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Using Augmented Reality to Reduce Infrastructure Footprint

The latest technological progress in the area of Augmented Reality (AR) inspired this idea. The idea may not be achievable in the near future or practical for that matter and it doesn't apply to the City of Calgary only.

 

Augmented reality allows overlaying computer graphics and annotations on the real world. Right now, "smart" glasses equipped with AR technology provides this experience. The technology has been used in various applications and mostly in the business world where employees, through AR glasses, are provided with instructions and graphics overlaid on the real world to guide them on how to perform certain tasks. It has been also tested in crime scene investigation, complex model visualization, oil & gas operations, and many other areas.

 

What if AR technology can be deployed in urban development as well? imagine if road surface markings, road signage, and traffic lights could be viewed with crystal clear computer graphics through your smart eyeglasses? When you take off your glasses, you don't actually see anything in the real world but when you put the glasses on, all sorts of computer graphics and annotations overlay the real world to guide you through your driving experience. This is particularly useful in hazardous driving conditions like in the winter when road markings are not easily observable. Beyond the better and safer driving experience, city budgets do not need to account for such expenditures and ongoing costs to maintain a variety of road signs, traffic lights, road markings, etc.

 

Take the example of updating max speed limits throughout the city or changing the appearance of certain road signs. With AR, this is easily achieved by changing the algorithm powering the AR glasses whereas with the real world, it may take months and massive budgets to implement such plans and policies.

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Idea No. 77