Augmented Reality & Where Pokemon Go, can go.

Technologies such as VR, augmented reality, wearables, and the IoT are pointing to a world where technology will envelop every aspect of our lives”. Our digital and physical lives are now increasingly intertwined with Pokémon Go being the leading example of this phenomena. We are all now real-life Ash Ketchum’s, looking for our Pikachu thru our mobile phones. The world of Pokémon is no longer just constrained to our childhood memories of watching the show on our television or the countless hours spent on our Gameboy’s. Pokémon Go is our childhood dream coming to fruition (well partially). We can now walk around our physical world, using our mobile phones to digitalize a reality filled with Pokémon, all for the catching!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, everyone and their mama have been talking about and playing Pokémon Go like fiends. Just within the first few days, Pokémon Go had more daily active users than Twitter, and players were spending more time in the app than on Facebook. As users roam the city in search of Pokémon for miles on hand, walking into bars and shops, crossing paths with other Pokémon masters, it’s as if this game based on an augmented reality has become a reality in our three dimensional realm that we currently live in.

For technology enthusiast, marketers, and brands, Pokémon Go is the start of one of the most significant technological disruptions – utilizing “pervasive gaming, location-based activity, and mixed reality”.

Augmenteed Reality

However, the real lesson and breakthrough from Pokémon Go is the adoption of “augmented reality” by the masses. If you’re not sure what ‘augmented reality’ is or what it means, it’s basically a reference to a view of the real-world environment that is overlaid with computer-generated images and sound. Prior to the success of Pokémon Go, augmented reality was just a thought and failed ideal. It had been labeled as the technology of the future, but as a testament to the millions of humans throwing pokeballs while walking around like mindless drones, it’s here and may be here to stay.

Another lesson from Pokémon Go is that our virtual experiences are now creating real connections. Strangers who would’ve walked past each other are now talking to one another about the nearest PokeGym, strictly bonding over Pokémon Go – an augmented reality that lives through their phones.  

Pokemon Go

Although, the ideal of augmented reality and how society can embrace it truly intrigues me. It can literally change the way we communicate, integrated into our daily habits and the way we go about our everyday lives. Imagine a world where augmented-reality “interfaces replace screens as we know them, making it simple to get access to schematics for an elevator, patient records, or a drawing to fix a car”. What seems like a fantasy in an alternative universe can be very real sooner than expected.

It could very much be like living in a video game, where facial recognition can scan someone’s face and tell you their attributes in a digitalized screen, that isn’t really there in the physical reality but is in the augmented interface.

Augmented reality can soon be completely and truly ubiquitous. The rise of Pokémon Go is leading the trend to that soon to be reality and also new era of the Internet of Things. Our mobile phones and digital sensors is transforming the way people interact with real life objections and physical spaces; in ways which was unimaginable and also in ways that we have yet to imagine. We have added another layer to our human universe.

The future of augmented reality is much more than catching Pokémon in your living room. Instead it means doctors can pull up health records on the fly or firefighters can identify structural vulnerabilities in case of an emergency”. Like the yin and yang of life, all of this new technology has many advantages and disadvantages on our society. Augmented reality can be used to enhance our productivity, such as having a hyper-personalized assistant.

But talking about the good is no fun, let’s talk about the potential drawbacks! London designer Keiichi Matsuda recently released a short movie depicting a “futuristic scenario where digital media and the physical world have merged to create a ‘hyper reality’”.

In the hyper reality, the world has been filled with holographic images and ads, to where it obscured the third dimensional world altogether. In the video, the virtual interfaces oversaturate the environment and showed a ‘new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged’. To me, the video is a representation of where Pokémon Go can ultimately go (pun intended?). As a society we must tread cautiously on our adoption of emerging technology, as it offers infinite possibilities to control our interactions and experiences.