Augmented Reality (AR) Applications and Examples
As you may have guessed from our previous blog, augmented reality has many uses. Beyond digitally imposing flower crowns on your head or just some catching Pokemon. Because the technology is so adaptable, you can use AR just about in everything. Here we’ll talk about some more applications for augmented reality and provide some examples of it in use.
As a frequent flier, I don’t look for too much in my airlines. Just the basics like quality food, complimentary drinks, in-flight movies, a checked bag or two, free Wi-Fi, live TV, priority lounges, and pilots who can take off and land the plane. Augmented reality is helping with few of those things. Companies like Aero Glass have created augmented reality headsets that display airports, cities, navigation points, terrain features, other aircraft, and landing approaches for pilots. These features help pilots operate their planes, even when clouds/fog reduce visibility, which keeps flights safe and on time. That’s something I think we all can get behind.
And air travel isn’t the only mode of transportation AR is helping with. If you are like most Americans, you likely spend around 293 hours, or a little over 12 days, driving each year. Tools like WayRay’s Navion are changing the way we drive by projecting navigation instructions onto the windshield of the car. Navion also introduces gesture control commands to prevent drivers from looking down at their phones to enter or change any route. In addition to more intuitive navigation, these kinds of AR integrations have the potential to make roads safer by reducing the amount of time drivers spend looking away from the road.
While augmented reality can’t assemble your IKEA furniture for you, it can help you decide which Ypperlig or Ekedalen table would look best in your dining room. With IKEA’s new “IKEA Place” app, customers can preview over 2,000 pieces of virtual furniture in actual rooms within their home. This “try before you buy” model isn’t limited to Scandinavian furniture stores — architects and engineers are also using augmented reality to sample building materials, finishes, and layouts before committing to a direction.
And you don’t need to go into a store to try on makeup anymore. Sephora’s Virtual Artist app allows users to try a variety of eye, lip, and cheek makeup by digitally adding it to an uploaded photo. The app also has pre-generated looks created by Sephora makeup artists & interactive tutorials that show how to use different makeup products. Apps like Virtual Artist remove barriers for consumers and help provide a clear path to purchase.
Augmented reality also has the potential to enhance education and learning. AR can transform textbooks & classrooms by turning previously static charts and images into interactive experiences. Geology suddenly sounds a lot more engaging when you can take apart the layers of a volcano. Or dive hundreds of miles beneath the Earth’s crust using augmented reality.
Even flashcards, one of the simplest studying tools, can be also improved with AR. Apps like AR Flashcards Animal Alphabet help young children to learn the alphabet by bringing their flashcards to life. The ABCs sound more interesting when the Penguin from the “P is for penguin” card is standing in front of you.
Entertainment and Sports
Augmented reality AR is even changing the way we buy tickets for a sports match. For Super Bowl LII, StubHub rolled out a feature on their mobile app that allowed ticket buyers to see a virtual 3D model of the U.S. Bank Stadium as well as the surrounding area.
Major sporting leagues have also embraced augmented reality as a way to enhance the viewing experience for their fans. The MLB’s popular “At Bat” app plans on adding AR features this season that’ll allow users to see statistics on each player, ball velocity and distance traveled, and other information in real-time simply by pointing their phone at the field.
Augmented reality’s ability to create unique, immersive experiences makes the technology an excellent tool for marketers. Companies like IKEA, TopShop, & Converse use AR to allow customers to “try” their products before purchasing. These digital trial runs make sampling significantly easier & faster for shoppers, which can lead to more sales.
Even advertisements are made using AR. Many popular brands used AR in public spaces to delight viewers and grab their attention. In 2014, Pepsi installed outward facing cameras in a London bus shelter and used a live feed to project UFOs, giant robots, balloons, and a tiger on the loose inside the shelter. The experience made it look as if those scenes were actually happening on the street. The creative use of AR paid off for the brand Pepsi. A YouTube video of the installation topped 6 million views, making it one of the most watched ad campaigns on YouTube at the time.
Some of the most promising applications for AR are within the healthcare industry. Today, medical students & doctors are using AR to learn or practice medical procedures. But applications of Augmented Reality isn’t just limited to life-saving situations. AccuVein, a New York-based company, uses AR to help nurses find the veins more easily when inserting IVs. This makes nurses’ and patients’ lives easier, increasing successful IV applications by 350%.
AR is also helping some patients with their recovery process. A company called NuEyes, uses special AR glasses to help people with severe vision impairment. With the technology, NuEyes can help legally blind children see well enough to read & recognize their classmates.
There’s even evidence that AR can help reduce excruciating phantom limb pain felt by amputees. By projecting a digital limb on to the patient, researchers were able to trick their brain into thinking the amputated limb was still there. This projection, paired with electrodes, allowed patients to practice relaxing the digital limb to ease their pain.