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Do you see what I see? Smart glasses, VR, and telepresence robots

June 15, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Megan Geuss / Ars Technica

Heightened reality will hit industry and gaming before it changes anyone's day-to-day.

SANTA CLARA, CA--Booths for the Augmented World Expo (AWE) filled a ballroom at the Santa Clara Convention Center early last week, and some 3,000 developers, engineers, marketers, and business people took to the show floor to demonstrate the product they hope will be the next big thing--or at least part of the next big thing. While 3,000 attendees may not seem like a lot compared to the CES-es of the world, that number represents exponential growth in interest in the augmented reality (AR) space in less than a decade.

Part of this may be thanks to Oculus VR, which helped breath new life into a more or less stagnant area of research after its wildly popular Kickstarter in 2012, spurring Sony, Samsung, Valve, and no end of smaller companies to throw resources at building a virtual reality (VR) headset. But at AWE this week, there were just as many AR products like smart glasses, AR tablet interfaces, and smart sensors as there were full-on virtual reality headsets.

Despite the growing interest in augmented reality, it has a long way to go before it's ready for prime time. Perhaps the most telling detail was that, as I walked the floor of AWE, I counted not a single person wearing any kind of smart glasses or lens display outside of their official duties to whatever smart glasses company they came with. (Granted, I could not count how many people had retinal display implants.)

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