Humans are designing new technologies every day to make their lives easier, and augmented reality (AR) is one such technology designed for the sole purpose of the betterment of human life. Augmented reality is the technology that expands the physical world by adding layers of digital information into it. The typical functionality of AR is to display various pictures, texts or even 3D models over real-world perceived by the users. It is a growing field with applications that will make life easier by giving access to a computer with simple gestures and voice commands.
Augmented reality is not designed to replace users of virtual reality (VR) but rather to improvise VR with additional contextually relevant content. Augmented reality is a technology which was started in 1960, but it works differently than the virtual reality technology. AR gives users a real experience of living in a virtual world and at the same time makes them experience reality. VR, on the other hand, puts the user directly in the virtual world. The purpose of AR is to improve the understanding and draw the attention in certain areas or objects or help a user to complete a task.
AR is used for multiple applications such as designs, games, sports, industrial, simulators and many more. Companies all around the world are embracing this technology with open hands, and their enthusiasm stems from the fact that AR can dramatically improve productivity thereby reducing the costs of training, employee education and workplace safety. As the augmented reality is introduced, companies all around the world are implementing this technology in their products to increase the profit. For example, General Electric (GE) is using augmented reality to improve their productivity considerably. One such study shows that an engineer using augmented reality to wind the wires of a wind turbine control box during the manufacturing process improved their performance by 34% on first use – which is statistically significant.
AR in retail brings better customer engagement and retention, as well as brand awareness and more sales. Some features also help customers make wiser purchases – providing product data with 3D models of any size or colour. Real-estate can also benefit from AR through 3D tours of apartments and houses, that can also be manipulated to amend some parts.
Other potential areas for AR include:
AR can be displayed on a variety of devices: screens, glasses, handheld devices, mobile phones, head-mounted displays. It includes various technologies like S.L.A.M. (simultaneous localisation and mapping), depth tracking (briefly, a sensor data calculating the distance to the objects), and the uses the following components:
Augmented reality is being used as a leading technology in the domain of education, archaeology, forensics, retail, entertainment, healthcare, real estate, science and manufacturing. It provides some unique digital experiences to the customers.