Like social media, augmented reality is a fairly new technology that is still being developed into tools that add some use or productivity to our lives.
At this early stage, it is often found in games, but businesses are slowly adopting the technology and experimenting with it.
If you're unaware of augmented reality, the basic definition is that it adds something to, improves, or heightens, reality.
Here's a cool augmented reality video to check out.
Have a look at these five examples of what has been achieved using this technology so far and get excited about what this could lead to in the future!
Games are a fairly common use for augmented reality, helped by the popularity of mobile-based gaming.
The following example, however, is an impressive use of the technology, combined with SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology, created by NASA.
This enables the player to use almost any surroundings as the gaming environment, and according to the 13th Lab team, “allows for a much more stable, robust and versatile user experience.” Unlike other augmented reality games, which use GPS or pre-determined markers, this new technology enables the game elements to interact with the environment more realistically.
Watch this video for a look at how the game works:
This is something I wouldn't be quick to associate with the use of augmented reality, but the Moscow Ministry of Internal Affairs has created an app and accompanying website which uses augmented reality to remind drivers and pedestrians of the danger present on Russian streets.
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The campaign is made up of QR codes placed around Moscow and other large cities in Russia, which, when scanned, show videos, photos and detailed information about traffic accidents that have occurred at that particular location.
Using augmented reality, the app overlays symbols on the user's surroundings, pointing out where accidents have occurred, and offering graphic details to warn us about safety.
Have a look at this video to see the app in action:
This seems to be an industry that is trying to jump on board with new technologies, and augmented reality is no exception.
The app has two main features, the first being interactive billboards. When scanned with the app, videos of Green Party speeches appear on your mobile device, laid over the real-world billboards.
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This video shows the billboards in action:
The second feature gives the user more input, allowing conversations to be conducted around Berlin, using virtual points of interest (POIs). With the app, you can actively participate in the real public space by posting or interacting with others on topics of interest, such as payable living space, education, energy consumption or production and public transport.
The video below shows how comments can be attached to locations around the city and read by others, increasing the conversation about Green Party issues.
Art had its turn with augmented reality experimentation recently at the Site Gallery in the UK. A commission project called XYZ developed by Sarah Staton and Chris Hodson used markers placed inside and outside the gallery, as well as throughout the surrounding city, to trigger virtual renders on smartphone screens.
The sculptures used in the project were created by Staton, and then interpreted for the virtual space by Hodson. According to the gallery's website, the project was designed to explore questions about the effects of virtual elements on physical art:
“Sculpture created from accumulations of simple solid forms have been explored extensively in constructivist and minimalist art, with the application of new technologies ‘xyz' will bend, twist and reform these historical precedents into a mediated 3D ephemeral sculpture-scape.”
This is not an area that has involved augmented reality much so far. Even branding and marketing uses of augmented reality, like Cadbury's recent use of Blippar, have focused on game-style aspects to get the user involved.
The first, LCPlush Shop, has geolocated stores in Canada and France that customers can actually walk into. Using the augmented reality layer, customers can visit the virtual shop and website on their mobile device; share plushes by email, Facebook or Twitter; and even use the ‘Plushes Maker' to design their own LCPlush.
The second layer, LCPlush Anywhere, allows customers anywhere in the world to visit the virtual shop, explore the products in 3D rendering and make purchases.
Although this is still a new space with a lot of development and experimentation taking place, it's easy to imagine the possibilities for augmented reality in the future.
What do you think of augmented reality so far? Is it too complicated, or fascinating? I'd especially love to hear how you imagine augmented reality could become useful to your business in the future, so imagine the possibilities and leave us a comment in the box below.
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