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Seven ways Pokémon Go could change your life (even if you never play it)

You probably know all about Pokémon Go by now. How a game launched only six weeks ago has already made its creators $200 million (£152 million) and been downloaded over 100 million times.

You've probably heard of people quitting their jobs to become Pokémon Go Trainers, of criminals being caught by police using the game, and of Olympic athletes in Rio racking up huge data roaming bills because they couldn’t stop playing.

But did you know that Pokémon Go is the first mass adoption of a technology called “Augmented Reality” and that Augmented Reality is likely to fundamentally affect your life within the next few years?

Here's how:

  • 1. It could increase your odds of having a successful surgery.

Augmented Reality enables surgeons to superimpose a patient’s MRI scan or X-Ray on the patient’s body. Imagine how much more precise the surgeon could then be.

  • 2. It could make it easier to choose the right sofa for your living room.
Desk and chair combinations could be tested before going to the shops.

Using Augmented Reality you can see what a new sofa will actually look like in your home. You don’t even need a tape measure to check it’ll fit.

  • 3. It could save you from costly builders’ blunders.
The technology could replace the humble tape measure.

With Augmented Reality, builders will be able to keep blueprints in sight, making it harder (but sadly still not impossible) for them to get things wrong.

  • 4. It could make you seem smarter.
The technology operates through an elaborate headset, as worn by Maximilian Doelle of innovation studio Kazendi, or a more everyday smartphone.

Imagine wanting to impress an out of town mate or a new date. With Augmented Reality, you could see nuggets about the tourist attraction before you, without needing a history book or a tour guide. (Your date or mate would of course have to be ignorant of the technology if you wanted to properly impress).

  • 5. It could help you drive more safely.

Augmented Reality allows you to see directions and traffic information right in front of your eyes. You may not need to look down at your Sat Nav in the future. (Although in the future you may well not be driving at all, given projections about driverless cars).

  • 6. It could make you rich.
The technology can supply interactive information on major brands.

Very rich. Goldman Sachs estimates the Augmented Reality Sector will be worth $36 billion (£27 billion) by 2025. And the British Augmented Reality start-up Blippar secured £76 million of investment, making it one of the best-funded tech start-ups in UK history.

  • 7. But it could also overwhelm and invade.

A world augmented by others means a world in which others determine what it is we see. If you’re not sure why this could be problematic check out this short film by Keiichi Matsuda.

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