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Augmented reality is a relatively new computer technology used to enhance visual effect. It is quickly gaining acceptance in the entertainment industry and commerce. It has been used for marketing toys by Bandai, a toy manufacturer. Some industries use the technology in engineering projects.
Moreover, the technology can be used for maintenance of simple household appliances. However, the major application of this technology is in commerce and entertainment. This paper explores various applications of augmented reality and its effect.
Augmented reality is a computer technology where virtual information is integrated into a real world perception. This technology may be used to enhance the real world perception for commercial purposes.
A person using augmented reality technology perceives images that consist of virtual vision and reality merged together to create a detailed representation of the targeted object.
Three-Dimensional View and Marketing
One software manufacturer, Aurasma, has partnered with Bandai, a toy manufacturer, to employ augmented reality technology in marketing of toys. Children will have the opportunity to use mobile phones to get a three dimensional view of the toys while they are still in their packaging material (Brandon, 2012).
Although this is a costly venture, it will enable the toy manufacturer to sell more toys due to the attractive and innovative packaging. When customers view the toys before they are unpacked, they are emotionally induced to purchase them.
Aurasma’s technology does not only apply to toys alone, but the application can put a real world scene anywhere in its context and display a closely related object, text, movie, or landscape (Nelson, 2012). Another notable application is Blippar.
This technology uses a camera to identify the field of vision, and then it generates related information (Greenleigh, 2012). Blippar is suited for marketing since it is able to provide additional information about the products in the field of view. It is obviously a valuable tool for advertisement.
The first trial for Blippar involved Ketchup tomato sauce. When the sauce bottle was in the field of view, Blippar application generated an image of the bottle from the internet with additional information such as recipes and shopping guides (Greenleigh, 2012).
Trylive eyewear also markets its products through augmented reality. A camera on a mobile phone captures the facial image of a potential customer. It is then possible for the customer to try on eyewear on the internet. This is useful for internet marketing where potential customers are not able to physically fit the eye wear (Theme 640, 2009).
Since fitting of eyewear can be done on the internet using augmented reality, it is not necessary for the retailer to bring the retail outlet near the customer. This technology increase sales by evoking confidence (Theme 640, 2009).
Application of Augmented Reality for Maintenance
Augmented reality is also becoming useful at workplaces. This technology is gradually replacing instructors in training programs and making it easy for firms to manage their human resource. Communication becomes easier since the manager does not have to be physically present to issue instructions.
KARMA is an augmented reality technology for engineering applications. It uses a set of visual displays to provide information about a machine undergoing repair or maintenance. The displays are worn on the head and are used to indicate parts of the machine undergoing maintenance (Feiner et al., 2012).
Additional information is also provided by machine. Such application of augmented reality at the workplace replaces complicated manuals that are used in maintenance of machines in industrial setups. However, this technology can also be used for maintenance and operation of simple devices such as printers (Feiner et al., 2012).
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In addition to efficiency, Karma technology minimizes use of labor and financial resources in preparation of manuals and presentations for industrial environments. For students and interns, learning becomes easier since the visual kit can guide them on how to operate, repair, or maintain a machine (Feiner et al., 2012).
Any part of a machine that has been obscured can be identified by the vision kit and an image displayed for the user to see a virtual representation of the object.
Another notable augmented reality technology application is the Arthur project. It is intended for use at the workplace in an environment that requires highly skilled personnel. Several vision kits have been designed by Ericson labs for use by skilled engineers and planners.
The vision kits are fitted with cameras that enable them to integrate virtual images with the real world perception (Penn, 2012). When the glasses are used on a real model, they can help in illustrating design changes.
A complex model such as that of a metropolitan area building can be analyzed by several experts who have the special augmented reality vision kits. Aspects of design can then be changed by any of the experts while others observe the action on their vision kits (Penn, 2012).
Thus, the team can effectively discuss their model on a round table without having to prepare graphical representations of the project on paper. This makes communication among the discussing parties easier.
Any changes to be effected on the model can be done immediately without having to remodel the real representation (Penn, 2012). All kits used by the parties at a meeting are synchronized such that each person sees an accurate three dimensional model and the additional parts.
This kind of augmented reality application is also suitable for boardroom discussions where experts present their proposed models to teams or supervisors (Penn, 2012). Although this technology is costly, it can be a useful tool for planning and design of delicate products.
Augmented reality technology is an important tool for ensuring that schedules are adhered to, and that a particular project is going according to plan. The augmented reality kit stores pictures of the continuing project and the date they were taken (Pro, 2011).
These pictures are then compared to the images of the expected results of the project. This way, managers are able to determine whether the project is on schedule. A Budget is determined by the schedule in any project, particularly engineering projects (Pro, 2011).
Since the application of augmented reality saves time and keeps the project on schedule, the total cost of the project is reduced. Progress can be monitored using augmented reality technology.
The cost effectiveness of this technology arises from its ability to keep a project on track, and this is the cost benefit of augmented reality. This technology is being tested in the construction of the new World Trade Centre buildings (Pro, 2011).
Augmented reality has been used by several businesses for sales promotion. In that essence, augmented reality can be a tool for advertisement. Although advertising through augmented reality can be expensive, it can also have a remarkable impact on sales (Dubois, 2011).
One reason for this difference is the emotional link that augmented reality creates between the consumer and the product to be sold. At the moment it could be an advantage to use augmented reality as a means of advertising since it implies that the advertiser is innovative (Dubois, 2011).
Innovation is important for any business to attract a significant percentage of customers in the market. Augmented reality is also a stable form of advertisement that is getting progressively popular. It is projected that the current popularity is just the beginning of its adoption as a favored tool of advertisement (Dubois, 2011).
Augmented reality is a relatively new technology to most people. Even those who often come across this technology may not recognize it.
However, with the current popularity of smart phones, it is bound to be a household name in the entertainment industry and commerce. Thus, it is advisable for people to adopt augmented reality where it is practically applicable.
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Pro, N. C. (2011). Augmented Reality Modeling System Expected to Help Minimize Costs, Project Delivery Time. WPL Publishing – Construction Pronet. Web.
Dubois, L. (2011). How to Use Augmented Reality in Advertising | Inc.com. Small Business Ideas and Resources for Entrepreneurs. Web.
Feiner, S., MacIntyre, B., & Seligmann, D. (2012). KARMA. Computer Graphics at Columbia University. Web.
Greenleigh, I. (2012). Finally, augmented reality with real utility: meet Blippar – Bazaarvoice Blog. Integrated Social Software, Conversations and Analytics | Bazaarvoice . Web.
Nelson, F. (2012). Browsing Breakthrough: Aurasma Augmented Reality App – Internet -. InformationWeek | Business Technology News, Reviews and Blogs. Web.
Penn, A. (2012). Augmented Round Table for Architecture and Urban Planning. VR Centre for the Built Environment. Web.
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