Did you know that humankind got the first feel and look of augmented reality in 1957? Many believe that Morton Heilig, a cinematographer invented Sensorama – the machine that delivered smell, vibration, and visuals to the audience.
Thanks to consistent progress in technology, augmented reality has come a long way since. Today, major tech companies are strategically moving forward to explore augmented reality and generate revenue from it. Besides, a number of augmented reality devices are available on the market from leading companies such as Epson, Google, Intel, and more.
Do you remember the hype that Google Glass made? It was one of the most awaited augmented reality devices from one of the world’s leading companies. It was also pegged to transform how humans interact with the world. However, destiny had other plans and the product was a complete miss among the masses.
Google Glass was deemed a failure in the tech world. However, the underlying technology showcased the potential of augmented reality. Today, we see augmented reality being used in the most innovative and exciting ways.
In this article, we will take a look at a few examples of augmented reality in common places.
But before we start, let’s get a basic understanding of augmented reality.
What exactly is augmented reality?
Augmented reality is a cutting-edge technology that has gained considerable popularity in recent years.
Here, a CG image is superimposed in front of a viewer to give them a real-life or close-to-reality experience. Augmented reality is different from virtual reality. While virtual reality uses computer-generated visuals, augmented reality focuses on the real world. The twist here is that it adds elements that are not present in reality to improve the overall user experience.
Today, augmented reality is used across different industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, construction, and more. Sensing opportunities in this space today, Google is re-introducing Google Glass as an augmented reality device for the workforce.
A few people are even using augmented reality in their business cards! Coming to think of it, it is mind-blowing.
Best examples of augmented reality in common places
There is no doubt that augmented reality has tremendous potential. It will not come as a surprise to see technology become an integral part of our lives. However, at present, we have not reached that stage yet.
But that does not mean we do not see augmented reality in common places. Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of augmented reality in common places.
1. Pokemon Go application by Nintendo
When we are talking about augmented reality, it is hard to miss Pokemon Go. This augmented reality game was such a hit around the world in 2016. So much that Pokemon Go players walked a staggering 8.7 million kilometers collectively – a distance that is enough to get you beyond the end of the solar system .
It is safe to say that although its success was short-lived, it was a smashing hit in 2016. At the peak of its popularity, nearly 65 million people were playing the game.
2. IKEA mobile application
IKEA has always stood out from its competitors on many occasions. This time, it is not the furniture, nor the Swedish meatballs that took us by surprise, but the tech innovations that the company has adopted.
IKEA is one of the first companies in the world to deploy augmented reality successfully. While augmented reality has become a staple part of the company’s efforts to improve customer experience, the romance between them started in 2012.
Back in 2012, IKEA customers could use the application to check out how tables and shelves would look in different corners of their house. Now, the company has raised the bar and taken it one step further with the rollout of the IKEA Place application.
The application allows customers to select any product from IKEA’s catalog and see how it will look in their house. This application has worked wonders for people who often wonder if a particular piece of furniture will look good in their desired spot of the house.
3. Disney coloring book
Disney never ceases to amaze us. Just a few years back, it crafted a fun and a very unique experience for kids to see their most-loved characters in 3D with augmented reality.
The company’s research team created cutting-edge technology by leveraging augmented reality. The new technology would project colored images from a coloring book into 3D figures from a tablet and a mobile phone.
This technology is relatively new and still in the nascent stages. Although it has not yet been released for the masses, it is likely to open up new opportunities for children when it comes to the market.
4. L’Oreal makeup application
Just like IKEA, the popular cosmetic and beauty brand did not hold back from using augmented reality in its mobile application.
It introduced augmented reality to its customers through its application. Similar to Snapchat, the application identifies a user’s face and showcases how certain shades or colors of different products look like.
5. Weather report effects by Weather Channel
Conventional news channels may have lost viewership over the last few years. However, it did not deter them from turning to augmented reality to improve their quality. Television news channels have consistently used technology to enhance their program quality for a few years.
One news channel, the Weather Channel has taken technology to a new level to illustrate extreme weather conditions. The company has repeatedly used augmented reality to display different natural disasters and weather conditions including flooding during a storm, tornadoes, hurricanes, and more. More recently, a virtual car was seen being driven in the studio to depict how vehicles lose control on icy or snowy roads.
Focus on improving infrastructure to see more of augmented reality in common places
While augmented reality is gradually making inroads across different industries, there is a long way to go before that happens. An augmented reality application requires abundant amounts of data and infrastructure to run efficiently.
Delays and lags in augmented reality applications will take away the essence of the application and not offer the most optimal experience.
Time will tell whether we will see more augmented reality in the near future. For now, let’s admire how augmented reality has been deployed in common places.
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 Iqbal. M (2021) “Pokémon Go Revenue and Usage Statistics (2021)” Business of Apps [online] Available from: https://www.businessofapps.com/data/pokemon-go-statistics/ [accessed December 2021]