The future is now, especially when you look back to where digital-first started. When comparing the gadgets and devices of today from twenty or even ten years ago, it can be quite deceiving. Many of us think that smartphones have been here forever- but they only became popular around ten years ago.
Before that, analog devices were still quite popular, in comparison to the almost digitally exclusive world of today. On top of a multitude of smart devices and the “always-on” philosophy many tech developers now have, the tech of today is a far cry from what it was.
But none is more futuristic than one innovation: augmented reality or AR. This piece of technology was once considered to be exclusively within the realm of science fiction, but today, we enjoy its benefits and can even look forward to its innovations. Below are some of the ways we’re using AR, and what we can expect from it.
The ability to buy goods online isn’t where we end the line, no. Using augmented reality, the retail industry is pushing the limits of technology and sales. It has many uses, from letting you see which furniture works best in your space before buying it to guiding you when navigating a physical store. Clothing shops are now even using AR imaging to show customers how they would look like wearing clothes from the store, which is of particular concern nowadays, as minimal physical contact is still encouraged.
Sports and Virtual Reality
It’s already established that AR can be used to teach, but it’s also an excellent way to train someone in the field of sports. Augmented reality can be used to enhance many of the traditional forms of sports training, and it can even offer an entirely new experience. The future of AR sports training is something to look forward to. Indoor golf driving range can be further enhanced by contrasting your technique versus that of a professional, allowing you to copy the exact pose of yoga instructors, and more. While many of these features already exist in one form or another, AR makes these features even more accessible.
Futuristic Way of Navigation
Among the earliest uses of augmented reality are navigation and tracking. Jet pilots would have their vehicle’s information in their helmets through the basic but effective projection of data. But today, we can project more complex information- through almost any glass surface. Of course, smartphones still are the preferred medium, but this has resulted in a through-the-camera approach to navigating. Arrows and markers would point you in the correct direction, whether you’re walking on foot or driving a car.
Many car manufacturers are beginning to integrate this into car windshields, allowing for minimal interference while still being able to provide crucial data. This is accomplished by turning the windshield into a giant heads-up display (HUD), drivers can keep their eyes on the road while still knowing their fuel meter, speed, or even directions.
As a Remote Working Tool
Imagine a doctor operating on a patient, but the doctor is wearing a headset that allows them to see critical information without looking at a monitor. This isn’t science fiction anymore, this is reality. And this is just one of the work-related uses of augmented reality. While this is a more sensitive and high-pressure scenario, AR in the workplace has a vast amount of potential.
Factory and plant managers can now interact with their environment with confidence that they can pull up any information required, reducing the risk of human error even more. Even within the customer service industry, AR is now being used. An IT technician can help clients remotely, with the client’s camera being a form of smart AR the technician can interact with, allowing them to give accurate guidance. The possibilities are endless, and we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of work-related AR technology.
Virtual Schools and Education
Teachers and instructors can utilize AR to make their classes more efficient. One example is the case of 3D modeling: a student can see real-time whether a 3D model they’re working on is accurate, being able to rotate and move it within a virtual space. Or medical school students, having a reference guide pulled up while inspecting a specimen. There is a high potential in AR to improve student’s concentration, and also showing relevant information while doing a related task.
Implementing these AR innovations in a widespread manner is only a matter of time. As the technology refines itself and AR devices get cheaper, more and more people will have access to such wonderful technology. And once more people have access to it, the general efficiency of our society will increase.