A New Experience: Augmented Reality

Let’s face it, we’ve all experienced a time when we are reading a long description but are not really absorbing any of the information. But what if there was a different way to consume the same information much easier and faster? Yup, with Augmented Reality you would be able to receive this information simply by pointing your phone at it.

Augmented Reality (AR) is an enhanced or altered form of reality where content gets added to users’ real-world views. Those Snapchat filters? Yeah, that’s Augmented Reality. Pokemon Go? Totally Augmented Reality.

Applications of AR Right Now

Transportation

If your a non-frequent flier like myself then you probably don’t look for much in airlines. Augmented reality is not only helping with many of the basics things requested by fliers like quality food, in-flight movies, etc. but also for pilots who arrive them safely to their destination. Companies like Aero Glass have created augmented reality headsets that display airports, cities, navigation points, terrain features, other aircraft, and landing approaches for pilots. These features help pilots operate their planes, even when clouds or fog reduce visibility, which keeps flights safe and on time.

However, if your like the average Canadian, you most likely are spending around 240 hrs per year driving each year. Tools like WayRay’s Navion are changing the way we drive by projecting navigation instructions onto the windshield of the car. These kinds of AR integrations also have the potential of making roads safer as Navion also introduces gesture control commands to prevent drivers from looking down at their phones to enter a route.

Retail

Many shops have integrated AR into their stores or buying process. This is because according to Shopify, 61% of consumers prefer stores that offer AR experiences — and 40% of them would pay more for your product if they have the chance to experience it through AR. While augmented reality can’t style your entire house for you, it can help you decide which furniture might look the best in your living room. For example: IKEA’s new “IKEA Place” app allows customers to preview over 2,000 pieces of virtual furniture in actual rooms within their home. Many architects and engineers who design these products are also using augmented reality to sample building materials, finishes, and layouts before committing to a direction.

Another great example of this is Sephora’s Virtual Artist app, which allows users to try a variety of eye, lip, and cheek makeup by digitally adding it to an uploaded photo rather then having to visit the store. These applications help to remove barriers for consumers and help provide a clear path to purchase.

Healthcare

Various Institutions are using AR to help teach and let medical students and doctors practice medical procedures. AR is also helping some patients with their recovery process. One company, called NuEyes, uses special AR glasses to help people with severe vision impairment. Although nothing like sight, the technology can help legally blind children see well enough to read and recognize their classmates.

There are also many other implications which help enhance and make current medical operation more accurate and efficient. Companies like google have implemented AR in things like Google Glass. In an article published on Forbes.com, J.C. Hewitt said Glass can show incoming notifications to physicians of patient conditions and could enhance the vision and perception of doctors and dentists. On top of that, it’s a vast time-saver, with physicians eliminating up to two hours of writing down their notes at the end of the day. It allows for more accuracy, because the notes are taken in real time.

How AR Works — Basics

Cameras and Sensors

IPhone X TrueDepth Camera

Processing

Projection

After capturing real-world information, the augmented reality device then uses projection to layer digital renderings or the digital content onto the scene. Currently, the projections can be easily displayed onto a smartphone screen or multiple screens within a wearable device.

The Future of AR

It is predicted that by 2025 the healthcare revenue from augmented reality will be around $5 billion and some technology insiders expect to see the most advancements of AR technology in the healthcare industry. The travel industry also has a lot to gain from the AR boom as 84% of consumers all over the world would be interested in using AR as part of their travel experiences and 42% believe that AR is the future of tourism.

The Takeaway

There truly is an unlimited potential for AR.

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