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GCN : August 2013
[BrieFing] 8 GCN AUGUST 2013 • GCN.COM Think of viewing the world through the Terminator's eyes. As you scan the scene, data pops up informing you about peoples' weight, exit routes from a build- ing, the composition of liquid in a jar. That's the picture painted by a report from Deloitte Consulting, which notes the military has led the way in develop- ing augmented reality (AR) devices and applications. As early as 1992, the Air Force developed Virtual Fixtures, a sys- tem that an operator could use to work in remote environments. But advances have made AR tech- nologies more powerful, less expensive and easier to deploy. Only a few years ago, AR required the user to wear a bulky helmet and visor wired with a visual display. Today, as Google Glass demonstrates, AR can be implemented in lightweight glasses. And the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is currently working to develop virtual reality contact lenses that can display AR data. And since AR equipment can send as well as receive data, the link between eld agents wearing the devices and the databases back in the home of ce is interactive. According to the Deloitte report, "as Millennials and younger generations that have grown up with interactive games and digital media enter the workforce, AR will likely take on an increasingly important role in how companies and governments deliver products and ser- vices." The technologies are developing so quickly, argues the report, that it's not too soon for agencies and departments to start planning for implementing them. The report walks the reader through several hypothetical, but very feasible, implementations. In one, a TSA agent notes a young male apparently loitering near the back of a closed panel van. She zooms in to focus on the man and, after a face- recognition application makes a match, a message appears indicating he has been tagged for further observation if he enters the airport. The agent presses an icon labeled "Secondary SPOT con rmation." After that, any agent in the airport wearing the AR device who views the man will see a yellow hue around him. Training, education and health care are among the other likely uses for aug- mented reality. The report notes that AR is an emerg- ing eld, citing analysts estimates that its revenues are expected to grow from about $181 million in 2011 to $5.2 billion by 2016. And it cites some products already in production or under develop- ment, such as Google Glass, Microsoft's Project Fortaleza that enhances gesture recognition and Innovega's iOptik, multi- focus, AR contact lenses similar to those being developed by DARPA. Intel also is working to develop processing chips speci cally for AR. Considering that many AR products are in their early stages, other products are likely to arrive soon and agencies have diverse needs and states of readi- ness, the report doesn't offer speci c recommendations on adopting augment- ed reality products. Instead, the authors urge agencies to ask ve questions: 1. Who in my organization requires real- time data for decision-making? 2. What are the technology and data requirements? 3. What are the human resource require- ments? 4. What are the risks associated with us- ing AR in my organization? 5. What impact will AR have on my orga- nization's mission-critical activities? Augmented reality will become an in- creasingly common and important tool in everyday life, the report concludes, and agencies should start to consider how it could best serve their missions. • Augmented reality comes into focus for government BY PATRICK MARSHALL DARPA researchers are developing contact lenses with Washington-based Innovega iOptiks that enhance normal vision by allowing wearers to view augmented reality images without the need for a bulky apparatus. Instead of virtual reality helmets, digital images are projected onto tiny full-color displays near the eye. The contact lenses allow users to focus simul- taneously on objects that are close up and far away, which could improve ability to use tiny displays while interacting with the surrounding environment. The lenses are being developed as part of DARPA's Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras (SCENICC) pro- gram. The program seeks to develop novel computational imaging capabilities and explore design of hardware and software that give warfighters access to systems that enhance their awareness, security and survivability. AUGMENTED REALITY ON THE BATTLEFIELD DARPA.MIL