What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality has advanced to where you can try on a pair of funny socks or a shirt without a fitting room.
As it becomes more developed, we see more companies using it as an amazing marketing strategy.
As it becomes more popular it also becomes more advanced. It may even be on the level as Virtual Reality soon.
Even though Augmented Reality (AR) is similar, it should not be confused with Virtual Reality (VR). AR is created by adding things to your current reality, not by making something entirely new.
A great example of this would be the face filters we all enjoy on Snapchat. It combines your face and surroundings with an animated or altered version of something.
It has actually been around for quite a while but in recent years it has been picked up by more companies. Over the past 10 years, a lot of brands have started implementing AR versions of their products.
Most created something small for a single promotion, but some brands stuck with it. The popularity spiked when smartphones added a GPS and Camera feature as well as the ability to process it all.
The more popular it gets the more online stores we will see popping up. AR has almost become the new digital fitting room where you can try stuff on without having to buy it first.
The Difference Between Augmented and Virtual Reality
Virtual and Augmented reality both fall under the same umbrella when it comes to technology, but they are used in different ways.
On occasion, they can both be used for similar things. However, one adds something fake into reality while the other makes up its own world.
If you look into both, VR is used more for gaming and simulations where you see a new reality inside a game. On the other hand, AR is mainly used for shopping, simulations, and in some cases also gaming.
A simpler way to put it is that VR is for exploring the possibilities of travel without going anywhere. While AR is for exploring the possibilities of what your going to buy or use for your actual travels.
What Is The Purpose Of Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality focuses on your surroundings and manipulating things that the camera is being pointed at. Things will be altered since there is a base being used to make the images appear.
A lot of companies will use augmented reality as a way to show their products on you or in your home. AR has a lot of uses for shopping and small simulations that won't completely affect your surroundings.
IKEA has an app that allows you to put the furniture in your house to see how it looks. Similar to that, Converse has an app that will show what a certain shoe will look like on your feet.
A few clothing companies have also tried to make apps that put outfits together for you or apps that will show how clothes look on you. From wearing a shirt to funny socks the clothes can be shown anywhere.
There are also new AR games and apps being produced that will give you facts and information on where you're located or what you're doing. It is a new form of getting information that's interactive.
A good game to think of is Pokemon Go, where you can catch Pokemon at your house or local park. Location apps, filters, and things that track your surroundings can also be considered AR.
Anything that looks through your camera to create new images, even if it'sfor a game or a virtual fitting room, it's considered augmented reality.
How Is Virtual Reality Used?
Virtual reality creates a new world around you, it takes everything and changes it into something new. You could be exploring Mars or Mt Everest while you're sitting in your room.
Things like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift help the world around you change into something else. When you wear the gear your mind is transported somewhere else so you can experience something new.
It can be used for marketing purposes like AR but most of the time it's being used for entertainment. People will usually use VR technology as an extension of video gaming instead of any other feature.
Are There Any Brands That Are Using It Currently?
A lot of larger and forward-thinking companies are starting to create apps and headsets that help customers experience their products in AR or VR.
The top brands that are using apps for this are IKEA, L'Oreal, and Converse. They are the ones who have stood above the rest and continued to use this form of marketing.
Other companies have also used AR in the past but most of them used it for certain promotions. Kate Spade, Cadbury, the New York Times, and other famous brands have used it during a specific event.
Some companies even use it inside their stores. Uniqlo put a magic mirror in a few select stores that show how different clothes look on someone. It's like an augmented reality clothes selector.
The customer puts on a specific coat and the mirror will correspond with whatever you choose online to see what it would look like on you. LEGO also added AR versions of finished sets to show customers what it will look like after they buy them.
No other brands have done this exact thing, but many are trying different forms to keep up. Even if it's just showing how a pair of funny socks will look on you, many are trying to perfect it.
Are Any Brands Planning On Using It?
As of now, Facebook has added a new feature to help online stores out. It's just getting started so it isn't an advanced or popular system yet.
You can start trying on clothes virtually and see if they are a good fit. Just click on the pants, shirt, or even a pair of white socks that are for sale and it should appear on you in a cartoon fashion.
It won't be exact but it can show you how it will loosely look. From shirts to funny socks each piece of clothing can be tested as long as the company has been allowed to use this feature.
Other brands are also starting to try new things and expand their horizons in the technology field. As augmented reality gets better, more brands will pick it up. It already has a draw but it isn't perfect yet.
How Does It Actually Look?
It's still fairly new so it isn't as realistic as it will be in the future. You can get a good grasp of where it's at by looking at Snapchat filters and Pokemon Go.
They're both great apps but each one still has its own flaws. The animation still looks very cartoon-like but with each passing year, it gets better and better.
You can already see the leaps we've made with animation in films like Star Wars and Ready Player One. As more movies start adding in more detailed animation, all other forms of media grow with it.
As soon as one becomes better the rest follow the lead. In the future, you may have Snapchat filters that are so realistic you won't know what to believe.
However, that's how the future might look, we can only wait and see. As of now, we have apps that can change our face around and show us how clothes like funny socks or a nice pair of sunglasses will look on our bodies.
We will also see more virtual reality companies coming into focus. Soon the world we live in might be inside a screen.
What Does The Future Hold For AR and VR?
Virtual and Augmented reality has already made some huge steps, but it's only the beginning. A lot of programs and apps are being made to be more functional for daily life.
When it comes to VR it's already being used for testing in different fields. The medical field is even using simulations so the students can practice with a realistic version of what they may encounter.
Each demo can be controlled and different scenarios can be given compared to a cadaver or mannequin. These methods can be taught for more real world example so when it comes to the field, people will be more prepared.
Meanwhile, the future of augmented reality is slowly being implemented in careers that involve building or structuring things like Architecture and Construction. Wearing things similar to google glasses can show how to build something or where a certain part needs to go.
This technology is making leaps and bounds every day as it gets more advanced. Soon the images that they produce will seem life-like instead of the animated vibe they currently have.
Both of them are still starting out so it will be a few years before we see the more realistic versions of games and virtual life.
We'll just have to wait and see where it heads.