Augmented Reality: 8 Key Uses: Page 2

Augmented reality use is trending upward with virtual reality, yet augmented reality use cases are very different.


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6) Reference & Guidance

Most AR reference guides are designed around viewing your surroundings, the app recognizes it, and pulls in information. For example, GeoTravel is a worldwide travel guide with a huge reference library. It packs 3.6 million articles in over 20 languages from all over the world, the equivalent of 20,000 printed travel guide books. Simply point and it recognizes where you are and shows you points of interest and places within the city you want to visit.

Several car makers, including BMW and Volkswagen, had created their own AR apps to help assist mechanics in performing car repairs. However, the vendor that made the app used to provide the AR overlay, Meta.io, was acquired by Apple in 2015 and has stopped selling products. It remains to be seen what Apple's plans are for Meta.io.

In the meantime, there is a joint effort between the US Army and Columbia University's Computer Graphics and User Interface Lab to create a system that guides you as you make repairs. Augmented Reality for Maintenance and Repair, or ARMAR, is a head-mounted display unit that provides graphic overlays to provide instruction while making repairs. A recent test found ARMAR can cut maintenance times in half. It has yet to be commercialized, though.

7) Health Care

Few professions have a larger library of reference material than medicine, and even the best doctors can't keep it all in their head. So augmented reality is providing in various forms of reference and guidance to the medical profession.

London-based doctor Shafi Ahmed has used Google Glass to perform live operations streamed to roughly 14,000 students in 32 countries and is now using specialized cameras through his company Medical Realities to provide 360-degree videos on YouTube from the operating room.

ARnatomy is an app that uses the camera to identify replicas of human bones, and when the user places a bone in front of the camera, it identifies which bone it is and adds visuals pointing to all of the parts of the bone, such as where muscles attach.

Finally, AccuVein is a handheld scanner that projects over skin and shows a nurses or other technician where veins are in the patient's body, so they can get an accurate needle stick if giving a shot or drawing blood.

8) Retail

It's the age-old nuisance of clothing shopping: trying things on. So some vendors are trying to spare you that ritual. American Apparel, known for its brightly colored clothing, has a scanner app that lets customers scan various products with their smartphone and see how it looks in different colors.

Then there are the specialized apps. Sandwich shop Quiznos teamed with Winvolve to build something similar in 2010, featuring a store locater, 3D animations, coupons based on the user's location and videos.

Block maker Lego introduced AR kiosks called Lego X back in 2010 where a customer holds the box of a model they intend to purchase in front of the AR monitor and it shows what the model will look like when completed. Lego X also works for tablets by rendering whatever creation someone builds with Legos as a 3D model.

For women struggling to find the right makeup that works for them, Shisedo has an augmented reality makeup mirror from which takes an image of a shopper’s face and tries on various cosmetics, so the buyer will see how they would look with the makeup on. However, it's only available in Japan.

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Tags: augmented reality, virtual reality

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