I woke up one morning last week to find my wife capturing a Squirtle in the corner of the room. Not the real room, of course: just the augmented reality version that exists in Pokémon Go.
The idea of augmented reality, of using computers to superimpose extra information relevant to the real world, has existed for decades. William Gibson’s Neuromancer is famous for not only introducing the concept, and some of its uses, but also for coining the term “cyber.” Right now, augmented reality is on the rise. Retailers are using it to allow you to see their products in place in your home before you buy them, simply by holding up a smartphone running their app. The Eurofighter Typhoon has a heads-up display that gives the pilot real-time information, no matter where they are looking at the time. This is for all the world like something from Star Wars. With the technology maturing, its range of functions means that it can make its way into the home, not just into a few billion dollars’ worth of high-spec warplane.