Augmented Reality's Arrested Development


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 Augmented reality proved its potential for popularity last summer with the craze around Pokemon Go, but the technology still faces a major challenge as AR developers emphasize platform development over product innovation.
 
The difference can be likened to the utility of a Swiss army knife.
 
“The Swiss army knife is the platform, but each [tool] is the product,” explained Neil Gupta, founder of non-profit BostonAR. “Each one of these [components] is a killer app or I have utility for it. I don’t actually have any utility for that little red piece of plastic that holds any tool that I want. If someone just sold me an empty Swiss army knife and said you could put anything you want in it, I wouldn’t buy it.”
 
Right now, there are tons of platforms for AR available on various headsets. Gupta identified Microsoft HoloLens as the most advanced of the bunch.
 
“It runs the full desktop version of Windows 10, and it’s basically a computer on your face,” he said.
 
HoloLens runs an HPU – a holographic processing unit – as opposed to a GPU. Microsoft spent $150 million to acquire augmented reality glasses technology from AR innovator ODG to create that HPU.
 
“Those two platforms are going to become very interesting as they become consumer ready,” Gupta said.
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