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Apps and Other Tech Making Effective Use of Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) works by superimposing a computer-generated image into the real world via a portable device. It has been adopted by companies to showcase products in a way that was far from feasible just a few years ago. