Augmented reality is a highly innovative way of showing a digital augmentation of something in a real world environment through the use of a device. It allows a device such as a mobile phone to change its view of the surrounding environment and make it digitally interactive through the use of a camera, for example.
Augmented reality blurs the lines between what’s real and what’s computer generated, giving the user an (often) highly immersive experience, potentially like something of a sci-fi movie in some cases.
This relatively new technology has been implemented in a few sectors ranging from tourism to gaming, and mostly exists as a mobile app (although by definition an augmented reality implementation can exist on anything with a sensory input such as sound, video, or graphics).
Take a look at some of my favourite implementations:
This app may be useful for people looking to purchase a sofa. The app augments a digital 3D model of a sofa in the environment, enabling users to see what the sofa would look like in their living room, for example, before they purchase.
This app may not be as useful, but very interesting as it allows the user to “browse” the sky with their phone camera and see digital augmentations of celestial objects like planets, stars, and even man made satellites, all in real time.
As you can probably guess from the name, this is a mobile augmented reality game where users view the world, and approaching “deadly” zombies, through their smart phone. The aim is to tap the screen where zombies appear to shoot them. Quite fun if you like that sort of thing!
Last but by no means least, we think this app has the most useful purpose of app – translating text in real-time on screen by pointing your device at a sign for example. This really does push the boundaries of innovation. The apps listed above are linked to iOS versions, but equivalent Android versions are also available.
Oh and by the way, I believe this way of using a smart phone is one of the best ways to make use of a hand held device with an app, as such an experience wouldn’t be as immersive in a website – see my post on websites vs apps for more info. An even better and almost completely immersive use of a similar technology is the up and coming virtual reality (VR).
Although Augmented reality has been around for a few years, I truly believe the real life applications of such software haven’t scratched the surface of the possibilities. Leave a comment or get in touch if you want to know more.