Augmented Reality in its current state is an excellent assistant to humans in many industries. Cameras and sensors are used in Augmented Reality to provide an enhanced view for instructional, design, and development purposes. According to Wikipedia, Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are “augmented” by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, haptics or GPS data. Displays such as your mobile phone or special glasses i.e. Google glasses, hardware, and software are all involved with providing the augmented view of real-world objects.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane for the Baby Boomer/Generation X readers. Do you remember the popular music video in 1984 from a band named A-ha? The music video was for their song, Take On Me. The video shows a woman in a real image interacting with a comic book character image and the environment that surrounds them is hand drawn. If you watched MTV News back then they often discussed the making of this video as difficult and a very long process. For the techies in the audience, the music video was created by Apple’s ARKit augmented reality development platform in its infancy.
Speed up to 2016 and beyond. The Millennials and Generation Z saw Augmented Reality hit mainstream popularity with gaming applications using a mobile phone. Two gaming applications “Pokemon Go” and Star Wars “Find the Force” were a huge success just by involving character images with a scavenger/treasure hunt in a real-world environment. Nintendo which is an oldie in the electronic and video game industry collaborated with an AR platform company named Niantic to create “Pokemon Go”. Disney and Lucasfilm created the Star Wars “Find the Force” application.
Entertainment industry introduced AR to the masses initially but I predict the Retail industry will be a close second. Retail uses Augmented Reality as a Sales and Marketing tool. The tool shows images of how the product will look or fit into the consumer’s real-world environment. Retail giants such as Target and IKEA have subscribed to using Augmented Reality applications. Sales representatives in retail are being trained on how to use the tool effectively to convert a sale.
Healthcare, construction, education and many other industries that affect human lives include some aspect of AR. I find it exciting to see how AR technology is assisting in human’s occupational and home life. While I understand that there is no replacement for the ‘real’ experience, AR can assist with serving a simulated experience for the user.