Augmented Reality (AR) is a preferred topic of discussion at various forums today due to its immense potential to recreate real world scenarios into operative visual experiences. There are many sectors where this technology can do wonders. Augmented Reality is a field of computer science where “a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
AR technology involves digitally recognizing an object and augmenting it, for example by enhancing it with relevant content including imagery, videos and documents. It allows users to engage with real-world objects by taking advantage of sophisticated visual assimilation techniques. It removes obstacles and delivers a deep level of interaction with the object and the environment. Depending on the type of object, the augmentation can create an immersive experience leading to an improved cognition of the object. With mobile devices, the experience is enhanced with various input techniques such as touch and voice.
The most important parameter for an AR system is how much and how well the augmentations are integrated with the real world. How effective is the image registration process which uses various methods mostly related to video tracking. Generally, the whole process consists of two parts, the first part would majorly be image processing and the second part would augment a visual representation from the data obtained in the first part.
The areas where AR can be effective and valuable are many. Marketing is one such areas. Using an AR enabled device the print and video marketing can be effectively integrated. The visual treat that an AR enabled device can provide is exceptional. The interesting difference between straight forward image recognition and Augmented Reality is that multiple media can be overlaid simultaneously in the display screen, such as social media share buttons, in-page video even audio and 3D objects. AR can enhance customer experience in various ways. From a product preview, where a customer can be given the full-fledged view of what is inside a product or the packaging without opening it, to helping the customer in selecting the right product by giving them access to a catalog of many scanned images on an AR enabled device. The technology has helped to the extent of developing Virtual dressing rooms for e-commerce.
The leading cosmetic company L’Oreal used AR technology and brought it to a personal level through their ‘Makeup Genius’ app which allowed users to try on customised make-up and styles using a mobile device.
In education, AR has been used to integrate text, graphics, video and audio and superimpose them into a real-time classroom environment. The technology made the classroom much more interactive and interesting for students. Constructed, a Studierstube system, allowed students to learn mechanical engineering concepts more effectively. AR apps in Chemistry allows students to visualize and interact with the spatial structure of a molecule using a marker object held in a hand. In an Anatomy class students could visualize and understand different systems of the human body shown in three dimensions.
Augmented Reality on various visual interfaces is a promising paradigm providing an opportunity to create immersive experiences for users. Given the pervasiveness of mobile devices such as phones and tablets, creating these experiences can help companies grab a larger mind share of users and increase brand loyalty. As the Internet of Things wave spawns new devices and enhances existing ones, AR is poised to play a potentially pivotal role in creating the next generation of user experiences.
Download the whitepaper on ‘Exploiting the Potential of Augmented Reality’ here