Pokémon GO and the Future of Augmented Reality

Pokemon GO Future of Augmented Reality

Seems like Augmented Reality (AR) may give Virtual Reality (VR) a run for its money, if this example (by some clever bods at MIT) of Pokémon interaction with the real world can be realised.

Just watch the video below or use this link (don’t worry, I can wait!):

Great, you’re back! So now that you’ve seen the footage, does it make something like Pokémon GO feel even more real than it did before? Whilst getting this technology running fast enough on a smartphone might take a few years, how long before the blending of real world and virtual characters becomes almost imperceptible, much like it has in the movies?

Perhaps instead of just moving your phone to get the Pokémon in view, some of them are hidden underneath a shrub or hiding behind a tree – the only clue being a rustling of the branches on screen (and not in the real world). Would you be able to spot it, tap the screen and get a chance to capture a rare or legendary Pokémon?

Imagine an AR version of Super Mario, where the world around you (seen through your smartphone) is used as the platforms, with Koopas, Piranha Plants and Goombas blocking your way to the Coins, Stars, Mushrooms and ultimately Princess Peach. Just swipe the screen to run and tap to jump! Move your phone to keep him in view and see what’s up ahead. Do a Ground Pound and watch the scenery vibrate! Or maybe even interact with the scenery to move Mario indirectly: pull a branch down and let it go when Mario gets near to launch him up high to reach a Coin or Mystery block!!!

With advances in computer vision, it might not be that long before we get other types of AR interaction. Spraying the environment with virtual paint in an AR version of Super Mario Sunshine. Setting the scenery on fire and being tasked with dousing the flames before the building burns down (only virtually of course!). Building a track in the real world that can be raced in the virtual world, complete with collisions, knocking over small real world objects and lap counting.

Pokémon GO has only just scratched the surface of what is possible.

The future is bright.

The future is AR!

Kevin Ayre

Kevin is a veteran gamer, coder and artist with a love of fantasy, horror and sci-fi. He's been involved in all sorts of computer games since the 80s, from Trivial Pursuit: A New Beginning to Super Mario Pinball Land, by way of Warzone 2100. He now works remotely from beautiful Pembrokeshire in the UK with his beachcombing other half, Jen.

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