the world. Augmented reality is defined as “Taking digital or computer generated information, whether it be images, audio, video and touch or haptic sensations and overlaying them over in a real time environment”(Rampolla, 2012, pg. 1). This leads to the main question : How will augmented reality help advance the current information and digital age? Augmented reality will enhance the way information is shown in education, the military, medicine, the workforce, and the general public by overlaying the information into reality with the use of cameras and computers.

Augmented reality has been seen in movies, games and even some applications. The current and lowest tier of “AR” is Snapchat and Pokémon GO. Snapchat uses the camera on a smartphone to augment the faces of the users with filters. These filters alter the structure of the faces and attaches them to the users face so that it can move normally whenever a facial expression is made. Pokémon Go also uses the camera but sends a different reality into the current one. This is accomplished by the use of the smartphone’s camera. The camera records the environment and the app simply places a three-dimensional figure on top of it. The second tier of AR makes it possible to have real-time data shown in the field of vision that can augment the surrounding and enhance the living experience of the user. This is where AR can be used for particle uses instead of simply entertainment .The difference of the two tiers is the technology that is used to augment. In tier one, a smartphone’s camera is used while in tier two something that is hands free is used. Tier one has the user actively interact with the smartphone while tier two simply exists without too much notice of the user because it’s a part of their vision. The final tier is to be able to project information from a computer into three-dimensional space and to be able to manipulate the projection without having to touch the computer.

Uses

The use of AR in the military is potentially limitless. Current jet fighter have a display on their helmets that assists on their current mission (PRODUCT applications, 2018). If the capabilities of the AR system on the jet can be integrated into land units. This will keep troops informed at all times while allowing for a hands-free process. Video games have been the biggest insight into how AR in the military can work. Hardiy(2017) describes the Tactical Augmented Reality (TAR) that is assisting soldiers in giving them a HUD (Heads Up Display). The TAR “overlays a map onto the soldier’s field of vision, instantly offering target information and GPS-tracked data showing where the rest of their team is located.”(Harday 2017) this shows how the AR will work in the headgear.

The TAR follows the footsteps of every military games HUD that shows the player information without having to take their attention from the action. The basic elements of a HUD are a map which can show the location of the objective or the area of interest. While the player moves, it shows their current location and the location of their allies. It also has a compass to allow the player to always know which direction they are walking in at all times. The HUD displays the current objective of the player at any given time so that they always know what their job is. It will also display the inventory of the player so that he does not have to keep track of it. The last thing the HUD displays is the vitals of the player and their allies. With all this information, the player is well informed at all times, which makes the gaming experience easier. If this HUD can be applied to ground troops in theory, this implementation would make their jobs easier.

The next use of AR is to assist in the healthcare field. AR can assist those who must monitor vitals such as blood pressure and heart rate. It can assist those who wish to monitor what they eat at all times by identifying what is about to be eaten and record the calories and the macro break down. Doctors can use it to make copies of their records and have them uploaded into a database that can pull up the information by face recognition. AR can assist in all manners of complex operations by simply showing what a surgeon must do. An example of AR assisted operations is CASS which is used to fix jaw deformities. “Problems associated with the traditional planning method led us to develop a new computer-aided surgical simulation (CASS) method and its clinical protocol for planning an orthognathic surgery. This protocol has been proven accurate.” (Cattin, Lee, Liao, Jannin, Zheng ,2016, pg. 3). It is concluded that CASS is far superior to the original approach to orthognathic surgery.

CASS made a giant leap in the planning of Orthognathic surgery. “During the past 50 years, the technical aspects of surgery have achieved significant improvement, e.g. rigid fixation, resorbable material distraction osteogenesis” (Cattin, et al, 2016 pg. 3) with the introduction of CASS, a process that has not been changed since the 1960 became easier. CASS shows what is achievable in the medical field with more developed complex systems and AR. Complex operations can be made simpler making success rates go up and updating old surgeries making them easier and better optimized.

To continue AR can play a large part in the workforce. AR can be used to assist in the training of new employees as well as aid experienced employees when they are working on complex tasks. It can assist in packaging and managing products in the warehouse as well as keeping track of in-store inventory. “General Electric is one of several companies that have been quietly testing the use of AR technology as a method improving productivity and reducing errors” (Dickson, 2017, pg 3). This shows that big companies have their eye on AR because it will make them run smoother.

According to Claassan (2018), AR completely changes how a person operates in the workplace making everything operable by hand gestures and voice commands. With AR visual controls, the workers will be able to walk through the facility and see how every machine is performing and adjust them without having to physical investigate the machines functionability (Claassan, 2018). This will make factory run more efficiently increasing production.

Similarly AR in education will change the way students learn. When applied anywhere from kindergarten to college the way information is shown to the students will make school a different environment. The use of AR will not only make education different but it has a possibility of making it more engaging. “Moreover, some researchers have recommended that interest and engagement in literacy activities are crucial factors in early reading skills’ development” (Bracken & Fischel, 2008; Gambrell & Gillis, 2007). Likewise a study found that “When children take an interest and engage during reading activity, they have more opportunities to practice early reading skills” (Baroody & Diamond, 2014). In lower grades, it will make it easier to have engaging sessions to capture the full attention of the student. As the student moves up in grade AR will slowly turn into a useful tool to help the student visualize what is being taught. The uses of AR will only be limited to the creativity of the teacher or professor.

