Is AR/VR The New Reality?
The Technical Expert Solution for IP Teams
Augmented and Virtual Reality is literally changing how we see the world around us. It wasn’t long ago that everyone viewed AR/VR as nothing more than science fiction. Now, it has become a ubiquitous part of people’s life.
AR is using the world around us while digitally superimposing information on it. This could be a Snapchat filter that overlays dog features on the users face or even using a computer during neurosurgery to highlight the region of the patient’s brain needing attention. It is the concept of using the real world and enhancing it through a technological medium.
VR is creating an entirely new world where users can digitally immerse themselves. Usually, this involves a headset that covers the eyes and allows the user to see a different reality in which they can explore. It is intended to make the user feel like they are experiencing the world they are in. Examples would be a car game that makes the user feel like they are actually driving, or a battlefield simulation that allows a soldier to train as if they are in a life-threatening environment.
Early applications were in military trainings with the intention to take away the dangerous risk factors. Through both augmented and virtual reality, the military found the ability to help soldiers experience land, aerial, and aquatic simulations in safer environments. Another big application is found in the gaming industry. AR and VR found popularity after the release of the Oculus Rift VR headset and the mobile application, Pokémon Go. Other applied fields include: healthcare, education, marketing, and communication.
The development of AR/VR has shifted the way people carry out their lives. The biggest shift was during the COVID-19 pandemic when there was a 50% increase in AR/VR purchases around the world. Recent studies show 1 in 4 Americans use AR/VR at least once a month and 1 in 2 Americans are familiar with it. With more consumers, AR/VR has given many businesses the mind to invest in similar markets. As of now, the United States and China are the top two countries investing over $5 billion in AR/VR technology. Estimates show that in the gaming industry alone, there will be a steep increase in revenue over the next couple of years, from $400 million in 2017 to $2.4 billion in 2024. Even schools started using extended reality, making learning more interactive and interesting for students.
With popularity increasing, we also find a surge in AR/VR intellectual property. Each year we see more patents, copyrights, and trademarks filed toward AR/VR technology. In 2021 there were over 10,000 AR/VR issued patents around the world. Companies even made filing patents a way to market their products in development. For example, through Apple’s recent patent filing history, people have gotten a glimpse of their upcoming Apple Glasses set to be released in 2023. Now, there is much anticipation for the product and many news articles can be found writing about Apple’s next big thing. A decade ago, AR/VR might have only been used for government or gaming purposes, but now it has become one of the fastest growing markets to date. Businesses now see the value in extended reality, and many view it as the future and the norm for the next generation.