The United States Senate Explores Augmented Reality

On November 16th, DAQRI Founder and CEO Brian Mullins spoke to the Senate Commerce Committee about the benefits and applications of augmented reality technologies. The hearing entitled “Exploring Augmented Reality” took place in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253 and also included panelists: John Hanke (Niantic Chief Executive — Developer of Pokemon Go), Stanley Pierre-Louis, (General Counsel for the Entertainment Software Association), Brian Blau (Gartner Research Vice President), and Ryan Calo (Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington).

Going into the hearing, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) had this to say on the subject, “Stretching far beyond entertainment, augmented reality is starting to be used today for transportation safety, scientific research, communication, and other real-world tasks. Expert witnesses testifying at the first congressional hearing on augmented reality will introduce to the committee the potential applications and policy considerations of this rapidly-developing technology.”

The testimony of Brian Mullins focused on the impact AR will have on all aspects of life.

While games like Pokemon Go may shine a light on augmented reality, the DAQRI belief is in the capacity for AR to empower people throughout their lives. With AR, people are able to overlay information onto the real world and rapidly transfer knowledge to enable decision-making. The use of AR for enterprise applications also reduces human errors, increases efficiency, and contributes to significant improvements in worker safety. This is an unprecedented moment to enhance the American worker.

Just as mobile phones and personal computers started in the workplace, at DAQRI, we’ve seen that AR is developing across enterprise and will soon transition more widely to consumers. In fact, it’s already happening with the DAQRI Automotive Head-Up Display (HUD) technology. DAQRI AR is already in hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road today, providing drivers with critical information, easily viewed on their windscreen, reducing distraction, and helping them to make quicker decisions. On the precipice of intelligent and even self-driving cars, the delivery of informed guidance will be even more important.

AR has already started making its impact at work, shifted to the road, and will continue to carry out into all aspects of life, allowing people to adapt to changes in technology as quickly as computers, redefining what is humanly possible.

Following the testimony, Senators on the committee took time to address the concerns of their constituency with members of the panel.

Two questions initially posed to Brian Mullins centered around driver safety in rural areas (Senator Daines — Montana) and the direct impact of this technology on job creation (Senator Wicker — Mississippi).

Regarding rural driving, Mullins said, “Driver safety is an excellent application for augmented reality and vehicles, both in newer vehicles and with the option to easily upgrade through aftermarket products. With automated driver systems and sensors, there is a wealth of information to understand some of the problems described.” He continued, “By tapping into these sensors, it can detect an obstruction and visually alert the driver.”

On the subject of jobs, this is some of what Mullins had to say, “DAQRI Smart Helmet™ is designed to create jobs and empower workers. With something we call knowledge transfer, very complex activities and tasks can be broken down and shown visually, so that they’re much easier to comprehend. Workers can put on a device like DAQRI Smart Helmet™ and be able to perform a job that they don’t have any prior experience with. You can take a worker who may have spent a substantial amount of time in a career that may not be relevant anymore, and give them the opportunity to retrain and re-enter the workforce in a dramatically shorter period of time. I think augmented reality has a huge opportunity to help us not just create new jobs, but reshape the workforce.”

Over the course of the ninety minute conversation between panelists and Senators, only the tip of the iceberg was revealed. Much like when the Senate Commerce Committee convened on the Industrial Internet of Things, this preliminary exploration discussing the future impact of augmented reality shows its importance moving forward and the many ways in which it will impact our lives.

To view the session in its entirety, visit: http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings?ID=9C42F271-98FE-4146-ADD9-8909E5C2020D

ABOUT DAQRI

DAQRI is a leading technology and enterprise augmented reality (AR) company with a vision to bring AR everywhere. The company’s flagship product, DAQRI Smart Helmet™, improves safety and efficiency for industrial workers. DAQRI was founded in 2010 by Brian Mullins, and is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in the UK, Ireland and Austria. To learn more, please visit www.daqri.com.