The role of hand tracking in the future of AR

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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
41 + 9
Augmented reality (AR) is a swiftly developing set of technologies that integrates digital information with a real environment. This information can take the form of text, video, 3D models, audio, or haptics. These technologies have allowed the creation of new applications, use cases, and hardware devices that have caused the industry to become one of the most anticipated future technology areas. The technologies that allow the development of the industry have been decades in development but have seen wide-scale commercial applications only in the past few years through applications like Pokémon Go, or industrial devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens 2. The trend behind the advancement of AR lies within the virtual becoming more interconnected with the real and human biology connecting with technology. In this thesis, I decided to dive into one of the technologies enabling this shift: hand tracking – a set of technologies that have been developed to virtualize the state and orientation of the user’s hands using computer vision or inertial motion capturing gloves – and assess its role in the future of AR. The fundamental value of the technology lies in its potential of virtualizing one of the input systems of the human in the real world – the hands – into the digital, causing the potential of the technology being very significant in future electronics devices. The thesis is being motivated by a deep interest in the technologies allowing this shift to happen, and to be aware of the realities of the competitive dynamics on which the industry currently lies on. The goal of this thesis is to first find a suitable method of conducting the study of future technology in an appropriate manner, then to do a literature review into the scientific literature existing on the subject. Second, with this information, I will conduct an investigative patent database query, with the aim of finding intellectual property filed by key prospective players on the field – possibly indicating their aims to utilize the technology in the future. Third, I will do a foresight analysis into possible scenarios arising from the use of the technology in future commercial settings, trying to combine the insights gained in earlier chapters to provide a future outlook. The outlook is planned to influence decision-makers in the field of consumer electronics to be aware of the implications of hand tracking on future market trends – and to prepare for the possibility of the technology being in limited hands or behind a barrier for any external innovators.
Thesis advisor
Bragge, Johanna
hand tracking, augmented reality, future, virtual reality
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