In recent years, mobile phones and apps, IoT devices, and augmented reality are introducing new ways for businesses to communicate and interact with customers. I call it Spatial Computing. One type of technology enabling spatial computing is Augmented Reality (AR).
In fact nowadays the use of Augmented Reality is pretty widespread; it is so widespread and encompasses so many different and practical applications that it is hard to list them all! In fact there are already hundreds of amazing augmented reality apps available right now!
Well anyhow, I have also done a rough rounding out of the potential applications that Augmented Reality is being used for in order to show you how helpful this technology is to our lives. I have also included a pretty amazing application of AR technology at the end, which seemingly does the impossible!
Hospitals are rapidly bringing in devices which support augmented reality technology so as to better provide healthcare such as emergency surgeries or providing emergency care to patients when they are being taken to a hospital by an ambulance.
Using devices like Google Glass, doctors and surgeons are able to not only record the surgeries but are also able to better the operation by cooperating with other doctors and healthcare professionals.
There are also certain AR apps like EyeDecide, Spot Check and Doctor Mole which are specifically developed to be used for medical purposes. The EyeDecide app educates patients about their eye condition via augmented reality technology, while the Doctor Mole is a skin cancer checking AR app.
Also, AR technologies in ambulances offer the paramedics much more help when treating people who are in dire need of immediate help.
2. Government uses such as Military, Fire Department and Police
Augmented Reality technologies are applied in several government arms such as Military, Space Research, Fire Department and Police. NASA has deployed an AR technology by CrowdOptic so as to improve the launch and landing of a Lunar lander. CrowdOptic has also successfully made a low-bandwidth live-streaming device integrated with a firefighter helmet that is being adopted by first responders in both the United States and China.
Also, the US military funded smart helmet in 2014 for use in war which is basically a Google glass like device which uses AR to send information like map and other information like enemy location, satellite footage and mission objectives directly to the field of vision of the soldiers.
AR technologies are slowly being adopted in sports so as to provide viewers with livelier view of the match. In 2014 Sacramento Kings used Google Glass to broadcast footage from the perspective of players and cheerleaders on the Jumbotron and phones. Also NASCAR International Speedway Corporation broadcasted live racing videos and behind-the-scenes footage using Google Glass.
Education in AR is a big field, and is one of the most exciting.
AR can change the way we consume information and study. Consider, for example, medical education: students are historically limited to studying information presented in two-dimensions (e.g., printed materials and images on computer screen). Companies like 3D4medical help students learn anatomy using AR – it’s like an augmented reality textbook. This helps train doctors and surgeons.
The kind of interesting and engagement learning such as with Curiscope is fun, but if you can translate that into a 1st person view, you can essentially learn via muscle-memory. This is being used to train surgeons, making them feel like it’s a real person, when actually it’s just AR. I’ve tried one of these machines myself and they’re damn convincing.
Apart from this, there are certain other benefits that AR technologies bestow on education too. And those are amazing presentations. There is a software like AutoDesk which provides low-cost presentations and shows users just what it would look like on a desk.
5. Sales and Marketing including Advertising
This use-case for AR technology is one that no one is talking about yet, but has already become a game-changer for global B2B brands: sales and marketing. Kaon Interactive is leveraging Google Tango to deliver groundbreaking AR and VR mobile apps to Fortune 500 giants like Cisco, GE and Dell EMC. Kaon’s AR and VR apps are currently available via the only Tango-enabled device Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro, but as more Tango-enabled smartphones roll out, like the ASUS ZenFone, Kaon’s apps will be even more widely used. And as we watch to see what Apple rolls out, those opportunities may get even bigger. Google has recognized the business potential, and is currently working with Kaon to roll their apps out to full Fortune 500 sales teams.
6. Treating Addiction
Treating an addict to get better and to take control of their lives is rather tough. It is also a common factor that most addicts fall back into their old habit of abusing substances as soon as they are out on the streets. This is because most of these people are not trained to control their temptation.
These people fall back into their old habit as soon as they are offered drugs.
However, AR helps by letting the addict encounter such instances several times so that when faced with a similar situation post-treatment, they can successfully resist such temptations. As this form of treatment through Augmented Reality is quite new, there is not much evidence on how successful it actually is. But after checking the anecdotal results, we can be pretty sure that AR is going to take addiction treatment to the next level!
7. Interior Designing and Shopping
If interior designing is your thing, then Augmented Reality is what you need. There are some AR apps like Amikasa, which let you decorate and stylise your room using nothing but just your phone. It helps the user to style room and figure out desired layouts before buying furniture. Using your phone’s camera, you can walk around your bedroom, kitchen and workplace and Amikasa will show you the best possible interior design for your room.
One of the most important applications of augmented reality is in eCommerce. When you are able to take a product and see it in your own environment you have a much better understanding of it. This may be the tipping point for many customers to make a purchase where they otherwise would not have. In the recent past, May Houzz announced an augmented reality application that does this very thing. It allows you to see what furniture looks like in your own home.
8. Mapping and Navigation
Augmented Reality can enrich mapping and navigation. However, AR technologies is not really that uncommon in mapping and navigation. In fact the very Google Map you use, is an app which uses AR technologies for mapping and navigation.
The Bonus Point
Augmented Reality can now aid and even improve human abilities. AR is also used as a tool to improve people’s spatial ability. That’s not all. A company called AiPoly is using AR and artificial intelligence to provide people with visual disabilities, vision through ”Artificial Intelligence”.
While these are the main applications of Augmented Reality; the technology is applied in facial recognition, object recognition, conference calls/collaboration, web browsing, measurement/tools, art, analysing and recording movements, interior design & shopping, overlay (show an image on a paper to trace), directions, hazards, reading, enhancements (zoom), instructions, auditory assistance (subtitles), location pin (directions again), social media (status over head), video call, allergy detection, gaming, HUD, advertising, eye tracking and much more.
Guest article written by: Hey there! I am Adhip Ray, a tech-blogger, freelance writer and founder of the tech blog “TechSavvy” where I post high quality reviews, comparisons, analysis and tech news on everything tech related including phones, accessories, gadgets, computing, laptops and gaming!