A turn to reality

PUBLISHED August 1, 2021

KARACHI:

With smartphones and other consumer digital devices somewhat stagnant in terms of design, there is a race among technology giants to develop and mass-produce the next technological breakthrough. In search of the next big thing, one area of ​​immense competition and focus is virtual and augmented reality.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Kiwi Creations CEO Umair Abdulwahab said that augmented reality, or RA, is a perfect blend of the real physical world and the digital elements that provide the user with an artificial environment.

“This enhanced vision can generally be experienced through cell phone cameras,” he said. “Instead, virtual reality or virtual reality completely turns off the real world and takes the consumer into a whole new virtual world with the help of headphones.” Abdulwahab’s firm is implementing both technologies in different fields, especially video games.

Modify the real world

Design: Ibrahim Yahya

Elaborating on augmented reality, FiveRivers Technologies CEO Mahe Zehra Husain told The Express Tribune that, true to its name, augmented reality modifies the environment around a person and adds layers to it. Speaking of real-world uses of the technology, he said RA could be used in a variety of ways to elevate the consumer experience.

“Let’s say a person visits an art museum and is asked to wear RA headphones like Microsoft HoloLens,” he said. “Once you enter the rooms, you can instantly see information about paintings or exhibitions through the lens.”

The RA can be used to display artists ’names, their life stories, painting style, other similar works by the same person, and many additional facts.

All kinds of information can be added to the paintings and can be viewed at any time using the RA headphones.

“The paint the AR headset user sees is real, but the information that appears is an increase,” he said. “With this technology, there will be no need for a tour guide; all the facts will appear based on what you see through the lens at that time.”

Perhaps the most popular example of RA and that most people with technical knowledge have used are filters and stickers that people can add to their live videos on various social media platforms.

Husain, the company that specializes in augmented reality in part, considered RA applications to be endless and hoped that this technology would become a major thing worldwide.

“We have worked augmented reality for some of our clients and have integrated AR with HoloLens to create training modules for technicians,” he detailed. “This reduces significant research time for technicians and increases their productivity.”

According to her, augmented reality would be extremely useful for technicians and engineers, as it can help them get the necessary information from a particular device once they view it through a gadget (mobile phone application or RA headset) .

Push from Pokemon Go

Design: Ibrahim YahyaDesign: Ibrahim Yahya

The focus and work on augmented reality received a new impetus in 2016 when game publisher Niantic launched Pokemon Go, a game that uses technology.

Taking the example of video games, Husain said that the character of Pokemon Go is magnified and that virtual creatures are found in real-world locations using GPS and mobile camera.

“So RA is an added layer to reality,” he said.

Abdulwahab claimed his company worked on AR-based educational games that helped children learn and have fun.

Syed Farooq Askari, who has worked in the field of augmented reality for several companies, called augmented reality a relatively more recent phenomenon and said people need to expose it on a larger scale compared to their level. current.

He added that, unlike other similar fields, a person does not need a specialized degree to work for augmented reality, but the candidate only needs to excel in programming and design and needs some exposure of supports.

Local applications

Design: Ibrahim Yahya

Design: Ibrahim Yahya

Husain opined that augmented reality can be widely used to train workers in many sectors of the economy, including agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, tourism and many others.

“Adding layers to the top of reality to provide information or troubleshoot is a good way to use augmented reality technology,” he said. “The time and effort required to do so is worth it. Entire educational programs can be renewed and built around all this technology. ”

He opined that Pakistan can also use this phenomenon to create an educational curriculum that adds more information to textbooks to help children learn through examples.

Husain noted that Pakistan was an extraterrestrial destination for RA customers, but has also seen an increase in local remote workers due to Covid-19.

In this regard, he suggested the use of RA for live meetings where all participants could be raised to sit close to each other while staying hundreds of miles away in real life. “Everything a participant does can be seen by all peers and they can perceive you in a real face-to-face meeting.”

Husain was optimistic about getting brighter prospects for RA in Pakistan in the future and noted that the technology can be used in different ways. He estimated that it was already being used through social media tools, although he set out the hopes of its introduction into the educational field.

“As an industry stakeholder, I’m sure several software houses have RA capabilities,” he said. “I don’t know of any large-scale RA project that has been developed for the Pakistani market, but the people of the country have the necessary experience and AR-based companies need a small amount of support from the authorities to create products that are can be used locally “.

Askari said Oztech and Foodpanda recently collaborated to create a holographic ad that was made using augmented reality.

He stressed that Pakistan was doing an excellent job on augmented reality on a very small scale, but also regretted that no major work was being done in this field at the local level.

“There is no scope for a company focused on augmented reality in Pakistan because the country is lagging behind in digitization,” he said. “Pakistan has not yet adopted digital payments to its true potential, so it will adopt augmented reality on a larger scale it will take some time.”

How is virtual reality different?

Design: Ibrahim Yahya

Design: Ibrahim Yahya

Typically, the mention of augmented reality was followed by its associated virtual reality or VR. Many people confuse the two topics as they are similar in many ways.

Declaring the most significant difference between the two, Husain clarified that while RA adds layers to reality, virtual reality transports the user to a completely different environment via a VR headset.

“For example, a good example of virtual reality would be a program that can send you to another city, country, or even the moon by using a gadget.”

Nabeel Hassan, who gave more details on the subject, said that virtual reality referred to any digital environment or object created in a three-dimensional artificial space that a user can see in real time using specially designed headphones.

He added that the audience for virtual reality merchandise was quite smaller worldwide.

“Both RV and RA are still maturing technologies and, like all new phenomena, currently have their limitations,” he said. “However, as we speak, new and innovative forms of VR and RA are being created in the international market.”

He stressed that VR and AR can be used in various fields, including medical, engineering and architecture.

Since RV and RA can help create objects that are not present or inaccessible in real life, they can be essential for teaching students to visualize real-life objects in a safe environment.

In-depth studies of various machines and buildings with VR and AR can also be conducted, he said.

He added that virtual reality technology can be used in driving schools for simulations and any other type of training as it can give the user experience.

Abdulwahab said the RV can be used for different simulations.

“In fact, it’s possible to create a whole world of virtual wellness center for users where they can not only view, but also read books in the library, exercise in the fitness room, and play in the games room,” he said. .

Speaking about its scope in Pakistan, he said that these advanced realities are already used for educational games and applications, medicine related projects, product marketing projects and many others.

Ramsha Ayaz, an engineer who worked in virtual reality, added that it can be used in education, the world of digital business IT, medicine, entertainment and many other sectors.

Ayaz recalled the creation of 3D models to integrate them into virtual projects and said that Microsoft HoloLens and HTC Vive were the main tools used to work in VR.

Prerequisites and perspectives

Hassan said that like all computer science subfields, both RV and RA require specialized training.

“Developers can also find basic online development tools, along with various tutorials, detailed training and training on these two technologies and the different coding mechanisms and engines that are needed to use them,” he said.

He opined that currently Pakistan can only improve its staff of virtual and artificial reality developers by researching technology and gaining experience through online tutorials and trainings.

“Pakistan often adapts quickly to new technologies, but the country needs broader interaction with VR and AR to harness its real potential,” he said. “Right now, some companies have started working in VR and AR alike, but exponential growth will only be seen once introduced to education and other key sectors.”

Abdulwahab stressed that the scope of virtual reality and virtual reality was beyond anyone’s imagination and stressed that they can be used in almost any field and give a modern image to various products.

“The future of technology is definitely AR and VR,” he stressed. “Whether for professional use, marketing purposes, learning or just entertainment, AR and VR are here to stay.”

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