In a world where technology continues to transform how we perceive the world and what we’re able to do within it, it is not surprising that a suite of technologies dedicated literally to this concept are emerging.
Most are familiar with the advances currently happening in virtual reality, with fully-functional and immersive experiences now available for less than most home computers cost 20 years ago. However, there is a bridge between standard real-life and virtual reality. Its name? Augmented reality.
But what is augmented reality, how does it work and how are people using it? Below, we’ll peek into the world of AR.
What Is Augmented Reality?
Whereas virtual reality creates experiences that are entirely different when compared to your surroundings, augmented reality instead distorts your real world surroundings to display different information, data or perceptions.
This may include sounds, image overlays, animated graphics, and other forms of multimedia displayed over real-world factors. Typically, AR is accessible via smart phones and other mobile devices. One notable early experiment with AR was Google Glass, which received much hype but ran into issues regarding privacy concerns.
Augmented Reality in Retail
Perhaps one of the most practical solutions where AR development is growing is in the world of retail. The shopping experience can sometimes be a confusing one, with concerns over prices, quality and availability.
Select augmented reality retail solutions are emerging to make these processes simpler. Imagine going to the grocery store and being able to see actual relevant pricing (such as price per ounce or unit) for every item within a given category, or browse nutritional facts for multiple options without ever having to pick up a box.
There are also developments under way to create AR experiences that alert shoppers to items that are on sale, as well as items for which coupons are currently available.
Augmented Reality in Education
For conveying information – particularly supplemental information – in the classroom, augmented reality can be quite helpful. Especially for more complex subjects, the use of AR alongside in-person instruction can allow for the use of 3D models, overlays and other pieces of information that help students visualize difficult to explain concepts.
This can also allow for quicker absorption of concepts than in traditional classroom settings, making the use of AR in education a valued and emerging trend. Other uses, such as for job training, are equally important contributions that AR can make to education at-large.
To learn more about education-related augmented reality possibilities, click here.
Augmented Reality in Other Applications
Where else is AR being used or expecting to make a splash in the near future? As it turns out, just about everywhere!
As mentioned prior, the use of AR in marketing will have untold potential for customers and businesses alike.
For individuals on vacation or touring select areas, AR can help provide valuable information and recommendations to those who use it. For people visiting foreign countries, AR may even be able to translate text and audio into the user’s native language.
AR in gaming is also increasingly becoming common, allowing for fully-immersive 3D gaming solutions that bridge the gap between real life and virtual reality.
These applications for AR are just a few of the many possibilities that the technology can provide. As more people seek to augment or alter their surroundings for the better, the use of AR to facilitate this demand will continue to emerge accordingly.