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After the Google Pixel 3, what’s next for the AR craze?

Monday, October 15th 2018 by Oprah Flash

Unless you’ve thrown away your phone, laptop and radio by now you would have heard the news that Google has just released a whole shedload of new hardware, most notably its latest flagship smartphone, the Pixel 3.

Along with a few other advancements, Google revealed it has revamped the camera technology and introduced Playground, a new Pixel camera mode to enhance your Augmented Reality experience while you’re taking pictures.

Instead of obsessing over the iPhone X-esque notch and why it hasn’t got more RAM, the new phone release got me thinking, is this AR stuff just a craze or is it giving us an insight into what other technological developments will soon become commonplace?

Dance with Childish Gambino

The AR you may be used to is changing. On the Pixel 3, as well as giving you the chance to figuratively dance with Childish Gambino or hang out with Eleven from Stranger Things, thanks to AI it can recommend AR characters and interactive Playmojis based on your surroundings.

Aparna Chennapragada, the vice president of Product, Google AR/VR, said: “Our phone’s camera has become an important part of our lives. Thanks to advancements in computer vision, our camera can understand our world and help in new ways.”

Manufacturers have been toying around with AR features for a number of years now, but when the Pokemon Go game burst into the scene it brought AR down to a consumer level that everyone could get to grips with.

The new Playground mode on Pixel 3 gives you an enhanced AR experience

It’s all a bit of fun but is it just a novelty? In short, no. Yes it can help you while away the hours playing with AR Snapchat filters or challenging your friend to Star Wars-inspired game of AR chess but it also has real world uses and benefits.

Among medical professionals, AR assisted systems can help make physical exams quicker and more efficient by giving instant access to a patient’s records without the need to log into the computer. It can also make an innovative difference in operating theatres by enabling the use of live feeds to remote specialist surgeons.

In fact, the high demand for faster, more powerful services is part of the driving force behind the development of a new and improved mobile network.

In a recent Intel report, researchers said: “5G will accelerate content consumption, including mobile media, mobile advertising, home broadband and TV, and improve experiences across a broad range of new immersive and interactive technologies – unleashing the full potential of augmented reality, virtual reality and new media.”

In the report it is predicted that the technology with help create a paradigm shift in how we consume, create and share social content.

Holographic calls

If the 5G predictions are anything to go by the hype around AR could be replaced by holograms in the not-too-distant future. In September, Vodafone made the UK’s first holographic call using 5G.

Using 5G technology the call was made in manchester, featuring Women’s Football Captain, Steph Houghton MBE who appeared as a live 3D hologram to a audience at Vodafone’s head office in Newbury. During the call Ms Houghton’s hologram gave football tips to an 11-year-old Manchester City fan.

As daunting and futuristic as this sounds, 5G is being trialled as we speak so you could be make hologram calls of your own in the not too distant future.

For now though, you can stick to taking cool AR pictures on your phone.

Pre-orders for the Pixel 3 are now open and once it hits shelves it will retail at £739 and £869 for the Pixel 3 XL.

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