Augmented reality (AR) is increasingly becoming a common part of daily life. It has for some time been a fixture of certain sci-fi films — such as the Terminator series and Minority Report — to show a constant flow of information appearing in a headset display or on a holographic terminal. Yet these early and somewhat fanciful, depictions of AR are now giving way to actual day-to-day augmented reality use cases.
IKEA creates many of its catalogue images via virtual photography; now customers can use these images as the basis of an AR experience, viewing the 3D images in the real-world environment around them to get the look and feel of, say, how a piece of furniture might fit in. A wide range of products available on Amazon can now be viewed in AR in this way, as well. And AR uses are not limited to retail opportunities; journalists and news organisations, including The New York Times, are using AR to present news stories with greater depth and impact. AR has successfully been used in the classroom, for medical education and even for military training.
The uses of this remarkable technology are plentiful. Hollywood science fiction has been superseded by actual science fact.
But the amazing AR experiences being created today only scratch the surface of what the medium is capable of. AR applications understand the world around the device, augmenting the physical world with digital text, images, objects and sounds. The best AR experiences create a seamless blending of digital information with interactive, connected, multimedia content and the rich depth of the physical world.
“AR is the way technology will seamlessly blend in every aspect of our lives to help us to achieve our goals,” says Stefano Corazza, fellow and head of AR at Adobe.