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Some time ago, I wrote a post about the distinction between the various Technologies around visual experiences. I talked about Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Google Glass and what the technologies are and what not.

Some weeks ago I listened to an inspiring speech of Karim Habib, Chief Designer of BMW, during our SAP Design Talks. He talked about BMWs history of design and their future way forward in regards to engineering and design.

As I like motorcycles a lot, I am following the latest innovations in these areas. You may have seen my blog about the printed motorcycled called Lightrider kicked off by APWorks an Airbus Company. This blog was about additive manufacturing and the possibilities in that area.

In this blog I want to talk about the possibilities of Augmented Reality and the new possibilities of design which are revealed by this technology.

Every Morning I have the choice of two cars I can pick from bringing me to the office. One is a one year old VW Sharan and the other one is a 21 year old Volvo Station Wagon. The main thing you have to deal when you are within a car visually is the dashboard. And from a visual perspective these two cars cannot be more different. We have the boxy – straight design of the Volvo with literally no Displays in it compared to the Sharan with a dashboard which has a fluent design with several LCD displays and a touchscreen including Android Auto integration.

But one thing remains the same in both. All information is displayed near or within the dashboard.

The position of the screens within the dashboard or instrument cluster distract the driver from the view on road. Some car brands overcome these distraction by offering Head Up Display (HUD) as fighter pilots use in the cockpit.

But what about motorcycles. They have a very small instrument cluster or dashboard if any. But the driver needs information about his driving as well. And the look onto the handling bar distract even more than the look onto a dashboard in a car.

So, what to do? What is the solution to the limited space of a motorcycle?

Right. Augmented reality comes into the game.
BMW kicked off their Vision next 100 theme some months ago in reminiscence of their hundred year history. You can watch the video here

The movie over exaggerated a bit when it comes to feasibility within the next 10-15 years, but the vision is clear!

Read  about BMW vision about the Data Glasses :

Data glasses instead of a helmet

With the BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT 100, rider and motorcycle are engaged in a direct exchange. This takes place via the visor, a pair of data glasses comprising the entire field of view with an added wind protection function. The visor enables the motorcycle to stay fully up to date on the route and to project situationally relevant data directly into the rider's field of view. If the rider looks straight ahead, no data is displayed, so as not to impinge on the riding experience. Only when action is required – for instance in case of hazards – or if the rider requests information, does the visor become active. In this case, the symbol of the digital companion appears in the lower third of the glasses: an upturned triangle forming two horizontal lines. The display is similar to that in an aircraft cockpit. It shows the current angle of lean and the ideal line. If there is any deviation, the rider can correct this. If the rider fails to react or does so too late, the motorcycle corrects itself. Looking up will have a rearview mirror function. If the rider lowers his gaze a little below the normal viewpoint, a menu opens where he can trigger each function using finger gesture control. If he lowers his gaze even more, the map view opens, showing the rider his selected route.”

Read the full article here

This is a nice example of the journey AR will do in the next years. The use cases are clear and the protagonists in this field are current brands like BMW pushing the borders out a bit out more every day. Tim Cook of Apple mentioned at a tech conference in Utah that AR will be an integral part of our daily lives.

Being sure that these two brands are not alone in their AR activities, there will be more to come in the next years. The use cases will evolve into both consumer spaces and business spaces. Connected scenarios are crucial to leverage the full potential of visualized data.

I am curious and I will watch the progress of this technology closely.