The newest toy for dogs is a high-tech augmented reality headset.

The googles, recently displayed by the US Army, are designed to allow the dog handlers to give the animal signals and directions safely out of harm’s way if they are scouting for hazardous materials. The technology is made by Command Sight and managed by the US Army Research Laboratory.

With AR providing many benefits for hands-free work for humans, augmented reality headsets for dogs and other animals are a new and beneficial application of the immersive technology. Although the current technology is wired, it showcases the future applications for augmented reality headsets.

AR/VR technologies are one key area of IDTechEx’s research, with forecasts of the market growing to over $20-billion for AR headsets alone.

IDTechEx has two reports on the AR/VR and MR market: Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality 2020-2030 and Optics and Displays in AR, VR and MR 2020-2021.

What is augmented reality/mixed reality?

Different companies have different naming classifications for their products. Some call their products mixed reality or merged reality, even though the superimposed images do not interact spatially with the real world; some replace augmented with applied reality. Some companies call their product augmented reality when the product has an opaque video display and, therefore, does not ‘augment’ the real world.

According to IDTechEx, there are typically two terms for spatial reality devices where the user can see the real world:

* Augmented reality (AR). These devices overlay digital content on top of the real world.

* Mixed reality (MR). These devices add superimposed digital content that superficially interacts with the environment in real-time.

Different headsets fulfill different requirements, but most augmented and mixed reality products currently cater to an enterprise audience over a consumer market. However, this will change in the future. With improvements in technology and design, augmented reality and mixed reality will continue to grow to a market of over $20-billion by 2030.

Covid has put the spotlight on this hands-free, interactive technology, and it is unlikely that this focus will move for some time. There will be a need for this technology in many new use cases, which previously did not require hands-free or remote capabilities.