Once limited to elite tech purposes, now more and more industries are looking to use Augmented Reality technology — and for good reason, too!
The chances are high that you have already interacted with augmented reality in one way or another, especially if you’re a fan of video games. One popular game that launched AR into the public eye was none other than Pokemon Go.
Augmented reality works by combining your real world environment with simulated overlays. You will typically see your immediately-surrounding environment with images projected around on your phone, or through a headset.
From there, you’ll interact or receive input information from the projected images. For the sake of examples, in Pokemon Go, the characters would appear in your backyard or around the street, making it seem like the characters were actually there with you.
The projected images, sounds, and interactions overlaid over our world have many functions, and are becoming increasingly popular.
What is Augmented Reality Used For?
Augmented reality isn’t limited to just video games. There are far more applications that may surprise you, as the use of AR technology is virtually unlimited.
There are seven major applications of augmented reality that will soon influence your everyday life as augmented reality continues to rise. The seven primary applications include:
How AR is Used in Education
The rise of augmented reality in your everyday life will include applications in education. This is sure to increase both the way we teach and how we learn.
For primary school students, any subject — even physical education! — can be aided by the rising improvements in augmented reality.
According to education researcher Fleming, there are three recognized methods of learning — by sound, by sight, and by touch. Especially for early learners, combining all three methods is the best way to guarantee positive results.
AR can serve as the bridge that links them together. For example: a child can hold an educational material, and have their augmenting device recite the name and explanation, while also displaying facts and associations related to it.
As they handle and manipulate the material in the real world, their virtual world updates with more interesting trivia and knowledge, enabling them to absorb more information.
Introducing AR technology at a young age also helps it to become familiar to these students, allowing them early mastery of this technology. Children’s minds are incredibly flexible and adaptable — at one point it was believed that they’d never be able to understand the intricacies of smartphones, and yet here we are today!
And just as smart devices have been proven to help in the classroom, the benefits of augmented reality may be truly significant. By interacting with their virtual and real environments simultaneously, kids retain the information more meaningfully compared to just a conventional textbook or lecture.
For higher learning, augmented reality could potentially have a huge impact on how students retain information. For example, augmented reality can help theater students visualize potential organizations of theater-sets or lightings.
For engineering students, running simulations of real-world infrastructure problems can make their studies more affordable and less labor-intensive.
There may even be cross-discipline benefits. Part of the so-called “boring” nature of programming is the disconnect between bland lines of machine script and the final product. Perhaps being able to see and hear their code run in real time even as they made design changes would lead to more visually pleasing computer programs?
AR is vastly better than simply following simple, non-interactive computer models. Take students undertaking extreme, high risk training for future careers: future doctors, pilots, and police officers, for example.
For them, simulated emergency scenarios with immediate feedback can help them develop “virtual real-world” experience dealing with both the common and rare events that’ll crop up in their chosen path.
How is Augmented Reality Used in Healthcare?
Augmented reality applications in healthcare will become more popular and helpful as AR technology grows in useage. Some examples might include procedures like surgeries, where visual assistance can help with the delicate and precise mechanics involved.
Nurses finding veins can be made easier with real-time vein mapping to ensure no misses the first time. Patients will be sure to appreciate this aspect of AR!
Augmented reality can even be used in dental healthcare. Orthodontic augmented reality can help model where braces brackets should go, or what the final result will look like mapped out inside the mouth.
AR technology isn’t just limited to doctors and healthcare providers, either. Patients can also benefit from its use. Through AR, they can communicate more clearly with their doctors. For instance, instead of trying to point with their fingers at the painful spot, AR technology can help facilitate their treatment. This can allow them to describe what they’re feeling, while also providing a visual example to their provider through an AR rendering.
Providers can also use AR to teach patients about how medications work inside their body, or how to properly use medical equipment at home.
This can be extremely helpful for nervous patients who may wonder what sort of side effects might follow their treatment. Or, conversely, it can help motivate them to follow their course of treatment, knowing what positive outcome awaits them.
It can be challenging for doctors to properly explain how to use medical equipment, especially for visual learners. Having the opportunity to see the medical equipment that they’ve been prescribed (and seeing it used on their own bodies!) can take the guesswork out of its use, reducing both user error and potential discomfort.
How is Augmented Reality Used in Retail?
