Augmented Reality; Is It All Hype and No Substance?
Imagine a world where you could try out products without visiting the actual store or having them shipped to you. You could feel them, try them on and even smell them. While it might seem like a hair brained idea, it is actually possible. Augmented Reality development has made this a reality.
So what is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality, or simply AR, is a technology that overlays a virtual world on top of a real-world environment. This is achieved by the use of devices such as smart phones and tablets. What this means is that you get to view the real world in a somewhat enhanced way.
How practical is it?
Whether or not this technology is practical, is a matter of conjecture. The naysayers are touting the fact that AR applications are resource intensive and cannot be supported by most devices. Nevertheless, with the increasing power and functionality of smart phones, AR enthusiasts are awash with optimism. Developers are churning out cool and sometimes useful applications by the day. These applications include mixed reality video games, medical applications and advertising apps. With the industry still in its infancy, the possibilities are seemingly endless. This article will explore some of the ways AR is being used in real world applications today.
How is AR being Used?
• Point Of Sale Applications
AR can be deployed at the point of sale to give the shopper a feel of the product before they make a purchase. For example, Lego came up with very creative in store kiosks where buyers could hop in to see the virtual model of the actual product by holding the box up to a camera.
• Product Demonstrations
The technology can be used to implement try before you buy services. A case in point is Knauf Insulation. They used AR to showcase their products in use, in real world situations. This is a very cost effective way of giving demos for products. We are bound to see more of this in the future as the uptake of the technology widens.
AR search is an interesting concept, to say the least. Picture this; you are walking down a street and by looking at the surroundings through your phone’s camera lens, you can actually access information about everything you see in real time. Such information could include names of buildings, adverts or signs. Yelp and AcrossAir use this augmented reality mechanism to provide their users with an overlay of virtual information about their real world experiences.
Imagine having a brochure that you could actually interact with. Wouldn’t you be more likely to go over it? Well, Citroen has actually experimented with this. They successfully used AR on brochures for the C3 Picasso launch.
While this list is not exhaustive, it just goes to show the potential of Augmented Reality application development and the kind of impact it is bound to have on how we view the world. Clearly, behind all the hype surrounding AR there is some substance and we are bound to see more of it in the near future.