What Is Augmented Reality?

augmented reality

In 1957 Morton Heilig, the “Father of Virtual Reality” debuted an invention called the Sensorama. This machine provided a multi-sensory virtual reality experience using 3-D films, smells, sounds, and even seat vibrations and wind to mimic movement.

Today’s sophisticated virtual reality simulators and hardware make Heilig’s invention seem silly by comparison. If Heilig were around today, he would greatly enjoy the current rise of augmented reality applications.

Augmented Reality Lego

While virtual reality involves mechanized or digital simulations completely replacing the real world, augmented reality uses technology to blend the real and digital worlds together. With the rise of mobile phone and tablet usage, more brands, retailers, and publishers are incorporating augmented reality into their marketing mix.

What is Augmented Reality?

AR technology uses a device, like a mobile phone or tablet, to sense objects or locations in the physical world and add a layer of sound, video, graphics, or GPS data onto the real-world object or environment. The added information enhances or “augments” what you can see and how you can interact with the objects and world around you.

To get a better idea of how this technology works, let’s take a look at a couple of augmented reality uses and applications.

Industrial Uses for Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is already being used by cutting-edge companies like Volkswagen, as a 3-D guide for technicians who need to troubleshoot and repair machinery. This type of application allows a technician to run a camera from a mobile device or a wearable like Google Glass over the machinery and receive real-time information and instructions specific to each part or problem.

Temporary Tattoos and Other Augmented Reality Fun

Brands and publisher are using augmented reality to provide another layer of content for consumers to interact with. To promote Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, Capri Sun recently included an augmented reality temporary tattoo in its fruit juice packaging. Kids could apply the temporary tattoo and use a downloadable app to watch their tattoo come to life and even interact with it! Many magazine publishers also use augmented reality as a way to load more immersive mobile or tablet content for print readers.

Location-Based Augmented Reality

There are many ways that augmented reality will improve our mobile search and navigation capabilities. Imagine walking down a city street and simply holding your phone up as listings from Yelp or Google Maps populated on the screen in real time over each storefront. Let’s say you are looking to purchase a new home. What if you could see data about home prices and listings from a website like Zillow as you walked down the street? With smartphones and tablets this technology is on its way. But wearable technologies like Google Glass will make it even more seamless to layer digital information on top of our everyday lives.

Have you experienced augmented reality yet? Please share your thoughts about this new technology in the comments below!

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augmented reality

1 comment

Kara Huebsch

Kara Huebsch

Please give me a call to talk about AR tattoos for promotional products. I’m part of ASI. Thanks

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