For many years, Augmented Reality (AR) has been a promising technology. From its early days when it was used to identify space debris or to overlay road names and geographic features on a landscape, AR has moved toward more mainstream use following one traditional—and one not-so-traditional—path.
The traditional path has been the familiar technology-improvement and cost-reduction curves that we’ve observed with dozens of consumer products and technologies in the past. Adoption and development of Smartphones and Smart Cars with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems are two recent examples. Category-creating early-stage products launch at relatively high cost and over time, costs are driven down and performance increases, leading to greater adoption.
The not-so-traditional path has been the struggle to find the “Killer App” that drives mass adoption and demand.
Until now, AR applications have been interesting and fun for consumers, and a number of applications have promised strong benefits. Still, widespread adoption has been waiting for …. something.
Then something arrived. Pokémon Go is an app which, by some estimates, has been downloaded more than 75 million times since it launched in July. And if the number of downloads wasn’t impressive enough, SurveyMonkey Intelligence claims it is now being played by more than 26 million Americans every day.
For the uninitiated, Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based Augmented-Reality mobile app, in which the object is to find, capture, and train virtual monsters using PokéBalls that you can earn or buy.
To play, you need a mobile device with GPS to put yourself in a location, and a high-performance MEMS gyroscope and accelerometer to track the movements and orientation of your phone in order to help you throw the PokéBalls to hit and get the monsters.
This is where ST fits in.
Our leading motion-MEMS sensors are used in a number of exceptional pre-Pokémon Go Augmented-Reality products from the top AR pioneers and we’ve specifically introduced a number of ultra-low-power and ultra-accurate sensors in the past few years anticipating the development of the AR market. While sensor accuracy is important in order to capture the monsters, our ultra-low-power technology is where ST’s sensors will keep players in the game, longer. We’re excited to see the rapid adoption of Pokémon Go and are waiting with high anticipation to see how other innovators and developers will adopt the technology.
Ten years ago, a new kind of game system changed video gaming by getting people off their couches and moving. Might Pokémon Go do the same for AR?