augmented reality

Richard Waters

You’re standing on the surface of Mars. You look down and marvel at the detail, then up to the horizon, following the ridge of mountains around to your left. You jump: the Mars Rover is right behind your left shoulder, taller than you are, one of its cameras slanted to the side and looking like a pet robot waiting for an order.

This isn’t some gamer version of Mars. It’s the real thing. Every rock, in clear 3D. In front of you stands the bronze avatar of a scientist ready to talk about the experiments you’re going to perform.

Microsoft has lacked the “wow” factor for some time. It’s been left to Google, Apple and Facebook, with its acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus, to set the standards in technical daring and creative ambition.

Not any more. With HoloLens, the “mixed reality” headset it unveiled on Wednesday, Microsoft is suddenly a contender in one of the most exciting races in the tech world: to mix the real and virtual worlds in ways that transform both.

 Read more

Maija Palmer

Hand holding ipadWhat a difference two years makes.  In 2009 my colleague Tim Bradshaw wrote about the advertising industry’s early experiments with augmented reality and the FT printed an AR image on its pages to give readers a practical demonstration.

We printed another augmented reality image on Tuesday, and the difference between the two projects has been like moving from black and white silent film to colour television. Read more

Augmented reality may no longer be the science fiction concept it was even just a few years ago – the Financial Times tried its hands at using augmented reality for one of its features last year – but it is certainly still a long way from being a part of everyday life.

That will all change within the next five years, according to Hon Hsiao-Wuen, managing director of Microsoft Research Asia, the company’s Beijing-based fundamental research lab. “My prediction is that in five years any object you meet in the real world that matters to you, you can go onto the cloud to find more information about,” Mr Hon said. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Augmented reality comes to the FT

Today’s edition of the Financial Times features an experiment with an emerging technology which is already winning over geeks and marketeers alike: augmented reality. Read more