Exploring the Practicality of AR

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Exploring the Practicality of AR

This collection of AR use cases hopes to expand developers' thoughts of AR beyond gaming and into eCommerce, education, and healthcare.

· IoT Zone ·
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Over the years, AR has become mainstream in the world of entertainment. Gamers welcomed the adoption of AR tech. The technology allowed for more immersive experiences. AR mobile app games such as Pokémon Go, Zombie Go, etc. went viral in a short span of time. These apps were able to keep users hooked on the game. But while AR has penetrated the gaming industry and market, non-gamers — people like me— don’t seem to think of AR technology as revolutionary. On the flipside, we feel isolated.

In this blog, we will try to understand the practical uses of augmented reality (AR). Here is a bit of history about AR:

1. The first functional AR systems were invented in 1992 – for the U.S. Air Force.

2. Bruce H. Thomas develops ARQuake, the first outdoor mobile AR game in 2000.

3. Google announces beta testing Google Glass in 2013.

4. Mahei creates augmented reality enhanced educational toys in 2014.

5. Microsoft announces Windows Holographic and the HoloLens augmented reality headset in 2015.

6. Pokémon Go is released for iOS and Android in 2016.

Previously, AR was limited to the entertainment industry. However, apps that used AR for simple things generated more interest and excitement among users.

Brands like Coca-Cola and Ikea have already used AR in their marketing strategy. And these apps were welcomed by users. Based on this data, many tech researchers believe that augmented reality will outgrow the entertainment arena and reach other practical functions.

Practical Examples of AR

AR Apps in eCommerce

Although it may seem like an odd combination, AR has many great applications in eCommerce. Despite the penetration of online shopping, many of us prefer shopping in a traditional brick-and-mortar store. This is because, when shopping in a physical store, all our senses work in tandem. Meaning we can feel the fabric, smell a perfume, see how a lipstick changes color in different lighting conditions, etc. These aren’t possible in online shopping.

While a few organizations tried to beat this by providing samples that customers can try at home before they purchase, it only added to their costs. AR apps can solve this challenge by bridging the gap between the online store and the physical store. A few good applications of AR in eCommerce are seen by companies like Ikea, Cambria, Wayfair, Overstock, etc.

AR Apps in Education

From a distance, AR seems to be great for the education industry. The technology uses impressive graphics, which is an attraction for children.

SMARTBoards were considered revolutionary with their touch-screen whiteboards. Now, with the integration of immersive and interactive technology, schools are expected to be the biggest adopters of AR tech. Maybe in the not-so-distant future, children will learn using AR kits and AR apps. Unlike VR, AR apps don’t need additional instruments. This makes it easy for both the developers and users.

AR gives educators the chance to enhance student engagement and their learning. The apps can be used to animate historical timelines, present galaxy structures, turn illustrations into 3D images, etc. the scope is unlimited. In essence, what AR tries to do is make lessons and studying more interactive.

AR Apps in Healthcare

Dr. Rafael J. Grossmann became the first person to perform an operation using Google glass. He thinks that these type of operations will be commonplace in the future.

HoloLens – an AR tool by Microsoft — is currently being used to assist in spinal surgery. The tool projects visuals on a patient to help guide the surgeon through the operation. With the help of such tools, doctors can effectively operate on their patients. A patient’s vital information such as heartbeat rate, blood pressure, etc. can be displayed through AR.

While many of us think that doctors using technology to operate is absurd, developers are trying hard to make healthcare safer and smarter. There might be a time in the future when robots with artificial intelligence will operate on us! Until then, we need to trust our doctors and their AR devices. Not just for operations, AR can be used to train aspiring doctors.


If we look past the games and the trivial entertainment apps, AR holds a plethora of opportunities to enhance our daily lives.

Although developers are still grappling with user acceptance, AR technology is expected to generate almost USD 120 billion in revenue by 2020. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that AR is going places, making our realities a little more augmented, but a lot more dynamic.

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Published at DZone with permission of Robby Gupta , DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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