Welcome to the premiere edition of Marxent’s Augmented Reality News, a bi-weekly digest that will highlight interesting news stories about Augmented Reality (AR) as reported by the mainstream press. In this week’s edition, AR goes to war, finds religion and makes marijuana grow houses more productive. Talk about a breakthrough technology!
Locked and loaded: AR goes to war
The military has always been fertile ground for testing new technology. The armed services spend a healthy chunk of change on R&D each year, and soldiers are already loaded down with gear — helmet, goggles, and audio communications equipment among them — which makes it easy to add AR glasses to the mix. This week, Geekwire took a look at how Microsoft’s HoloLens is being used by the Marines to aid in training. “Thanks to the headset displays, Marines can interact with the scenarios that are superimposed on their field of view, either singly or as a shared operation with other Marines,” says writes Geekwire’s Alan Boyle. “The kits are designed to be used in barracks ‘decision rooms,’ where Marines can practice their decision-making skills and compete with each other.
Beyond friendly competition in training, the U.S. Army is looking for ways to harness what it calls “Tactical Augmented Reality,” Per a story in Defense Update, “When soldiers point their weapons or look at targets, the sight image of the target is displayed in the eyepiece, with relevant details like the distance to target, and velocity of its movement. Other relevant information related to the situation, such as ‘combat ID’ and location of other targets or friendly forces can also be displayed.”
To pull this off, the Army has been developing its own high-resolution eyepiece that can deliver information to a soldier. As Geek.com explains, “Tactical Augmented Reality (TAR) replaces night-vision goggles and global positioning systems with an all-in-one heads-up display. The one-inch-by-one-inch eyepiece mounted to a soldier’s helmet overlays a map of the terrain in their field of vision. It also wirelessly transmits data from a connected tablet and thermal imager to show the target and its distance.”
AR in church? God help us!
Religious organizations haven’t traditionally been known for embracing new technology, but that may be changing when it comes to AR. “Augmented Reality Is Entering The House Of God,” proclaims Vocativ’s headline, but the fact is that AR is doing more than just popping into church for a visit. “All of this is possible because it’s become easier to integrate AR technology, according to Azad Usmani, technical manager at app making website Appy Pie. To put an AR app, people can simply pick a particular object or image, and then assign a photo, PDF, song, or video to appear when someone points their camera phone at it. In the case of the church, it can be the bible, a statue, or a poster on the wall.”
“AR is still in its nascent stages, but if more communities keep experimenting with it, they’ll be able to change the way the church can engage people, according to Jay Kranda, online pastor at Saddleback Church and co-host of the Social Media Church podcast. Kranda, along with Nils Smith, innovation pastor at Community Bible Church in San Antonio, use their podcast to explore how the church can adopt technology, social media, and the Internet in order to tell better stories.”
AR helps build a better grow house
In fairness, the story “Weed Vision: How Augmented Reality Can Improve Grow Houses,” published by Vice Motherboard, could be about any farming operation — but “How AR Can Improve Tomato Farms” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. The point of the piece is that, no matter what you choose to farm, Augmented Reality is going to make it much easier to grow it.
“Augmented Reality vertical farming could help a small farm scale more quickly,” writes author Samantha Cole. “It’s hard to find affordable labor for a futuristic farm: People who know how to balance PH, humidity, and climate, and who are also willing to work for a small-operation paycheck. ‘As small farms scale they can’t find enough people for the job, limiting their growth potential,” [AR farming company founder Ryan] Hooks said. ‘If someone can drive Uber, then they can put on Huxley and become a modern farmer.'”
Alright Walking Dead/World War Z/Night of the Living Dead fans, this is going to hit close to home: Zombies GO! AR app lets you attack zombies in your own back yard. Enjoy the apocalypse!