InsideAR 2011, one of the world’s largest augmented reality events, provided first glimpses into one exciting area of future, but also gave a good insight what is already possible as evidenced by some of the fascinating applications I saw.

One that really struck me was the virtual recreation of the now lost wintergarden of the Wittelsbach Residenz in Munich. Visitors interested in history could use their smartphones to see virtual buildings, graphics and access additional multimedia material. I was able to listen to the Lohengrin overture when looking at the villa where Wagner composed parts of his famous opera.

A really touching presentation was a project to virtually rebuild the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. This was complemented by 110 individual stories that ordinary New Yorkers and visitors associate with these towers.

Many, more practically oriented demonstrations at InsideAR included visualizing the inner mechanical workings of a car through a pair of augmented reality enabled glasses. The use of actual glasses to access the mobile augmented reality space is science-fiction coming to life.

Challenging aspects of these future uses include an ever more connected human being, where social media is omnipresent and the information flow is layered with advertising corresponding to individual tastes and observed consumer behavior. Does it sound scary? I wouldn’t worry too much, we ought to be able to receive only the information we want, the information that seems most appropriate to us on the mobile augmented reality enabled pair of glasses or contact lenses we might use.

With all that is being shown at InsideAR in mind, it’s clear we have come a long way on this journey. To really unlock the future of mobile augmented reality applications, we still need:

  • Access to content which provides a clear added value to the consumer, content that someone is willing to pay for
  • Practical and effortless tools to access the content: Mobile augmented reality enabled glasses or lenses could be the way forward
  • Mobile devices with application processors and modems that have been optimized to handle the complexity of mobile augmented reality

I believe that ST-Ericsson’s mobile platforms will play an essential role in shaping this mobile augmented reality future. But I also admit that it’s both exciting and frightening to imagine what our brave new world could look like when mobile augmented reality eventually becomes an everyday feature.

Original Article by: Roland Sladek

Posted by: Shane Barker