Augmented reality, also known as AR, mixed reality, or computer-mediated reality, is a fast growing technology that brings the real world and virtual reality together. In AR, an interactive, real-world environment is overlaid with, or augmented by, computer-generated information and virtual objects affecting sensory intake in real-time.
You might think that applicable uses of augmented reality are still in the future, but that is not the case at all. Here are nine ways augmented reality is being applied in the real-world today.
1. Car maintenance.
Most of us have had car problems that we had to shell out cash to get fixed. What if you could fix some of those problems yourself? Inglobe Technologies demoed an augmented reality 3D-tracking app that helps car owners understand what’s under the hood and perform maintenance tasks on their vehicle.
If you have watched a game of American football in the last twenty years or so, you have probably seen the computer-generated lines that mark a down on the field. Augmented reality has also been used in cricket to trackballs when they are thrown.
3. GPS navigation.
Nearly everyone has used some form of GPS navigation at some point, but it does have some drawbacks, like having to look at a screen or turn-by-turn directions not lining up with the road. Mishor 3D is currently working on a navigation overlay to solve these problems.
The Ikea Place app lets you scan a room and place Ikea furniture in the digital space. The Dulux Visualizer lets you virtually try out shades of paint for your room. Lowe’s has a virtual tape measure called Measured by Lowe’s. And, there’s also the Envisioned app by The Mine that lets you place furniture and accessories in a scanned area.
In the healthcare and medical field, augmented reality can help surgeons plan operations, show information about a treatment area in real-time, and visualize and explain conditions to help medical students.
The Spoon & Tamago team at the Tokyo Institute of Technology are working on an AR system to be integrated into stoves that simulate interaction with food and cooking it.
7. Construction and excavation.
Bentley Systems is developing tools that allow construction workers to view virtual blueprints over the actual construction site with detailed instructions. They are also building a heads-up display so that excavation crews are aware of underground pipelines before they start digging.
The first functional AR systems were developed by the U.S. military, and AR is still important for militaries across the globe today. The heads-up display that is commonly used for military pilots provides vital information such as altitude and airspeed without drawing focus from the flight. The head-mounted display that is used by infantrymen helps in tracking enemies.
The use of virtual reality headsets is already common in gaming. It provides users with a sense of immersion that traditional screens do not provide. The first commercially available AR experiences were for games. Games that make use of augmented reality like Pokemon Go allow players to experience virtual aspects of gameplay in real-world environments.
Even now, the applications of augmented reality in the real world are numerous. It’s only likely that, as the technology becomes cheaper to develop, we’ll see more implementations in fields such as education, retail, and travel.