Augmented reality is universal.
In many areas, augmented reality is already successfully implemented to provide aditional information. There are few situations in which we cannot imagine to wish for more and more precise information; in which we want it as easily as possible or to have just a little more fun.
Augmented reality can do all that and with increasing distribution of smartphones and tablets, it will encash it even more.
Typical fields of application that have already been realized without a sexpartite budget are (without claim to be complete ;-)):
- Tourism: virtual city tours, overlapping of present day and historical situations, objects, images, sounds…
- Art: Yes, here it is only fantasy what one can do.
- Manufacturing industry: product visualization, manuals, play instinct, emotionialization, product clarification…
- e-Commerce: product visualization (e.g. virtual furniture in real rooms, virtual fitting, etc.)
- Retail: the digital enhancement of the sales area, e.g. with additional information or shopping possibilities
- Marketing: Augmented Reality as another medium to transport desired contents
- as a very special form and blend of manufacturing industry and marketing one has to mention packaging, displays and print explicitly. These industries already produce the media marketing and the manufacturing industry use to transport their messages. To offer augmented reality as a further level of these media is inevitable. .
- Gaming, Entertainment: mobile augmented reality allows for a new form of games, interaction and “gamification” in various areas of life.
What makes augmented reality so interesting (apart from the already existing possibilities and solutions) is the racing technological development, the distribution of this technology as well as the societal usage and the consequential change.
Treffpunkt Idee doesn’t have a (functioning :-)) crystal ball. The past teaches us that experience value can be extrapolated, but there is always something in the future no one could have foreseen.
Nevertheless, it pays off to monitor developments, to draw one’s own conclusions and to try to actively help create the future.
Even though augmented reality has been in use for many years, it is still considered a technology of the future.
Why is that so?
So far the technology could only be used in a limited way and for specific areas and was therefore only utilized in niche markets. The reasons are found in the expensive technology that was needed to accumulate reality with augmented reality (special equipment, computer) as well as in the elaborate manufacturing method of the needed software.
In both areas the technology is so far developed that augmented reality is possible for the mass market and even medium-sized companies and small size business owners can should the budget for the creation of corresponding contents.
On the side of the manufactures a few standard solutions for example by metaio, t-immersion, qualcomm or layar have established themselves. With their help it is possible to produce augmented reality applications economically.
On the side of the user smartphones and tablets have spread (most of them are AR-enabled) and our behavior and our demands change thusly. Just change:
To make the development obvious, the above numbers are expressed in percentage.
- approx. 80% increase of smartphone usage in Germany
- more than 30% use a smartphone already
- more than 100% increase of tablet usage
As already mentioned, current smartphones and tablets are AR.-enabled.
But are these possibilities made use of by the users?
In the case of this question it pays off to look at the technology that allows us now to obtain digital additional information from real objects: QR- Codes. To put it crudely, it is the predecessor technology from a time when our smartphones were not yet AR-enabled.
- 48% of the consumers have already scanned QR-codes
- 56% have been scanned off packages
- 78% of the consumers can imagine scanning products or images with a smartphone to obtain additional information
- QR- code can increase between Q1 2010 and Q1 2011 4549%!
List of sources:
It seems likely that the usage of augmented reality via smartphone and tablet will experience a similar, if not more rapid increase in everyday life.
And that despite the fact that we have to use our smartphone as a “crutch” for it.
An even profounder change in the usage of augmented reality is going to take place when we carry the screen (e.g. with glasses) directly and without our active cooperation in front of our eyes and are able to control the device with gestures or speech.
At the latest, augmented reality will be everyday life and will be used just like we use the TV or the internet today.
For this reason it is important to set the course today, to gather experiences and to actively create this future.
We gladly support you!
There are various techniques (they can be combined, too) to position the computer-generated image into the actual situation as appropriately as possible:
Location based AR:
The computer-generated image is dependent on the whereabouts of the observer. That way additional information e.g. about the current surroundings can be displayed:
- what building do I see in front of me?
- where is the next ATM?
- how much is a room in the hotels around me?
For this technique the GPS from our mobile devices is used.
Object based AR:
The computer-generated image is dependent on an image or an object which is in front of the observer’s camera.
This image or object is usually called marker and by now there are many possibilities what such a marker can be. The most popular markers nowadays are images.
It is possible to cover a large field with image markers when one thinks about how many things are printed on these days and these are all potential markers fpr augmented reality as well:
- Papers, magazines, books
- Bills, posters, decoration articles
- Packages and displays
- Screen (is not printed on ;-)) but can show images flexibly
- T-Shirts,… and many more
On this image a simple print-out serves as a marker and objects can be projected onto random positions.
Not only images, but forms can function as a marker as well. That way it is possible to digitally enhance unprinted objects. This technique works very well to enhance architectural prototypes, e.g. with digital information or to visualize conventional manuals directly onto the real product and show where something belongs together.
Motion based tracking
This technique is trickier, but it will quickly develop further as well. Cameras can recognize certain movements, e.g. from hands or from the face in front of the camera and they can determine e.g. the exact position.
It is for example also possible to control a device without any touch or spoken command, so somewhat more natural. Furthermore it is possible to e.g. project virtual objects onto a precise position on the face or soon also on the body and to perfect virtual fitting that way. An interesting possibility and not just for online shops.