Current Uses of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) makes the real-life environment around us into a digital interface by putting virtual objects in real-time.

Augmented Reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on the top of it unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment.

Augmented Reality can be seen through a variety of experiences. Recent developments have made this technology accessible using a smartphone which led to development of wide varity of augmented reality apps.

We have collected a few examples of augmented reality apps and how they can impact the future of mobile technology.

1. Medical

From operating MRI equipment to performing complex surgeries, AR tech holds the potential to boost the depth and effectiveness of medical training in many areas.

1. Augmented Surgery

Augmented reality will allow surgeons to precisely study their patients’ anatomy by entering their MRI data and CT scans into an AR headset and overlay specific patient anatomy on top of their body before actually going into surgery. 

Surgeons will be able to visualize bones, muscles, and internal organs without even having to cut open a body. This could also help them determine exactly where to make injections and incisions.

AR can not only be used to perform accurate and low-risk surgeries, but it can also help surgeons save time in the case of an emergency surgery. Instead of searching among papers or through electronic medical records, surgeons can have access to all of that information on their AR screen within seconds.

At hospitals like Imperial College and St. Mary’s Hospital in London, surgeons and doctors have already begun using Microsoft’s HoloLens AR glasses during reconstructive surgery on patients who have suffered severe injuries.

Before using AR, these surgeons had to use a handheld scanner to locate major blood vessels near the wound, but now their augmented reality system helps them find those major blood vessels directly and accurately by displaying them in a three-dimensional virtual image.

Examples of Applications – BioFlightVR, EchoPixel, Proximie, MedicalRealities and Help Lightning-Vipaar

2. Augmented Diagnosis

Augmented reality also makes it possible for doctors to better determine their patients’ symptoms and accurately diagnose them.

Often times patients struggle to accurately describe their symptoms to doctors, but with AR, patients can describe their symptoms better. For example, when patients come to the doctor’s for a basic shot, nurses can use AR to find veins easier.

AccuVein is an AR startup that uses a handheld scanner which then projects over skin and helps nurses determine where veins are.

Examples of Applications – EyeDecide, AccuVein, Augmedix, SentiAR, Atheer, Meta

3. Augmented Practice

Essentially, the idea for using AR in education is to simulate patient and surgical encounters for students to make all of their mistakes on AR rather than in a dissection lab or worse, in a real-life procedure.

How? Students will use AR so they can accurately learn about diagnosing patients with health conditions or take part in an AR surgical procedure.

AR technologies will also allow medical professionals to continuously observe and give feedback to students during their practice.

Another advantage of implementing AR into education is that training can now be made more systematic. Through an AR training program, doctors in training can practice on anything and everything that may come up in a real-life medical situation.

An example of this are AR apps that can be used to overlay anatomy data on a 3D human skeleton, giving them a better understanding of how the human body works. 

Examples of Applications – ImmersiveTouch, Touch Surgery

2. Gaming

Augmented reality gaming (AR gaming) is the integration of game visual and audio content with the user's environment in real time. Augmented reality allows gamers to experience digital game play in a real world environment.

AR games are typically played on devices like smartphones, tablets and portable gaming systems. These apps create mesmeric gaming experiences that use your actual surroundings:

1. Pokémon Go

Pokémon GO,  considered the breakthrough AR app for gaming, uses a smartphone’s camera, gyroscope, clock and GPS and to enable a location-based augmented reality environment.

A map of the current environment displays on the screen and a rustle of grass indicates the presence of a Pokémon

A tap of the touchscreen brings up the capture display. In AR mode, the screen displays Pokémon in the user’s real-world environment.

2. Zombie Go

Zombie games in AR are the real hit of today's gaming industry. Zombie GO is one prime example of outstanding Augmented Reality shooter games.

It brings zombie apocalypse into the real world, at least that's what the producer tell. As a player, you walk through your home, school or the nearest parking lot and expect zombies to pop up at any second.

Then action starts – fight and kill with a weapons of your choice.

3. Temple Treasure Hunt

Here is a geolocation Augmented Reality game for mysteries and myths lovers. One can play it both outdoors or inside, choosing one of the roles: treasure protector or treasure hunter. 

As a treasure protector, you have to create treasure trails. As a hunter, you’ll have to discover the treasure, of course.

Along the game, Indian mythological characters come up as treasure guardians. The game uses the real map of the location.

To play Temple Treasure Hunt, two scenarios exist. To create a trail of treasures, a player selects the respective role, in Outdoor mode places guardians on the interactive map, or places physical markers in Indoor mode.

