Once a sci-fi fantasy, augmented reality (AR) is now within everyone’s reach. AR superimposes digital information and images on to the real world. Over the past few years AR technology has dramatically improved and is now available on most phones.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, believes that AR is the future, recently stating in an interview that in a few years, “We are not going to be able to imagine our lives without AR. It’s that profound a platform.”
In the future, it is very likely that glasses with AR technology will become more widely available. Companies such as Apple, Google and Snap are all investing heavily in the technology, but it has yet to hit the mainstream. To give you a better idea of what AR is capable of and how it will change how we interact with the world, here are five innovative examples of AR in action.
One of the most exciting areas of AR research is medicine, more specifically in aiding and training surgeons. By allowing surgeons to see 3D models of bodies they are able to practice their trade in an entirely novel way, and by superimposing important information in theatre, surgeons are able to carry out complex procedures more proficiently.
Buying clothes online is incredibly challenging given all the different fits and sizes available. Fashion retailers spend huge amounts of money on dealing with returns so any technology that can help people see and even ‘try’ clothing on is incredibly useful. Enter AR – for years the industry has toyed with the idea of virtual changing rooms but now they are actually in use, and while the results are not perfect yet there are already clear benefits to shoppers and retailers.
The multi-billion pound make-up industry seems stronger than ever, but faces similar challenges to clothing retailers, with buyers keen to try out products before buying them. Again, AR is helping to bridge the try-before-you-buy gap by allowing people to test out products on their own faces using AR apps.
In the not too distant future, cars will drive themselves, but until then we will have to pay attention to the road. Augmented reality is being used to help drivers navigate the roads more safely. Instead of having to look at a small sat-nav screen, for example, you could see a superimposed route on the windscreen. Or when you need to park the car, you may see a parking guide, for example, pop up on every window.
For those who have purchased expensive furniture and discovered once it was delivered it didn’t work in the space, the Ikea Place app will help you avoid that predicament in the future. Now, you can see how a piece of furniture will in a room before you buy it.
Like Apple CEO, Tim Cook, we believe there is huge potential for AR in the future. Fire Tech runs an AR/VR course that will give your child hands-on experience with this exciting new technology. Young people who learn about advances in technology such as AR will develop confidence to work across industries and will be able to thrive in an increasingly technology-led world.