Whenever a new technology is bursting into the mainstream, you can usually count on lawmakers to do one of three things; ignore it entirely and allow it to grow and mutate unchecked, take a staunch approach to legislating it that makes innovation difficult, or discuss the inherent challenges realistically and work from there. When it comes to augmented reality, numerous troubles with Pokemon GO have made the technology's potential very clear, both for trouble, and for good. Senator John Thune of South Dakota, acting as chairman of the Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, & Transportation, called a special hearing of the committee and called in a few augmented reality experts from different parts of the industry to help the committee see what they were working with and make clear, educated decisions.
Some of the main AR concerns to be discussed at the meeting were data security and physical safety, so the committee called in a very specific panel of experts. Along with Niantic CEO John Hanke, the face behind the Pocket Monster-themed app that essentially brought AR into the public eye and then suffered scrutiny over the handling of user data, Thune and company called in Stanley Pierre-Louis, a general counsel for the Entertainment Software Association, as well as the University of Washington's Assistant Professor of Law, Ryan Calo, and Gartner Research Vice President Brian Blau. Before the hearing, some members of the committee saw a demo of an AR helmet prototype known as the DAQRI Smart Helmet, and an automobile heads-up display. At the meeting, demos included Ingress, Pokemon GO, the DAQRI Smart Helmet, and a Microsoft HoloLens demo developed by the US Military.
Along with concerns, the hearing centered around AR's potential in the work force, in education, and in daily life. Ultimately, no major decisions were made at the hearing, but Thune felt that he had accomplished what he set out to do by calling the hearing in the first place; members of the committee were now armed with important knowledge about the fledgling AR industry that would affect future lawmaking decisions as the technology became more advanced and ubiquitous.