Augmented Reality needs to jump the shark

Augmented Reality is still the hot new technology which is getting a lot of people excited when it comes to smartphone applications, and there are lots of cool ways it is increasingly being used.

But the best applications are those which actually have a purpose – and for that to happen more often, Augmented Reality has to jump the shark, and soon. (Jumping the Shark defined).

Like most people, I was amazed when I first saw videos of augmented reality apps (and called Wikitude the best app for the G1). And I’ve been similarly impressed with a lot of cool examples ever since then.

But the best applications I’ve seen which I’d actually keep using? How about the US post service augmented reality app for sizing up the boxes I need for posting large items? That’s not to say they can’t also be beautiful, or location based etc – for instance, Museum of London’s AR App.

But these are few and far between – the majority of discussion about augmented reality at the moment seems to be focusing on the technology as the key point, rather than how it can be used.

How to make augmented reality work:

It’s about 18 months since Wikitude first came on the scene – still a relatively short time for new technology, but it’s about time we start taking a mature look at Augmented Reality projects and applications. And we need to raise the bar on what is deserving of our attention. Platforms like Layar allow any developer to create their own augmented reality layer, so just using AR isn’t impressive – doing something really useful or cool is!


  1. I think there's a common conception that AR has to “make it's own place”, or as Mike Elgan put it “A solution in search of a problem”. I see it differently, however. It's the next logical step in of our increasingly digitized lives.

    Sometimes, it will not be as “gee, whiz”, as others. the NFL has been augmenteing their 'first down' lines on tv for years now.

    However, I do agree that AR has to find it's 'killer app'..the one that can't be done by 'traditional' means, but I don't think that time is far off, either.
    There are new apps, (seemingly everyday), and more and more big names getting into the game, as well as individual entrepreneurs, so I think the AR philosophy will only grow, from here on out.

  2. Your title doesn't make sense. jump the shark is a negative term. Are you suggesting that AR should peak in it popularity and then fade into obscurity as soon as possible?

  3. Sorry, should have clarified more, but in terms of Jumping The Shark, I think augmentedc reality needs to peak in terms of it being the cool new thing and the main focus on a number of applications and development, and become what it really is – a useful tool in context.

  4. Hi – thanks for the comment. I definitely agree that the time is coming when more useful applications of augmented reality will become the norm, and we'll stop being amazed at someone using AR for things which can be done effectively in other ways, or things people don't actually want or need…


  1. […] reality – there’s growing buzz that while it’s definitely cool, augmented reality hasn’t (and might never) find a useful purpose. To avoid jumping the shark, it needs to go from […]