In a world where new technological innovations are emerging daily, it’s tough not to get left behind. If you have no idea what augmented reality is, or maybe you need a little clarification, fear not friend – we have your back!
What exactly is augmented reality?
Augmented reality, or AR, is the process of using technology to superimpose computer-generated information into the real world, whereby creating a mixed reality. This information can be visual (images), auditory (sounds), haptic (3D touch – think vibrations), somatosensory (sensations – like giving goosebumps), and even olfactory (smells.) In essence, AR adds to the real world.
This is not to be confused with virtual reality, or VR, which uses technology to create artificial immersive environments. VR replaces the real world.
Where have we seen it before?
We can experience augmented reality with hardware such as specialized headsets, glasses, tablets, and even smartphones. Since smartphones are more accessible, we have most likely seen AR in action through popular apps like ‘Pokémon Go’ and ‘IKEA Place’.
‘Pokémon Go’ was hugely popular a few years ago, causing groups of game players to roam around parks, malls, and streets to try and ‘catch them all’. The app uses the mobile phone’s GPS signal to find and catch the virtual Pokémon creatures hiding in the real world.
The ‘IKEA place’ app, on the other hand, makes online furniture shopping a breeze. By superimposing 3D models over a scanned area, this app allows buyers to test how a potential item may fit in our homes and with our aesthetics.
Social platform apps are also integrating augmented reality into their services to create more interactive experiences. From experimenting with fun filters like puppy dogs and flower wreaths to games that use facial expressions and movement to compete with friends; these AR offerings are helping the billions of users stay active on these platforms.
Present and future applications
Although it’s been used for some fun and efficient apps, augmented reality has the potential to offer so much value to a variety of industries. A few of these industries and their innovations include:
Manufacture – factories are increasing efficiency in many ways from having product delivery information on-hand to diagnosing broken down machinery quickly.
Education – schools are enriching learning content for their students by making modules more engaging and interactive while making the learning content easier to consume.
Design – many creatives from artists to architects can test out ideas and potential innovations while saving time and resources in the process.
Medical – hospitals can train staff to use complicated machinery, schools can support students to better understand their learning material, and even surgeons can be assisted when performing complicated surgeries.
Retail – shoppers can easily find services, compare prices, research ingredients, find deals, virtually try on products, and search for additional product information – all before making a purchase.
Public safety – when disaster strikes, those in danger can safely find directions to safe zones and seek help from police, firefighters, and medics nearby.
So now we can say that we not only have heard of augmented reality, but we know some of the ways that this amazing technology is being used in the world. If we think that the aforementioned examples of AR blew our minds, just wait till we see what else the future of AR has in store!