As AR grows in popularity, you can expect to see it used in retail more often. Using augmented reality in retail isn’t just for sellers, either; it can also help buyers secure better deals and feel more confident about their purchases. The uses of AR in retail include making life easier by assisting with pricing visualized throughout the store (without having to walk up to the product!), or showing homeowners how furniture would look assembled in their homes.
Another practical use for retail is visually overlaying yourself with an article of clothing you like. Augmented reality would allow you to save time in the dressing room by allowing you to virtually try them on, making it easier to know if the item is right for your style.
Likewise, makeup and beauty products can also be simulated, saving you from having to try it on, or wondering how something looks with your skin tone if there are no samples available.
Augmented Reality and Immersive Entertainment
AR isn’t just useful in more serious applications, either. The rise of augmented reality will also mean more entertainment options for your everyday life, too!
If you’ve ever watched television, a sporting event, or played a video game, and wondered what it would be like up close and personal, then you’ll be excited to know that augmented reality can make that a reality.
Sports augmented reality can make a sporting event feel so much more personal and immersive. At a stadium, you can see virtual projections of the star quarterback or goalie. Or you can use it to find concessions and link up with other fans of the same team.
At home, you can use AR to project live replays in 3-D to see if that really was a foul ball, or to really feel what it was like to play through a run. You can even use augmented reality to snap a photo with your favorite athlete.
General entertainment is also going to be quite the adventure for kids and adults alike through AR. Even watching movies will become more enjoyable. With augmented reality, you may be able to interact with fictional characters, or step directly into your favorite film.
What Does AR Mean in Gaming?
Gaming with augmented reality is also a lot more fun when you get to let your creativity run wild. As a kid, you could mentally conjure up new worlds in your home, but with AR? Now you can visually interact with those same creative ventures.
Through augmented reality, you can let your imagination run amok without actually having to build pillow forts or buy expensive tools and equipment.
For the kiddos, toys can be scanned to create an immersive experience through interactive animation. This can allow children to really explore their creativity with a toy and the stories they invent.
What is Augmented Reality in Communication?
The way people communicate can be made more accessible through the use of augmented reality, too. Communication and augmented reality really do go hand in hand by allowing us to connect from places far away.
By using an AR service that creates a holographic projection of a person, two people can meet up — despite living in different countries. This allows for people who might not have the opportunity to travel to meet up for a business interview, or catch up with an old friend.
For business, travel expenses can be saved. Even better, you may not need to go to the office for that important meeting. Bosses can deliver speeches or provide charts and figures without a tedious powerpoint slideshow.
Using Augmented Reality in Security
While security may seem like an unlikely everyday use of augmented reality, it can prove very beneficial. One example of security and augmented reality in your everyday life right now is using facial recognition to unlock a phone.
Augmented reality and security go beyond just those features, however. Indeed, it can even be lifesaving.
Floor plans and locks around your house could become quickly accessible in the case that you or a loved one get locked out of your home. It can also help you quickly and safely find your way out in a fire or other emergency.
While out shopping or at work, augmented reality can help keep you safe by providing trained professionals with necessary skills and training. It can also be used to access gates, locate electrical lines and pipes, and act as a sort of “x-ray vision” in a crisis.
Augmented Reality in City Navigation
Augmented reality can help those who don’t know every square inch of their city by heart, too. More often than not, you may find yourself in new areas, and GPS has come a long way to help.
Augmented reality in navigation could help you get to where you are going, but oh-so-much quicker and more precisely (and without getting lost!). You can find stores nearby, or find any place you may be looking for, with real-time street view assistance.
Tired of choosing a dud restaurant when hungry? AR can help you explore an area with real-time reviews, all but guaranteeing you never suffer through a mediocre meal again.
What Companies Use Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is present in many of the companies you already use today. From established companies like Amazon using AR to make sure your packages arrive on time, to new companies like Snap which uses augmentation to cue taking perfect photos of your events.
Unexpectedly, even sports companies are pushing to the next level: the Dallas Cowboys are an industry leader in developing the practices behind merging this technology with how fans enjoy sports. Someday soon, you may be able to watch and interact with “augmented professional football” from home!
Augmented reality in day-to-day life is surging at an unprecedented rate, growing more popular every single day. There are so many ways in which you may find yourself being assisted or entertained through innovations in augmented reality.
Whether you are learning something new, seeing an old friend, are lost in the city, or looking for somewhere to shop or eat, augmented reality is designed to make life easier. And that is definitely something to look forward to in the near future!