How AI Will Fuel Our Mixed and Augmented Realities

    Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) experiences are already transforming the way businesses work across multiple industries.

    Improving customer experiences, Gatwick Airport has installed 2,000 beacons to enable passengers to use AR, making it easier to find their way around the maze of the North and South terminals. And in the world of design, Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA) architects are using Microsoft HoloLens to design buildings and public spaces more effectively – switching from pens and paper to MR.

    But innovation doesn’t sleep. While strides have already been made with AR and MR, the next steps are already being plotted out. How can they be augmented?

    Infusing Artificial Intelligence (AI)

    Microsoft recently announced that the second version of HoloLens Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) will incorporate an AI coprocessor for implementing Deep Neural Networks (DNN).

    Many companies are working on building AI processors, as current devices simply aren’t powerful enough to handle the demands. It’s another battleground that is seeing tremendous innovation from multiple vendors and manufacturers, whether Intel, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple or NVidia.

    But why add AI to MR?

    This is all about the experience of the user. AI could be delivered via cloud, but having AI integrated into the device itself makes for faster performance and a more seamless experience, as users don’t have to be connected to the internet. With data held on the device, the experience is also more secure.

    This means the headset will be able to process the sensory input from the device – what someone is seeing and hearing – without having to send data to the cloud and back again. Think of real-time facial recognition as well as speech recognition and translation. And even autonomous decision-making; so if the HoloLens sees something in view that perhaps the user hasn’t perceived, it could alert them to a problem.

    There are use cases where such advances might be especially useful. In an industrial setting there may be minimal connectivity, so having on board AI is must. Think for example, if there is a hazard the user hasn’t spotted, but the headset has.

    A new platform for innovation

    As companies continue to invest in AI and MR/AR experiences, I certainly expect to see the developer community capitalise on the platform and opportunity at hand. The coming years will see countless innovations that will enhance user experiences in ways we can only dream of.

    It’s important to think about how these developments might impact your business, competitive landscape and industry.

    Why not read 5 Ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Changing Our World