Recently, augmented reality has been getting a lot of media attention thanks in part to companies like Microsoft and Niantic, producing their own augmented reality glasses and experiences. Even so, there is still a lot of confusion and misconceptions about augmented reality. Here we break down 5 myths about AR technology as we look into how it’s already much bigger than you make think!
1) Augmented reality and virtual reality are the same
Virtual reality (VR) facilitates the creation of real-life simulations, and creates an immersive experience for any user that makes them feel as if they are actually interacting with their digital environment. The virtual world is designed so the user finds it difficult to differentiate from what is real and what is not. Augmented reality, on the other hand, layers digital enhancements geared to enrich an existing real life environment, in real-time.
Both can be seen through headsets or head mounted displays (HMDs) but AR is also very popular through smartphones, another common distinction between the two.
2) Augmented reality is brand new
Augmented reality has actually been around for years. The term “augmented reality” was coined at Boeing in 1990 by researcher Tom Caudell. In search for an alternative to the expensive diagrams and marking devices, AR was used then to guide workers on the factory floor. Caudell and his colleague developed a complex software that could overlay a plane’s specific schematics through high-tech eyeware and project them onto reusable boards.
However, it wasn’t until recent that augmented reality experienced a huge surge. This is thanks to mobile technology improvements in built-in camera, sensors, and computational resources that have made it possible on mobile devices.
Mobile games like Pokémon Go and innovation from Snapchat and their AR ads have brought great attention to good uses of augmented reality. Still, the history of augmented reality has been long in development.
3) Augmented reality is difficult to use
With this development and the proliferation of smart devices, there has been a tremendous rise in augmented reality mobile applications. These applications are easy to use and make augmented reality readily accessible. There is no special hardware or special skills required to get AR. It is as easy as downloading a mobile app like Augment off of the app store.
Today, there are a number of platforms including AR glasses and mobile devices from which augmented reality content can be accessed. Augmented reality glasses and head-mounted displays have received a fair share of media attention due in part to companies like Google and Microsoft. However, you don’t need a headset to use augmented reality. The use of mobile and tablet devices to access augmented reality content is currently the most common method. Ask the new Pokémon trainers of the world.
4) You can only overlay images or text over what the user sees
Overlaying images or text is part of augmented reality, but you can overlay so much more! AR allows you to superimpose all sorts digital elements onto the real environment. Commonly, users of augmented reality superimpose their 3D models of real products in the real environment. An interior designer, for instance, can showcase furniture to a client in real-time and determine if the layout works with the size and design of the room.
5) Augmented reality is for the future
Augmented reality is not just tomorrow, it’s today. Companies across the world are using augmented reality in many more ways outside of consumer gaming.
Coca-Cola is using augmented reality for B2B sales when selling into retail stores and furnishing new locations, they use AR to see how product placements would look when finished. AR has proven useful and popular among marketing agencies with interactive campaigns, product design, B2B sales, and omnichannel retail. The future will only bring more use cases of augmented reality but it’s a validated tool among big organizations today. As the future AR headsets begin to hit the market, the adoption and usage will expand vastly.