Even though Niantic’s Ingress was one of the first commercial apps to make use of augmented reality (AR), the company’s Pokémon Go game served as the world’s introduction to the technology and a catalyst for much brainstorming around the concept.

pokemon go

Almost a year on from the launch of the seminal critter catcher, though, AR is still a bit of a mystery – is the technology changing the world or fading into obscurity?

Live Gaming

While not using AR just yet, online casino websites are already making headway as far as providing a more immersive gameplay environment is concerned, the appearance of bgo’s live roulette a good example. The obvious question to ask is what the heck is a live roulette? Melding the standard mobile or website game with a croupier on webcam, live roulette is designed to offer bgo players an authentic casino experience without the need to get off the sofa.

There’s now a push in the iGaming sector to make everything “live”, so similar games are cropping up on most sites. 777 Casino, for example, has five different live tables (including two poker variants) while InstaCasino has more than thirty rooms with human dealers, including for less common games like baccarat squeeze and double ball roulette. It’s perhaps logical for the next leap in immersion to come in the shape of AR games.

Microsoft HoloLens

But how would that work? There’s already something of a proof of concept for AR roulette in a Minecraft tech demo (of all things). Using Microsoft’s HoloLens device, a headset device that falls somewhere between Google Glass and the Oculus Rift in terms of functionality, players can display their worlds on a desktop and manipulate them with their hands. It’s a potentially game-changing device for architects and people who work with 3D models, and Microsoft calls it Mixed Reality, or MR.

Swap the blocky terrain of Minecraft for a roulette wheel or even a blackjack table, and casino has a new toy to play with. That kind of AR lacks the pick-up-and-play nature of mobile gaming but as a complement to the portable experience, it’s a novel idea. There’s also a potential for using a phone camera to produce the same effect (like in Pokémon Go) but, without a hands-free mode, it’s an awkward way of playing.

Surgeons, Electricians and Bomb Disposal Experts

Stepping outside gaming, AR has value in any industry in which on-demand information is required or helpful. For example, using the HoloLens to provide rookie surgeons with a heads-up display could help them decide whether to cut the blue wire or the red one – and the same for bomb disposal experts, electricians, telecoms engineers, and so forth. Soldiers already use the tech to get information about the territory they’re in.

Source: Pixabay.

The important thing to note about AR is that it’s not solely used for catching Pokémon and viewing similar “objects” – simply displaying a single number (distances, temperatures, etc.) where the user can see it is a viable use of the technology. For example, business directory Yelp has an AR smartphone app that lets people view information about a deli, restaurant or bar, just by pointing their device at it. 

AR perhaps doesn’t have the commercial presence that might have been expected eight months on from Pokémon Go’s release date but it’s still a useful technology with applications in a number of different industries.

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