To explore trails and find treasure, a player selects a role, checks with a map and looks around, keeping track of location markers to move in the right direction.

3. Sports and Entertainment

The use of augmented reality in sports is bringing about significant changes in the way people consume and enjoy sporting events.

It also provides valuable insights to professional players and coaches. This helps in improving their performances significantly.

1. On-field Decision Making

Augmented reality has hugely minimized human errors which can dramatically change the outcome of the event and provide fair play opportunities. Even a single human error by an official can cause huge implications for the players or teams involved.

Augmented reality provides the ability to review decisions that the players feel officials may have misjudged.

One of the widespread applications of augmented reality in sports is the Hawk-eye system. Hawk-eye is a computer-based augmented reality solution that is used in numerous sports such as tennis, badminton, soccer, and volleyball.

The technology visually tracks the trajectory of the ball or other objects to predict the most likely path of the object. Hawk-eye technology has become the go-to solution for event organizers due to its near-perfect accuracy.

2. Training

Training forms a vital part of any professional player’s career. Athletes are always looking to improve their game to get better results. Technologies prove to be an added bonus when it comes to training.

Augmented reality can significantly help professionals during training sessions. Augmented reality can overlay data over the real-world environment or incorporate data in pre-recorded videos.

This serves players so that they gain a better understanding of their playing style to help improve their game. Athletes can correct their actions and adopt better techniques by utilizing augmented reality in training sessions.

The technology can also be used to study strategies adopted by opponents and plan counteractive strategies.

Augmented reality also minimizes the chances of injury to players. Training practices adopted by players can be analyzed using augmented reality solutions.

Practices that can prove risky to the fitness of the players can be discarded. Augmented reality can help minimize, if not eliminate, the chance of injuries, prolonging a professional’s career.

3. Marketing

Any sporting event needs excellent marketing tools for it to become successful. Sports and advertising go hand in hand. Most of the sporting events have sponsorship in some form or another.

Players, teams, and organizers’ major revenues come from sponsorship and product marketing. Companies get a great opportunity to market their products during sporting events.

As these events are viewed by people all over the world, this provides an excellent medium to showcase products to a global audience. Technologies like augmented reality can enable engaging and interactive advertising.

The implementation of augmented reality in sports advertising has the capability to make every stand, brochure, or poster or even the field or stadium more entertaining.

Moreover, augmented reality solutions can help companies access information about customers. Such information is very helpful in making advertising decisions to make the ad campaigns more personalized.

Augmented reality can be used in conjunction with sports broadcasting as a marketing tool. The digital advertising boards displayed during broadcasts can be completely different than the one displayed on-field.

It provides great advertising opportunities for multiple companies while reducing costs. Local companies can have their ads displayed on digital banners which can be viewed differently depending upon the viewer’s location.

The Virtual Hybrid LED digiBOARD is an excellent example of targeted advertisements using augmented reality.

The advertising seen on the LED perimeter boards in the broadcast coverage is completely different in the targeted territories from the ads displayed to the fans in the stadium, and across domestic coverage and the world feed.

4. Retail

In today's physical retail environment, shoppers are using their smartphones more than ever to compare prices or look up additional information on products they're browsing.

World famous motorcycle brand Harley Davidson is one great instance of a brand making the most of this trend, by developing an AR app that shoppers can use in-store.

Users can view a motorcycle they might be interesting in buying in the showroom, and customize it using the app to see which colors and features they might like.

5. Public Safety

In the event of an emergency today, people will immediately reach for their smartphone to find out what's going on, where to go, and whether their loved ones are safe.

Moreover, first responders arrive on the scene of a fire or earthquake trying to figure out who needs help, and the best way to get them to safety. AR is showing promise in solving both pieces of the public safety puzzle.

First responders wearing AR glasses can be alerted to danger areas, and show in real-time individuals that need assistance while enabling to still be aware of their surroundings.

For those in need, geolocation enabled AR can show them directions, and the best route to, safe zones and areas with firefighters or medics.

6. Clasroom Education

While technology like tablets have become widespread in many schools and classrooms, teachers and educators are now ramping up student's learning experience with AR.

The Aurasma app, for example, is already being used in classrooms so that students can view their classes via a smartphone or tablet for a more rich learning environment.

Students learning about astronomy might see a full map of the solar system, or those in a music class might be able to see musical notes in real time as they learn to play an instrument.

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