Augmented reality is a sophisticated concept that essentially means blurring the lines between things that are real and things that are computer generated. A patent filed by Apple last week indicates that they are investigating ways to produce a device capable of bridging this gap.
As suggested in the patent application, Apple could use a split screen display with a live video feed showing in one with an information layer identifying elements from that video feed available in the other. This should enable a user to use the location services on their device to self-navigate through almost anywhere –with buildings being named and landmarks being identified.
It was also indicated that Apple intends for users to be able to optionally share these data streams with others. This could add an entirely new dimension to ‘meeting a friend for coffee’ –where you could actually watch each other walk through the downtown streets of your city and comment on the things each other is seeing. (anybody else seeing tremendous video game potential here?)
A second patent application filed by Apple is considerably more ambitious. Apple has seriously upped the cool factor by proposing the creation of a display screen that is translucent either in part or in whole enabling you to overlay the screen in such a way that you add an additional dimension of information to existing objects.
One of the suggested uses is the ability to hold your screen up in front of a piece of art in a gallery and be shown information pertaining to the work. They also suggested being able to hold your screen against the window of a tour bus and be shown relevant information overlapping what is currently being seen.
Whenever somebody asks the question ‘what more could they possibly add?’ in reference to devices of the future, somebody like Apple will respond with ideas like these. My response: yes please!