Gab Ibis

“Good morning. It's 7 A.M. The weather in Malibu is 72 degrees with scattered clouds. The surf conditions are fair with waist to shoulder highlines, high tide will be at 10:52 a.m.”

Photo Courtesy of CNET/Canva.

This is how JARVIS, a fictional user-interface system, updated Tony Stark, a character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, when asked about the weather updates, as well as in his everyday activities, in the movie Iron Man. 

An initialism for “Just A Rather Very Intelligent System,” this artificial intelligence (AI) was once considered to be fiction. However, recent developments in technology have allowed modern society to experience a similar companion for day-to-day use.

Apple Vision Pro, a mixed-reality headset developed by technology giant Apple, was released in February 2024 and is currently available for mass purchase.

The price of owning such a tech marvel amounts to $3,499, or nearly 200,000 pesos, which is just the base model configuration. 

This price tag for the base model could limit popular demand, especially among average consumers who may find the price too expensive.

Wearing augmented reality (AR) glasses like Apple Vision Pro is like having a personal assistant right in front of your eyes. Users would feel connected to a world of information and possibilities, with notifications appearing in their field of vision, and the ability to access and interact with digital content seamlessly.

AR has seen success in education, with over 95 percent of EU students agreeing that mobile AR applications should be used, according to a study published in the Journal of Science Education. 

Statistics by metrics website Statista also showed that the Philippines’ nascent Metaverse education sector can grow to over 10.5 million dollars, or 600 million pesos, in 2024.

However, concerns are raised about its safety, as the wearable device can decrease the focus of users, especially in public. 

University of Haifa researcher Dr. Tal Krasovsky led a study published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction (IJHCI), revealing that smart glasses hinder walking and reading texts, impacting user safety

AR, on the other hand, seems to offer benefits as well. The Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Health Research and Development in partnership with the University of the Philippines Manila (UP Manila) developed a virtual reality technology for the screening of people on the autism spectrum.

Project lead Francis Gregory Samonte explained that the “technology is user-friendly, efficient, accurate, and objective,” while also having an interface that can be easily operated and can analyze data and return results within 5-15 minutes. 

Samonte also added that the device is 12 times faster compared to the traditional screening process.

In a larger perspective, signs of the autism spectrum are apparent in one in every 100 Filipinos. Autism affects the cognitive ability of those within the spectrum, which in turn affects their everyday lives in terms of focus, mental ability, and interaction with other people.

Negative factors at bay, which can be resolved, AR is promising to people with autism by providing tailored tools and experiences. 

Although with its caveats, users can see beyond reality and access customized interventions that address their specific needs and challenges in a science-driven approach, for a mass-oriented purpose through AR.

For millions more who find it hard to integrate with society due to neurodevelopmental disorders, AR is revolutionary — enabling them to see beyond our colorful reality.