What it is: To see Apple’s future augmented reality plans, just look at what Metaio has done in the past.
Apple has acquired several augmented reality companies in the past year including a German company called Metaio. If you want to see what Apple plans for augmented reality, it’s simple enough to see what Metaio was working on before Apple acquired them.
In the above video, you can see how Metaio was working with Audi to eliminate user manuals. Back in the early days of PCs, you couldn’t use a computer without taking a training class or reading a thick and often confusing user manual. Then smartphones and tablets arrived, making training classes and user manuals largely irrelevant, especially since most people never bothered reading them in the first place.
Even software came with this user manuals that rarely made learning easy. Today, most software relies on help systems that are still not as helpful as you might expect or wish. As a general rule, if you need a user manual or help system, the product may not be as intuitive to use as people might expect.
What Metaio was working on with Audi was eliminating the need for car manuals that most people shove in a glove compartment and completely forget about. Instead, Metaio was working on an augmented reality app that would let you aim your smartphone at any part of the car and augmented reality would appear to provide guidance. If you wanted to know where to fill a car with coolant, just aim your smartphone at the engine and the augmented reality app would display an arrow to show you the coolant tank where you can pour in the coolant.
It’s a simple idea, but likely far more useful than a paper manual that’s harder to use. Unlike a paper manual, Metaio’s app could be updated so it’s always current, which is something paper manuals could never do.
Metaio’s augmented reality app eliminates paper manuals for cars, which also means it could be extremely useful for commercial and military use. Already commercial airlines are replacing bulky paper manuals with tablets that are more convenient to use, more current, and lighter. Military equipment needs manuals to teach soldiers how to use, clean, and repair equipment. Eliminate paper manuals and replace them with augmented reality apps, and you’ll have more current information that’s easier to access.
The era of bulky paper manuals is over. Metaio’s work on augmented reality already demonstrated the clear possibility of eliminating paper manuals. When Apple refines Metaio’s work and releases their own augmented reality app, you can bet the augmented reality world will change how people live and work forever more.
Augmented reality is coming and its future is clear by simply studying the past work of Metaio. To read more about Metaio’s work with augmented reality, click here.