9743 Pali Avenue Los Angeles CA 91042
213.480.7500

The Rise of Augmented Reality

The Rise of Augmented Reality

The Rise of Augmented Reality

Last week we were asked to review a collaboration between Silverdraft (an LA/Boise hardware firm) and Varjo (a Finnish company specializing in headsets). It gave us a glimpse at the process automakers and others are now using for remote design crits and customer presentations. When I put the headset on over my glasses, it calibrated to my eyesight within a few seconds as a virtual car frame appeared in the space I was standing in. I walked like a ghost through the frame, automatically reaching out to “touch” the curve of the hood. I turned around in real space to sit in the driver’s seat, without needing to open the door. A chair was provided in the physical space, where I sat and “held” the steering wheel. Soon the fully finished car was visible to my every glance, from all angles and positions: an awesome and inspiring experience.

VR/AR – virtual reality and augmented reality – are coming to the workplace. Major automotive manufacturers have relocated their design centers to Southern California (JSDA Inc. designed BMW’s international design center), and product development communication takes place online to review decisions with internal groups. If you watched the video from META (previously Facebook) in the Fall of 2021, you would have seen the prospect of people coming together in a virtual conferencing space. Some participants used avatars, others chose robots or Star Trek characters. META, competing with Microsoft, is investing heavily in making this form of communicating as common as Zoom is today.

In movies, the hybrid production boost of using light emitting diode panels (LED) for setting and surroundings– rather than shooting on location – transformed films such as Joker, Murder on the Orient Express and Gravity.Universal Studios is coming out with a Mario Kart-themed ride from Japan that is centered on augmented reality. This attraction is intended to give the illusion that we’re interacting with objects and characters in the video game. The user can either access the ride via an AR-enhanced mobile phone app or wear glasses that allow everyone on the ride to engage in real time.

Disney is exploring a gaming concept with Illumix, another proof-of-concept project that indicates an AR-enhanced future is coming. The gaming world continues to influence the way physical spaces evolve. Its evolution follows our preferences (the choices we’ve previously made at virtual events) and gives us the option to attend in person or remotely. The digital content world can be combined with physical experiences and will significantly affect the way we gather in workplaces. Each solution will be as unique as the culture of your company and the types of communication you envision that will add to the spatial experience for your organization.

It seems predictable that we’ll soon wake up and plug in to a virtual world for our daily interactions with colleagues and collaborators. Still a bit “out there” for you? Perhaps, but opting for the metaverse is certain to alleviate some of the hassles of the physical world … such as the long lines at the gas station, EV charging station or grocery store, or the commute to the place we used to call “the office”.