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The Future of AR and Photography

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3D depth sensing cameras are increasingly becoming a viable addition to mobile devices. In the near future we will start to see mixed reality AR moving away from markers and trigger images.

Google are making great strides with their Project Tango.

Companies are already producing software which recognises objects and maps your environment from a 2D camera. The addition of depth sensing will make this more robust and production ready.

Imagine a Kinect attached to your smartphone. Facial recognition, human motion capture and even detecting facial expressions become not only possible but routine.

You phone will be able to scan your environment in far greater detail than current 2D cameras allow. Creating 3D interactive photos based on the combination of 2D and 3D data will become a standard way of sharing memories. Check out the amazing Seene app by Obvious Engineering for examples of how this currently works with 2D and imagine what those guys will do with the power of 3D depth sensing.

Combined with the advances in 3D printing this makes it feasible to have physical 3d reliefs of your memories to display on your mantlepiece.

The time is rapidly approaching when we will think back to those quaint 2D photographs the way we look back now at photos taken with a pinhole camera.

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Can Microsoft’s AR Hololens live up to it’s promise?

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The reaction to Microsoft’s sudden entry into the wearable AR technology arena has varied from elation and wonder to outright cynicism. No doubt fuelled by the slightly over polished nature of the promotional mockup videos some are suggesting that much of the content is speculation.

We have of course been here before with the great promise of the Kinect “Milo & Kate” demo back when Kinect was called Project Natal. Before we started to feel an always-on camera in the living room might be just a little invasive.

Some may also remember a little gem called Ilumiroom which has so far remained a research project.

My feeling is more one of cautious optimism. The videos had to be good enough to convey the excitement and immersion that their technology will bring. If they’ve used a little (ok, perhaps a lot) artistic licence to convince the mass market that Augmented Reality is the future of computing then we may have to forgive them.

Technically they don’t appear to be doing anything radically different from other players in the field. Comparing their feature set with that of the Meta glasses or Magic Leap, nothing MS are doing stands out as revolutionary.

The Microsoft name however is undoubtedly bringing augmented reality further into the mainstream. Some are even suggesting that the purchase of Minecraft was all about drafting in a whole new generation of Windows users with the prospect of building castles on your coffee table.

All of which has to be good news for us as content creators. All of the skills we use across mobile AR stand us in great stead for the moment when the holographic interface truly becomes part of everyday computing.