VR and AR: the Future of Design

How Pókemon Go Has Excited the Design Community

The new, viral, ‘eye to screen’ magnet Pókemon Go has caught the design community in a whirlwind. Some have been working like crazy to build the next piece of hardware to accompany you and your pocket monsters. The company TRNDlabs has developed a miniature drone that can fly to dangerous areas, keeping you safe. The design that has really captured our attention though is a revolutionary sneaker by Vixole. As you wander around, these shoes can be programmed to vibrate when you are near a Pókemon and show a moving version of the Pókemon you're capturing. Quite an upgrade from the light up sneakers you wore as a kid.

While some have been losing it for the next capturing companion, there are those that have been even more excited about the future the game has been hinting at: a future of designing—in real time—in three dimensions. We can already see things like this in our day-to-day lives, like 3D printing software and the even more tangible, Lix pen. This pen offers the ability to literally draw in 3D. While this pen shows some of the potential 3D printing has to offer, it doesn’t exactly paint a sturdy picture.

Virtual reality has been pretty instrumental in the world of gaming, but what exactly has it done for the world of design? Google’s Tilt Brush, is a pretty amazing piece of equipment. The Tilt Brush allows you to paint an entire world in three dimensions. Being able to paint in three dimensions, in real time, is a pretty amazing accomplishment, but the Tilt Brush is missing one key ingredient for designers; it’s lacking real world compatibility. As a designer you want to be connected to the real world and real, tangible things as you make your next great design masterpiece. This is where augmented reality really stands out.

Augmented reality, allows designers to exist in the same space as there design while being able to digitally add to it. While Google Glass failed in some ways, it paved the way for the future of augmented reality. As you laughed at how silly they looked, Google Glass was building the next step in augmented reality. With hands free video, and small amounts augmented virtual space, Google Glass may have been a little ahead if it’s time. It also led to the most versatile augmented reality headset for designers: the HoloLens by Microsoft. This augmented reality headset allows for designers to make real world decisions based on both reality and high definition holograms that can be moved around, scaled, and duplicated with the tips of your fingers. While using this device, an architect can zoom into his design and exist in the physical space he designed, and change details in split seconds as he moves through the building. Just check out this video of Greg Lynn doing just that. An augmented reality headset might just be a staple in the future of design.

The future of an augmented reality is, well, very real, and every day we make steps toward a future where we can design in real time, in three dimensions. So at the end of this post, Pókemon Go might seem like a bit of a let down—especially if you’ve been going to the links—but it’s still the first application of augmented reality on a mass scale, which is always a good step for us dreaming designers.

If you want to check out what life might be like completely surrounded by augmented reality, skim through this video here.