Joy of Medina County Magazine | March 2020
FROM A TECHNICAL MIND
MIRTH AND JOY
Removing Technological Barriers
by Jerry King
by Austin Steger Technology often changes in fast and unpredictable ways. Innovations in technology have advanced exponentially. Over the last 20 years, things like processing power, storage space, battery life, and camera quality have drastically improved. However, it seems innovation is slowing down or at least becoming more predictable as these changes have an observable pattern. The biggest innovation for tech in the coming years likely will be within virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, which are immersive technologies designed to make the user experience visual and auditory simulations. VR is a type of digital environment, often generated by a computer or mobile device like a phone or tablet, and experienced by the user via a VR headset. AR is usually experienced on a phone screen or through a camera, where objects are superimposed onto the real world. There also is a mixed reality, a combination of AR and VR, where virtual objects are placed in a real-world environment and can be interacted with in ways that resemble real objects. The gaming and entertainment industries were some of the first to adopt these technologies in such applications as the game Pokemon Go and Snapchat. These technologies also are gaining popularity in many areas including, but not limited to, the military, engineering, construction, health care, education, and business industries. For example, some surgeons are training for difficult surgeries using VR to familiarize themselves with medical procedures without the risk of working on a live person. These innovations seem to have a clear goal in mind, which becomes increasingly apparent the more you use it: to make users forget they are interacting with technology in the first place. By fully immersing the users in the experience, they forget the technology is there at all. This removes a barrier that may have created confusion, frustration and apathy toward learning how to use a new device, program or skill. As these technologies improve and more devices adopt these innovations, it will become increasingly less obvious that you are interfacing through a computer, thereby creating a fully seamless, immersive and enjoyable experience with technology. Austin Steger is a local computer and mobile electronics technician and technical communicator. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 330952-1225.