Markerless ARThis tech utilizes special recognition algorithms. The whole area observed by your camera is covered with a virtual grid. Algorithms place several "anchor points" across the grid to determine where a certain virtual model will appear. The main advantage of this technique is that real-world objects serve as markers by default. Therefore there is no need to create any specific visual identifiers.
Marker-based ARAlthough this method needs unique markers or tags to work with, it is often used in developing augmented reality products. Smartphone cameras detect markers without any problems and provide much better tracking for virtual models. Marker-based technology has proved to be more reliable than markerless and works almost flawlessly most of the time.
Location-based ARThis approach ties AR content to a certain location in the physical world. It requires information from your GPS, gyroscope, and compass to calculate the coordinates for virtual objects to appear. The augmented reality magic kicks in when the app's coordinates match with the user's coordinates.
EducationDeveloping augmented reality apps can improve the learning experience for students. They will benefit from inspecting virtual objects from different angles by moving holograms or rotating them in space. This alone can revolutionize the approach to learning in biology, anatomy, cosmology, and more. Some advanced AR apps can even run scientific and mathematical simulations in 3D space, allowing viewing the results from any angle. It is possible to see how certain medications affect various organs in the human body. This type of learning is going to be more memorable and easier to understand by students.
Appliances and furniture productionThere are already dozens of apps that can add virtual products to your home environment. Point your device, click on the product, and see how it blends into the interior. Any appliances and furniture (plus their size and colors) can be changed on the fly. This is an excellent implementation of AR technology as it lets consumers visualize room decorations and find matching colors before purchasing. Seeing a product in a real environment before buying can make a whole world of difference and deliver more positive impressions.
Clothing and fashionAR simulates an in-person shopping experience online by allowing customers to see how a product might look on them. For example, you can see if a jacket or pair of new sneakers will fit your style. Basically, AR creates a private virtual fitting room. Smartphones, smart glasses, and wearable devices will provide a bulk of such experiences. Another cool way to use AR in this regard is by building public smart mirrors that facilitate shopping and fitting experiences.
Outdoor and indoor navigationWith the achievements of modern AR development, our everyday life can be much easier if we allow the tech to navigate us in outdoor/indoor environments. For indoors, a digitally drawn overlay on the ground may guide you towards a destination in a busy area (airport, mall, college campus, etc.). For outdoors, forget about address typing in your go-to map app – just select a point and watch the directions appear out of nowhere. Follow the AR-created trail on the ground and mind your business. Another nice trick with AR would be to "click" on anything tangible and receive info about it.
HealthcareAR will play a big role in the future of this sector. Augmented reality tools can educate patients and help them understand certain procedures. A simple visual demonstration or simulation can be enough to ease the stress before an operation or persuade a patient to take one. Also, AR can help doctors prepare for action. Apart from that, medical students in some colleges already have access to apps with super accurate and detailed representations of the human body.
Automotive industryAR heads-up displays can help drivers process information more efficiently. This type of display indicates potential hazards occurring ahead of the vehicle. They can also make navigation easier with customized visuals that are tailored to the terrain. Renowned car manufacturers like Nissan, Audi, and Volvo already use this tech in their products. Additionally, AR development can be helpful in automotive marketing. How about checking out the car you wanted to buy without leaving your home? With modern AR apps, it is a piece of cake.
SportsAmerican Major Baseball League is already exploring the possibility of using analytics data from baseball tracking systems to create AR experiences. Lots of information is being collected during each match to build a virtual space where fans can hang out and watch games. It is highly likely that this method will be adapted for other popular sports such as football, golf, basketball, and some others to provide a unique AR experience to fans.
To bring Quake onto the streets of their home city, the developers from Wearable Computer Lab had to create a mobile game station. They managed to produce a working prototype that was more than playable (for the first outdoor AR game ever made).
The project was called ARQuake. The original game's source code was relatively simple, which allowed developers to write algorithms that could modulate the correct behavior for textures. Plus, it could be played in real-time. The devs added light invisible textures with collision to simulate physical objects, while players could only see things from the real world.
Ingress lets you become an agent and join one of the conflicting factions. The main goal is to conquer the planet. This game motivates you to explore the real world while interacting with the points of interest marked on the global map. So instead of wandering in another fantasy environment, you will be walking the augmented streets of your native city. There is no other way to unlock a location apart from going to it on foot. To make this concept work, the developers from Niantic used Google maps and its resources in combination with Internet + GPS. Such implementation did not require fiducial markers and additional devices to determine the player's position in space.
Pokémon GO (2016)
An app for those who want to become Pokémon trainers. All you need is a smartphone with Internet and GPS. The game is mainly about exploring because it never shows players the exact locations of monsters. Still, you get some hints on where to look for them. The game will notify you when you pass near the area where a pokemon is hiding. After that, prepare your Pokeball and try to catch your prey.
Apart from exploring, the gameplay in this addictive AR game is simple but ingenious. Here is the global map with pokestops and gyms. The stops provide various items such as pokeballs, eggs, and potions (you will need those to power up your bestiary). Gyms are places for team fights. Both these points of interest use the same portal concept from Ingress (yes, Pokemon GO is also a Niantic product).
Better complex visualizationsHoloLens is better for viewing something more complex than just a few virtual objects layered one on another. Talk about schematics, building plans, sophisticated models, fiber-optic cables, and so on. Microsoft's gadget has the depth perception that is so much needed in such cases. This feature immensely simplifies the work with complex 3D objects.
Hands-freeWith AR, working or playing on your smartphone requires you constantly point and move the camera. But some jobs require free hands to perform certain activities, which renders phone-based tools useless. With HoloLens on, your hands are free for physical work while your eyes are focusing on reading information. Displaying guides, notes, or manuals in AR overlays greatly improves working capabilities.
More convenienceSome environments are dangerous for traditional electronic devices; some can be limited in space making a tablet or smartphone unsuitable for the job. However, if you need visual instructions on how to do the thing, HoloLens can save the day.