In July 2016, a new game application, PokemonGO, attracted many Japanese people. The game application adopts augmented reality, AR technology. AR can create an imaginary world framed around the real world. For example, people can see and catch Pokemon in their rooms or towns, that do not live in the real world, using only their smartphones. Although Pokemon started as a creature in an anime, nowadays we can share in the wonderful experience of Pokemon living in the real world. These wonderful experiences attract many people and expose them to the great possibilities of AR.
Today, AR technology has gathered attention in the gaming industry, but in the future, what will this technology be used for in our daily lives?
“Lost pieces of culture can be reproduced by AR technology” says Hirose Michitaka, a professor working in VR technology at Tokyo University. In Japan, tourism from other countries is increasing every year. With this information, he believes “AR technology is most effective way for tourists to understand Japanese history compared to written descriptions. Tourists can learn Japanese history virtually” Professor Hirose belongs see working on from project “omoidenozokimado”, a project aiming to enable visitors to see scenes from Akihabara in the Sowa Era, a period of Japanese history from 1920s to late 1980s, through a tablet. Throwing old landscapes over current ones, visitors can feel like they are back in old Akihabara and see how the landscape changed.
Likewise, Daito Manabe and Yuya Hanai, working at Rhizomatiks Research, a company dealing with new media, insist that AR closely relates to sports. Rhizomatiks Research is famous for the performances capturing from 2016 the Olympic closing ceremonies, using AR technology. They raised the example of fencing: in a fencing match, people can see the trajectory of the sword and learn about technique through a head-mounted display. Thanks to AR, we can gain new way to enjoy sports.
Due to the influence of PokemonGO on our society, AR is gaining more and more attention. Keep watching the next big innovations in AR technology coming forward.
Written by Satoshi Machida, Ryo Fuji
Edited by Yamaha Sato