Why AR is going to give you ‘superpowers’ in the future

Among the best ways to consider any new technology is to map out what it empowers users to perform that they previously couldn’t. For example, with AR, we can now take just about any 3D product and see it positioned in fact. This is cool, but it’s also not enough.

AR has a challenging road ahead of it, headsets are still too bulky, and the capabilities of mobile AR are still too limited. For AR to succeed, the ideas can’t just be good they need to be 10x better than the non-AR alternate. We can not afford to only empower our customers we need to super-empower them.

This framework is my contribution to your ideation process. I introduce six classes that (I believe) all AR adventures can be mapped to. These categories can then be utilized as an aid when designing AR experiences.

Why AR is going to give you 'superpowers' in the future 1

Holographic Projection

Advanced users of this power can even share their projections with other users and have them continue to exist across time.

One of the most useful aspects of VR/AR is the ability to visualize articles in three dimensions, manipulating it with gestures and using our own status in the real world to control the viewing angle. Where AR visualization surpasses VR is in its ability to demonstrate how content fits into the real world. A prime example of this is the furniture programs that allows users to see how a particular piece of furniture fits into their home.

This is very powerful when combined with storytelling, using holograms to enhance or emphasize certain elements of a narrative. By way of instance, the New York Times utilized AR to demonstrate the size of cave openings and help readers grasp the challenge rescuers faced when seeking to reach the children trapped in the Thai cave.

Bear in mind that holograms aren’t real, so they do not need to abide by the constraints of reality. Consider how a hologram might explode into its composite parts to allow increased evaluation, or demonstrate aspects we couldn’t usually perceive. By way of example, when placing a digital speaker in real life, we could also visualize the audio coverage that it would provide.

In summary, use Holographic projection to research and share ideas in context, whilst exceeding the constraints of the actual world.

Dimensional Vision

Advanced users of this ability can even see the past, the future, and alternative realities.

Going beyond projecting individual objects to the real-world, AR may be used to make bigger additional layers over the real world, from populating our streets with pocket-sized monsters to looking into the past and seeing ruins restored.

These dimensions can exist as partial overlays around the Earth, like adding virtual signage, or they can exist in pockets that the user accesses by stepping through portals, which become mini VR like experiences.

Whilst our instinct is to add to reality, we should also explore how we could subtract from it. For example, in the future, we may use AR to see the world without litter or graffiti; or we may remove others from our vision to actually make that beach feel secluded.

To sum up, use Dimensional Vision to change how we see the world around us, adding, replacing or removing as you see fit.

Hypercompetent

A user of Hyper Competence can instantly make sense of new things and effortlessly perform new skills, with holographic visions guiding them along.

One of the reasons we anticipate AR to take off quicker than VR is the immediate utility it’s able to provide. Our AR devices enable us to gauge the distance of a surface by looking at it, map the size of an entire room, fix a rocket engine and maybe one day even perform brain surgery.

Using AR we can superimpose step-by-step manuals and instructions on to some task. Even replacing actual objects with digital twins, that can visualize invisible features of the actual object or wrap it in live data from its sensors.

In summary, Hyper Competence will move us far beyond the educational manual or YouTube How-to video, to the point where what we will need to understand is known to us in the exact point we need to know it.

Shape Shifting

Shapeshifters are able to change their appearance at will. Altering their features or completely morphing into different beings.

Humans have long wanted the ability to change their physical form and today AR is enabling this, from the humorous face filters we apply on Facebook or Snap to changing rooms that enable us to try on makeup and clothes without bothering them.

Shapeshifting allows users to visualize how a product might change them, both realistically like in the case of adding makeup or fantastically by getting someone or something else like our favorite Animoji.

In summary, use Shapeshifting to show a user who they are, or as a way of creating rapport by creating super-personalized experiences.

Teleportation

Teleportation is the ability for the user to transport themselves to a different place in space or teleport another for their location and time.

This hologram can then be projected and replayed in a viewer’s location.

Imagine analyzing the movements of an athlete in motion, having a barista show you how you can use that new coffee machine or just hanging out with friends from throughout the world.

Whilst currently these are likely pre-recorded videos, in the future, we’ll find ways to simultaneously capture, transfer and project individuals in real-time.

Teleportation is not just limited to people, objects can also be captured and transferred across space, from priceless collections in museums into your faulty appliance that is too big to carry into the store.

In summary, use Teleportation to bring users closer to the people and things that they care about, in ways which may otherwise be impossible.

Telekinesis

A rare power with incredible potential. A Telekinetic can control real-world objects without direct physical interaction. They may visualize controls or simply use gestures to communicate their intent.

One of the intriguing and as of yet relatively untapped regions of AR is its use as a control system for iOT and other connected devices. Holographic control systems can be added to any connected device, allowing the user to have personalized three-dimensional interfaces. These might be traditional such as a dashboard of knobs and switches to control a drone, or it might be something more creative like seeing your 3D avatar in various moods and outfits, and then selecting one to change the temperature, lighting, and music in your home.

If Telekinesis becomes the standard way of controlling apparatus, then we could also simplify or completely eliminate the physical interfaces of several devices. Imagine your microwave having no buttons if you don’t have a look at it in AR, and even then you could pick from holograms of different dishes to select the ideal settings.

In summary, use Telekinesis to make novel interfaces and control system for connected devices.

Applying your Superpowers

But while the platitude goes,”with great power comes great responsibility” so when you consider applying these powers be sure to do it from a user-centric perspective.

Multiplying Powers

You have likely noticed that there’s some overlap between powers and some complement between others. Use this to your advantage to develop even more impactful ideas. As another exercise, try selecting two or three powers and one part of your user’s journey, then invent ideas around the crossover. For example, how might Hyper Competence and Teleportation be applied to customer service?

Moving Forward

This is just the beginning. The technology is rapidly advancing, and so whilst a few of the ideas you come up with today might not be readily achievable, it will not be long before they are. Additionally, they may still help to spark ideas which you can begin today.

I have introduced you to six superpowers now, but in the long run, these forces will evolve and possibly some new powers may even emerge. Until then, keep experimenting and bear in mind that…

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