Once the student reaches college, AR will only assists in developing skills for their major. Many of the STEM fields will greatly benefit from this. AR will provide a way to show a three-dimensional image making it easier to understand. This would be useful especially in regards to the subjects of engineering, physics and math when the students reach the level where they begin working with a three-dimensional coordinates system. When the students can physically interact with the information, learning no longer seems like a chore but an activity.

The last use of AR that will have the biggest impact is when it is released into the public. The maps for tourists will make it easier to travel. “Augment Reality allows businesses to combine the digital world with the real world” (Celtek,Ilhan,2016, pg.583) this means that a business can advertise using AR to make their stores stick out from the others by using bright flashing lights without having to buy physical lights. Messages and phone calls can be displayed so that the person always has their hands free. An interactive GPS can be used to make it easier to navigate around unfamiliar cities(Ilhan, Celtek,2016 pg.592). AR will simply make life into a large video game for tourist. Video games that utilize open worlds have successfully developed User interfaces and HUDs that are simply and efficient in presenting information.

Potential Issues

There are few issues with the development of AR but these issues are complex. The first is simply is it possible to achieve something like this? AR on the previously mentioned scale is achievable with technology advancing so fast it’s only a matter of time. To utilize small circuits to produce the required technology is simply. In fact circuits are already near the atomic scale and the issues is now becoming how can the circuitry become smaller and still work around uncertainty of subatomic particles. To state it simply small particles like electrons exist in probability waves. Not having a specific location but a large chance of being found where it should be. As circuits get smaller, the wave function area becomes bigger by comparison thus making it possible for an electron to exist where it is not supposed to.

To make AR hands free, the solution is simply make the devices that carries the AR equipment into glasses. Around 3 in 4 adults in America have glasses, making glasses the obvious choice. This has already been attempted by Google when they produced the google glass. These were glasses that could operate as a hands free smart phone. It was able to browse the internet, use the camera, calendar, maps, and other voice commands. The reason it flopped was because of the price and the way it looked. The google glass cost $1,500 and this price was back in 2012. Technology has come a long way and in order to achieve what the google glass did is no longer a hard task. The prices for new glasses will be much lower. The biggest thing that hurt the google glass was the fact that it looked bulky and unappealing. It is often underestimated how much presentation of a product matters when creating impression . Companies like Intel, Atheer Labs, Vuzx Corporation and rumors about Apple all know from google glass that the appearance of the glasses will be a big factor and making them look as normal as possible is the key.

The necessity of this technology will be in question in the beginning. This is always the case for any new technology. The same occurred to the automobile and phones. The uses of AR are numerous and the amount of help it can provide shows how useful this technology will be. To illustrate, this technology will improve combat for troops, improve procedures and make them easier in medicine, make education more accessible and engaging, improve businesses ability to advertise, and assist the general public in performing mundane tasks. The issue that is often asked when this technology is used is how will the children be affected by this? The answer is not very different than what smartphones are doing now. When asked, the kids in kindergarten were happy with what they were told this could accomplish. “Enjoyment is closely related to learning. It improves student’s intrinsic motivation and interest in the material. It also supports deep involvement and complete immersion in an activity, promoting flow experiences.”(Goktas, Kucuk, Yilmaz, 2018, pg. 826)

Literature Review

Greg Kipper and Joseph Rampolla discuss extensively about AR in their book “Augmented Reality: An Emerging Technologies Guide to AR” Greg Kipper is the Chief Tech Chief Technology Officer of AFCEA NOVA. AFCEA NOVA is a worldwide nonprofit professional association founded as the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and represents the top government, industry and military in the technology fields. Joseph Rampolla has a M.A in Criminal Justice and specializes in cybercrimes, augmented reality and advanced undercover internet relay chat investigation and is a Member of the High Technology Crime Investigation Association. Both of the authors of the book are highly qualified to discuss and augmented reality and their uses in military, public safety and in law. It shown what AR is capable of. AR is not limited to simply visual stimuli but can be used to augment the other 5 senses as well. In Chapter 3 of “Augmented Reality : An Emerging Technology Guide to AR” the use of AR goes further in depth involving social media showing what messages they put up and what on their page to even an AR windshield. “Augment reality will not replace the older interfaces anytime soon however, every interface current computing interface still provides a valuable functionality and while in some cases may be limiting in others it is ideal.” (Kipp, Rampolla, 2012, pg.53). The authors states that just because AR is so useful doesn’t mean that it will be able to replace current technologies that already do their job very well in fact it is going to require a lot of time for the consumer to practice to be used effectively (Kipp, Rampolla, 2012, pg.53).

PC magazine talks about the future prospect of AR. Even know in its current state it is being used to assist complex operations in technical fields. Ben Dickson is a Software engineer who is a consultant on various tech-related issues. Dickson is a professional in his field and has many years of experience in the tech world. It is estimates that the AR field will be 49 billion by 2021 and the majority of this will come from the professional hands on workforce. “Major tech companies including Google, Facebook and Apple, have become deeply invested in the technology, providing platforms and tools for developing AR applications.”(Dickson, 2017, pg. 1) This shows that there is major interest in the tech giants to use and apply themselves. Ben Dickson (2017) references Microsoft and Autodesk working with AR:

There are a number of areas where such tools can make a big difference, including construction, architecture, and industrial engineering. The technology can help bring designers, engineers, architects, workers and even clients on the same page by helping them visualize the project as it would appear in its actual end environment, instead of having to pore over 2D maps or look around 

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