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The Augmented Reality of Pokémon Go

Aug 17, 2016

Most of us are familiar with the term virtual reality (VR) where, through technology, someone enters a completely artificial environment. But there’s another type of reality that is asserting itself on the tech landscape: augmented reality (AR). 

What Is AR?

AR enhances one’s perception of reality by supplementing his or her experiences with help of computer-generated sensory inputs such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. Dating back to the 1960s, AR is just now starting its march to the mainstream via hardware and software development, particularly in handheld devices. 

AR Uses

The biggest impact of AR is currently in gaming and sports. The current Pokémon Go craze is a great example of how AR can suddenly go mainstream with the right combination of hardware, software and imagination. Another AR example is the yellow “first-down” line seen not at the actual football games, but on television screens during game broadcasts (or, for those of us staying up late to watch the Olympics, the “world record” line leading/chasing/right on top of the swimmers). AR technology can be further developed for a wide range of practical applications—including architecture, health care, education and the military, to name a few. 


Because AR depends on someone’s device to record and analyze the environment, a major concern is privacy. Recording voluminous amounts of data can become an issue if proprietary/copyrighted information is captured. There are also data security issues should AR developers capture user information.  

The Future

We’ve only scratched the surface of AR. (While VR is expected to be a $30 billion industry by the end of this decade, AR is projected to reach $90 billion by 2020.) As the hardware and software get more powerful, there’s little doubt AR will become more prevalent in our daily lives.

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