People have always been curious about the unknown, unraveled, and unproven. We have this urge to go beyond reality and discover what’s hiding under the darkest layer of veils in the physical world. The curiosity of the brightest minds led to the development of society and has pushed us to become the sophisticated beings that we are at present.
With every tiny step, we moved closer to a world of our dreams where everything seemed to be new and a notch higher than the predecessor. Technological innovations have revolutionized the whole channel that we have been accustomed to for the longest span. It has brought us to the forefront of a certain infrastructure that is unique, powerful, and encourages innovation. The rapid expansion of digital resources, decentralized tools, and virtual world ecosystems shows how keen we are to take the next giant leap in the extended reality realm.
Thinking about the most popular technological trends of the past decades brings us back to the concept of AR (augmented reality), which became a rage among people across the globe. The technology came to light around 2016 when Pokémon Go introduced people to a new form of gaming. The game made it possible for users to interact with their favorite Pokémon characters that were superimposed on the real world with a smartphone. This was the first step towards augmented reality, and today we can see the industry unleashing many new opportunities for growth and innovation. Augmented reality has made striking use cases in the world of metaverse technology as well.
What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality allows users to experience an enhanced version of the real world, where one can find interactive digital elements. AR apps facilitate visual, auditory, and other interactive sensory information in real-world ecosystems to enhance user experience.
The most widely used AR applications and software work seamlessly on smartphones. They can help users access a digital, augmented world in a simple process. All you need to do is to switch on your smartphone camera and view the world around you on the screen, and the AR app will enhance the experience of viewing the real world via digital overlays with things such as:
- Inclusion of labels
- Superimposing 3D models, pictures, and other digital information
- The insertion of real-time directions in navigation apps
- Fluctuating colors reacting to situational changes
- Changes in user appearance or their environment using filters on Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
Today, a plethora of devices support AR, and the list is continually growing. This includes glasses, screens, handy devices, and head-mounted displays. Unlike virtual reality (VR), where we explore virtual spaces, AR allows us to experience an ecosystem that integrates digital components within the existing environment. It has evolved into one of the fastest-expanding XR technologies. A major reason for this is its wide-scale accessibility. The technology is so widely used that one can now easily find a big volume of consumers with a tool giving access to AR in their pockets.
High-tech smartphones packed with high-resolution cameras and intelligent processing capacities are the best incubators for augmented reality tools. But they are not the only interface to experience AR as the scope of this tech is huge. Coming out of the gaming sector, augmented reality has proliferated into a variety of different domains and has proved its mettle in revolutionizing them. For instance, AR algorithms are used to assist surgeons in medical procedures and guide engineers who make the best use of advanced technology. The use of modern-day, advanced smart glasses offers exposure to more hands-free experiences for users.
Back in the 1990s, we witnessed this technology in its basic form via heads-up displays being used in military aircraft to give information about the speed, direction, and height of planes. A major breakthrough came twenty years later when the MIT Media Lab group launched the first wearable gesture interface called SixthSense, which combined the real world around us with digital elements. In 2013, Google came up with the first-ever smart glasses branded as Google Glass. Despite all the hype, the product didn’t reach its full potential in the market.
The most vivid experimentation with AR came in 2016 when several big companies launched innovative projects using the tech to lure customers. As previously mentioned, the AR game Pokémon Go was the first significant breakthrough for the AR industry, and in no time, it emerged as a global sensation and brought augmented reality to the limelight. Users enjoyed access to this immersive technology that could enhance their usual experiences. It has since opened up new opportunities for individuals as well as the corporate world.
Are There Multiple Versions Of AR?
Ever since the growth of AR technology, there have been discussions on different types of digital augmentation that experts can explore.
These apps get triggered by exclusive pictures or markers captured by smartphone cameras to place digital components on top of them. Markers can represent objects or visuals like a logo or QR code.
These apps don’t rely on markers and allow the user to choose where to display the content. They depend on the camera, accelerometer, GPS, and compass to collect information about the surroundings. The different types of markerless AR technology include:
Superimposition-based AR – identifies the object in the real world and replaces it from the original view, either partially or completely.
Projection-based AR – does not require a display tool as it projects light onto a surface to showcase digital objects.
Location-based AR – provides augmentation in certain places by using the GPS and compass for positioning the virtual object at the desired place. Pokemon Go was based on this AR technology.
Use Cases Of Augmented Reality
AR has opened a new era in the retail industry. The technology allows customers to try products before purchasing. For instance, IKEA’s IKEA Place app helps users to place furniture in multiple spaces within their homes digitally so that they are able to visualize the entire setting before purchasing.
With augmented reality apps, learning is more interactive and engaging for students. This technology helps to make educational tools more accessible and adaptable. Teachers are able to use visual representations to explain particular topics.
It can facilitate speedy prototyping and remote aid in maintenance processes. Augmented reality helps to streamline the manufacturing cluster and, at the same time, reduces the burden on staff members.
The use of AR in the logistics industry helps to enhance the efficiency of the system. It helps to reduce costs involved in warehousing and transportation. AR-supported tools will guide staff in a warehouse and help to speed up the working process.
Metaverse And Augmented Reality: Augmented Metaverse
The use of AR in the metaverse is paving the way for the augmented metaverse, which aims to unlock the hidden potential of virtual ecosystems. Technology can transform our society in a huge way leaving us with the best technological wonders. Experts have proposed that by 2024 the world might see the first fully operable AR glasses developed by top manufacturing firms. This will speed up market penetration as augmented reality will be used to gain access to critical layers of information.
Out of all of the catalysts that are used in building the metaverse cluster, AR stands out as an undisputed leader. It is AR that helps to bring the metaverse closer to the original environment. The use of AR enhances the overall digital experience for users and offers a perfect combination of physical and virtual components. The technology provides a necessary link between the real and the digital worlds by striking a balance between the two. With AR, the metaverse opens up new opportunities for immersive connections, free interaction, and secure collaborative working.
Metaverse firms use AR to captivate the attention of their customers by allowing them to enjoy a spectacular vision of the physical and digital worlds. This helps increase physical engagement with digital tools, getting users accustomed to new technologies. The augmented metaverse is certainly the most exhaustive interaction tool in the industry. The technology helps developers and creators use online and offline infrastructure for building potent projects. 3D content created for digital spaces can be infused into the metaverse and AR ecosystems to generate substantial value from the project.
The use of mixed reality interfaces brings higher engagement rates when compared to traditional portals. These tools offer greater personal engagement and connection for the user, allowing them to immerse themselves in exciting customer experiences. The exhilarating combination of the metaverse and augmented reality adds a ‘wow’ element to this huge pool of digital technologies.