Why 2017 could be a big year for Augmented Reality

Pokemon Go did more to fight obesity in this country than Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.

Okay, maybe not quite that big, but Pokemon Go got 21 million Americans up off their couch and active every day.

From basement dwelling nerds to father-son duos, there wasn’t a demographic who wasn’t interested in playing Pokemon Go, easily making it the most popular and influential health app of 2016.

What made it so popular?

A tablespoon of Augmented Reality and a pinch of nostalgia.

AR is without a doubt the main reason Pokemon Go was so popular, allowing people to live up to their idol, Ash Ketchum, and actually catch virtual Pokemon in their own backyards. It’s about as close as you can get to scientists cloning a bunch of mutant animals and setting them free in Central Park.

While the hype around Pokemon Go has settled a bit, AR is just getting started and all eyes seem to be on the hardware capabilities.

For instance, Researchers at Duke University have demoed the use of the HoloLens to assist in surgery, but we can expect at least 10 years until the kinks are worked out and it becomes HIPAA compliant.

Snapchat’s limited release of Snap Glasses are being bought quicker than they can restock, but their only benefit is using Snapchat while wearing the glasses.

Even Magic Leap, the super-secret AR company that seems to be generating the most promise, is just now beginning to test its technology in the real world.

HoloLens, Snap Glasses, and Magic Leap are leading the charge in AR hardware, but I’m bearish on hardware causing 2017’s AR shift. Currently, the argument for why someone should buy AR hardware just isn’t that strong.

Instead, platforms that implement AR software into existing hardware will heavily influence the growth of AR technology in 2017.

If you are a Snapchat user (I’m talking to 150 million of you), then AR is already impacting your social life. You know face swap? That oddly satisfying, yet horrifying way to change faces with your friends. Yeah, that’s AR.

Between Pokemon Go and Snapchat, 2016 showed us how exciting AR-assisted phone applications can be. Both spurred huge movements of people in very short periods of time: Face Swap Challenge and Pokemon Go Stampedes.

We are living in a rapid, inspiring time for AR technology, as 2017 will mark the widespread commercialization of AR — entering more areas of our daily lives.

However, it’s not the tools that make us creative, but rather the way we augment our own creative processes with them. Technology only makes up half of the inspiration; the other half is in us. That’s why I created Quick Theories — a brief, weekly newsletter filled with creative insights aimed at helping you find the convergence of technology and inspiration to enhance your own creativity. If you are struggling to find your optimal creative process, you can sign up for Quick Theories here: quicktheories.com

This article is part of the LinkedIn Top Voices list, a collection of the must-read writers of the year. Check out more #BigIdeas2017 here.




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