Augmented Reality: Panacea or Pandora's Box?

Augmented Reality: Panacea or Pandora's Box?

Victoria L. Claypoole (Design Interactive, Inc., USA), Clay D. Killingsworth (Design Interactive, Inc., USA), Catherine A. Hodges (Design Interactive, Inc., USA), Hannah K. Nye (Design Interactive, Inc., USA), Larry A. Moralez (Design Interactive, Inc., USA), Ernesto Ruiz (Design Interactive, Inc., USA) and Kay M. Stanney (Design Interactive, Inc., USA)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 31
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-6453-0.ch004
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Abstract

Augmented reality technology holds great promise for extending and enhancing users' capabilities across numerous applications in both work and personal life. It would be easy to see AR, then, as a panacea, but thoughtful design is required if the benefits are to be realized without also realizing the nascent technology's great potential for harm. Current applications in commercial, military, and education and training settings are herein reviewed, along with consideration of potential future directions. This chapter also identifies hazards posed by poor design or haphazard application and provides recommendations and best practices for those engaged in the design of AR that seek to maximize the human utility of this rapidly maturing technology.
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Background

Augmented reality is an emerging immersive technology that allows people to view digital content superimposed on the physical world (Cabero & Barroso, 2016). In contrast to virtual reality (VR), which creates a self-contained world via which users are insulated from the real world, AR augments perception of the real world through digital, multisensory overlays (Milgram & Kishino, 1994). The rise of enterprise and consumer AR is as exciting as it is inevitable, and even now, in its early stages of adoption, AR has made a substantial impact in industrial, retail, and training sectors (Akçayır & Akçayır, 2017; Flavián et al., 2019). The applications are potentially limitless; for example, home mechanics may “see” as experts do, diagnosing and repairing complex automotive problems despite lacking experience. One can imagine a future in which every item purchased, and every trip taken are accompanied and guided by an augmented avatar. These are just a couple of the endless possibilities. The promise and utility of AR across a variety of applications is readily apparent, yet those adopting AR technology have an obligation to do so in a manner that maximizes benefits while minimizing risks and harm. The next section provides an overview of current AR applications in three main areas: commercial applications, education and training, and military uses, and considers challenges and complications that may lie ahead.

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