The technological progress of recent years has given us many surprising tools, including augmented reality (AR). According to experts, despite facing several obstacles like the lack of a platform to reach people and public awareness in its early days, AR has developed into a multifaceted technology with many practical uses.
Below we take a look at five ways that AR is being utilized across industries for good, safety, and entertainment.
AR for Video Games
Admittedly, this is the least unexpected use case, but it deserves mention regardless. The breakthrough Pokémon GO game that came out in 2016 was an absolute revolution in both gaming and AR alike. A map tells players where the creatures are located in their area, and the goal is to collect them. By pointing their smartphone at the specific spot, players see the Pokémon come to life on their screen and can grab it, mixing their real environment with the virtual creature.
The game was such a hit that many other popular franchises have since followed suit, like Jurassic Park and Harry Potter.
AR in Healthcare
Amazingly, AR has the potential to save lives. It is being used to make medical processes safer and more efficient in more than one way. It can be used in surgery, to improve accuracy and save time by superimposing scans on the patient’s organs and essentially giving surgeons a type of x-ray vision. The same principle is also followed in medical training, honing the skills of future doctors.
There are also examples of AR used for better diagnosing, whereby patients and doctors can better grasp the medical problem through this visual aid. Surely, we’ll see many more groundbreaking examples of AR use in this crucial sector.
On a lighter note, AR can even prevent the need for healthcare by motivating people to stay fit. Zombies, Run! is an app that gamifies running and displays zombies on the runner’s route, giving them a boost to keep up the pace of their cardio workout.
AR in Retail
A smart AR marketing tactic is happening across a wide range of brands in various industries. Clothing brands like Uniqlo use AR to help customers visualize how a particular garment would look on them before making any final decisions.
Uniqlo is not the only apparel brand trying out this technology: Converse has done the same with shoes so that you can try on a pair from anywhere. L’Oréal allows you to upload a selfie and try out makeup products, and Harley Davidson lets you customize your bike through AR before putting in an order. Even Lego has made use of the tool to let children and parents see what a particular set would look like after construction. The examples in retail are increasing by the day.
AR in Interior Design and Architecture
Redecorating and renovating can be challenging and costly endeavors. To minimize the risk of wasting time and money and ending up with poor results, AR has made its way into interior design. With an app on your phone, you can see how furniture would look in your home and whether it would fit, preventing you from making the wrong decision.
Architects can similarly use AR to vividly visualize a building and its surroundings, making the planning phase more efficient. Perhaps city planners will use AR one day to not only see one building but entire cities.
AR for Public Safety
This is another case in which AR can save lives. The technology is being used both in training and in action to enhance emergency workers’ vision and map a location when responding to major incidents, like natural disaster and terrorist attacks, and smaller-scale instances like a car accident or recreating a crime scene.
In training, police, firefighters, and other first respondents can simulate possible crisis scenarios and learn the best ways to deal with them under safe conditions. This ensures they are better prepared to manage them in real life and lowers the risk of potentially fatal mistakes.
AR is also proving beneficial in real-life situations, like helping firefighters by outlining objects in a fire or displaying important information like street names and a visual of the surroundings to first responders receiving a call.
The capabilities of augmented reality and the advantages it brings are undeniable. It’s a technology we’ll be seeing a lot more of as it seamlessly integrates into major areas of our lives, like healthcare and retail.
Avi Ben Ezra is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Cofounder of SnatchBot and SnatchApp (Snatch Group Limited). He leads the Group’s long-term technology vision and is responsible for running all facets of the tech business which includes being the architect of the platforms and UI interfaces.