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Mobile AR Could Help Counter-Terrorism

David Gilbert


Layar Augmented Reality

Research has emerged today that shows in the coming four years revenue from augmented reality (AR) in mobile devices will go from $2 million-a-year to $300 million-a-year.

Juniper Research has today published a report stating that the use of AR on mobile devices will extend as far as surgery and even counter-terrorism. Thus far, augmented reality on mobile phones, and most recently on the 3DS, has been seen as a bit of a gimmick. However, apps such as Layar have proved that AR can provide a very useful service and the research shows that if this is extended into other fields, there will be a lot of money to be made. Mobile AR provides digital information superimposed upon the physical world as seen through the viewfinder of a smartphone camera and is enabled by location-sensing technologies such as GPS, an accelerometer and a digital compass. The report suggests that technical limitations had previously constrained the expansion of AR on mobiles devices, but the inclusion now of image recognition/computer vision software is bringing a far higher degree of accuracy to AR and also reducing the problems that occur when GPS reception is weak.

As the slightly staid video above tells us, awareness of AR among the general public is pretty low, but that is set to change in the next four years. Already there are a lot of companies trialling applications using AR in the real world. SAP has developed a prototype app allowing enterprises to browse geo-localised information. In the area of field medicine, medics may in the future be able to to see digital information relating to a geo-tagged patient’s history or to provide assistance with surgical procedures. It is the area of counter-terrorism however that could be the highest profile area of deployment. Logica is already working with the UK government on a project, which aims to identify current and future AR capabilities, whilst evaluating them against various security and counter-terrorism scenarios.

According to report author Dr Windsor Holden: “Video recognition technology has become increasingly valuable as an aide to combating crime and terrorism – a well-publicised example recently being the identification of Osama Bin Laden by the US military prior to and in the aftermath of their raid on his compound.”

AR is certainly an emerging technology and only now with the advancement of mobile technology will developers be able to make the most of it - which will no doubt mean a slew of new AR apps appearing in app stores neat you very soon.

Source: Juniper Research

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