Movies from Iron Man to The Terminator have shown technological advances that many of us never dreamed would be a reality in our lifetime. But one of these technologies has become reality and is starting to break into our every day lives. We are talking about augmented reality (AR)! The technology is able to superimpose computer generated images, graphics, and messaging on top of the real world. Augmented reality has been adapted to accomplish a multitude of tasks from allowing companies to market their products in new, exciting ways to transforming the way employees are trained to even assisting in medical procedures. All of these methods and use cases would not be possible without the ability to view the digital information presented through augmented reality. But how can you view AR graphics and images? Let’s look at a few ways that people are able to view augmented reality.
By far, the most popular use of Augmented Reality was Pokémon Go. The game incorporated AR directly into the mobile app and allowed fans of the classic game to run around and catch Pokémon directly on their phone! Since launching and being recognized all over the world, viewing augmented reality images through a mobile device is by far the most popular way to view AR. Even before Pokémon Go, the technology was being used in mobile devices. Arizona Iced Tea promoted the launch of their Soda Shaq line of drinks by using an AR mobile game. Along with the success of games and other promotional situations, large companies like Google and Apple have been investing in mobile AR platforms. Recently, Apple launched their ARKit platform in order to help facilitate and capitalize on mobile AR. These implementations are already starting to become popular and there will definitely be more augmented reality experiences happening in the near future!
Augmented Reality Headset
Google, Apple, Microsoft, and all of the other big boys are taking on the challenge of developing Augmented Reality headsets. While Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google Glass never caught on with consumers, they have been able to find some traction in the corporate space for training and remote maintenance. To compete with these, several startups have started to take on the task of developing AR headsets. The most “promising” of these startups is Magic Leap. The incredibly secretive startup has taken in around 2 billion dollars in investment and recently, briefly unveiled their new headset. While all of these companies are heavily investing in augmented reality headsets, the consumer market hasn’t been incredibly responsive. Look for the headsets to become more and more popular, but not in the near future.
Augmented Reality Mirror
Mobile phones and headsets are the two avenues for augmented reality that most people already know, but a third is starting to become more and more popular for several reasons. Augmented reality mirrors! These mirrors, like our nuReflection™, are triggered by any predetermined marker such as a team’s logo, brand’s image, or someone’s face. After the marker is set, a custom animation, message, or digital imagery is then overlaid on the display. This technology is how Sephora allowed their in-store customers to virtually try-on their makeup, and how Ralph Lauren has been increasing engagement at several of their stores.
Mobile applications, headsets, and mirrors. These are the three methods of viewing augmented reality that we just covered. Why are these three ways especially important? Because they show the flexibility of AR, and the different ways our lives can be affected by the technology. Whether it’s a device you already carry in your cell phone, a specialized device that you buy in a headset, or a mirror that a company has placed in their store or in a unique experience, augmented reality can be adapted and delivered in different, but effective methods! This coming year should be a boom for all three of these methods of viewing AR!