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The Augmented and Virtual Reality markets have long been specialized industries, but that is expected to change by 2022, according to BIS Research, a market research and advisory group.

The AR market, in particular, is poised for a boom in the next six years with revenues of over $161 billion expected, a compound annual growth rate of 85.4 percent. The VR market, meanwhile, will grow to a $17 billion industry by 2022, a 44.5 percent CAGR.

“From the research, it is clear that Augmented Reality is about to become the more prominent product of the two,” the BIS report said.

“AR devices are essentially smart glasses, and the target demographic for smart glasses includes not only the average high-tech enthusiast but businesses and industrial clients as well. Similar to smartphones, smart glasses are intended to run applications designed to incorporate the advantages of the gadget, meaning that an abundance of features are available for the user’s convenience, including a camera, a phone, GPS navigation with map display, graphical display, speaker, scheduler, barcode scanner, and many more, all displayed in high-definition in front of the user’s eyes, keeping the hands free.”

Vuzix Corp., which manufactures and sells eyewear technology, began shipping Design Validation Test versions of its next-generation smart glasses, the M300, just yesterday. These were shipped to select enterprise customers and developers.

Semiconductor giant Intel Corp. invested $24.8 million in Vuzix last year and this year entered into a partnership with Microsoft Corp. to bring Virtual Reality into the mainstream. Currently, VR headsets require high-end computers with expensive graphic cards, which most people don’t possess. The goal of the partnership is to make these devices accessible to a wider range of customers.

Microsoft recently introduced its HoloLens, the first fully self-contained holographic computer that enables customers to interact with high-definition holograms. Home improvement center Lowe’s is expanding its pilot program to allow its customers to use the HoloLens technology to virtually design kitchens.

Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset device, which is designed for gaming, creates a virtual 3D space.

Another social media app, Snapchat, announced earlier this week that it’s introducing smart glasses capable of sharing videos.

For a fun look at VR technology in gaming, head over to our Photos of the Day

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