What is Augmented Reality and Where is it Going in the Future?

08/05/2019     Author: Billy Gray

Augmented reality, or AR as it’s commonly known, has the potential to be implemented into various revolutionary technologies. Here’s a look into where it’s going.

 

Augmented reality – or AR is it is commonly abbreviated – is likely to change the world around us in ways that we’ve only really seen in sci-fi movies. The technology is currently being applied in a number of fields and most people are blissfully unaware of just how far AR has already come.

In this article we’ll introduce you to what AR really is and how it works, how it’s being used today, and finally, how it is going to be used in the near future.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is when you have virtual objects over reality. An example of this is when you watch a sports game on TV and you see the graphics explaining the player’s actions on the field. Another example is Pokémon GO! This was a game where players use the cameras on their phone that relays reality and puts Pokémon on your screen that you can catch and fight.

AR isn’t just limited to the entertainment industry, however. It’s now increasingly being applied to other fields like medicine, advertising, real estate, and more.

In short, AR is when you hold your device up and see reality with something virtual plastered over it. It’s not to be confused with virtual reality (VR) which is when you create an entirely different sensory reality altogether using visual and other sensory tools.

What is AR being used for today?

AR is currently being applied in a lot more fields than people realize. The technology is still in its early stages, granted, but post 2019 it could really take off. It’s estimated that more than a billion people will be using AR by the end of 2020.

Most applications of AR today are fairly ‘prototype’ in their execution. That being said, the potential for AR to be developed in the near future is already clearly evident. Here are some examples of where AR is currently being used.

MEDICAL TRAINING: AR can be used to take a closer look at the human body during medical training. This is already being done in some universities where students wear AR headsets to look into the human anatomy. AR can also be used to analyses tumors and wounds prior to operations so that surgeons can plan ahead. There is also technology that can scan patients veins (AccuVein) and many other body parts.

The use of AR in the medical field is likely to cause a real stir in the industry in the years to come.

ADVERTISING: Perhaps the most difficult implementation of AR to ignore in the future will be advertising. The use of AR in allowing potential customers to see what watches, clothes, or makeup will look like on them without actually having to physically try them on. This could be done when someone is walking past a shop in the high street without them even having to enter the shop. This would be great for sales in retail.

On top of this, the real estate industry is keen to jump on AR so that people can take a tour of an apartment or house without actually having to book an afternoon off of work to go and view places with an estate agent.

AR has the potential to bring advertising alive by making it animated and allowing the consumer to see the end result without needing to actually hold the product.

EDUCATION: The potential to incorporate AR into the classroom is massive. Many students learn well with visual aids and AR tech opens up the door to bring lessons into reality by showing students a visual representation of what they’re learning.

For example, if students are learning about weather patterns, then they could see the developments taking place visually in front of them. This experience can be repeated across educational disciplines and is a great way to increase engagement from students with short attention spans.

ENTERTAINMENT: Of course, one of the main ways that AR will be used is for gaming and entertainment. People are already familiar with AR in this respect, although, with the development of headsets this will become increasingly popular and more advanced.

We can expect to see many forms of entertainment employing AR in 2019 and beyond.

The future of AR

Now that you can see how AR is being used in the present day, it’s easy to start drawing a picture in your mind of where the technology is going. It’s pretty much a given that AR will have a profound effect on the everyday lives of ordinary people.

This could impact our lives in many positive ways – or if left unregulated, it could potentially become overwhelming and saturate people’s reality, making them passive to societal degradation going on around them. You can see an example of how AR could potentially look in this video.

Whatever your opinions of AR, it’s going to be present all around us – in the same way that smartphones have become so dominant in most peoples’ attention span. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the trends in AR so that you’re not taken by surprise by the coming technological advances.

Good luck, reader.

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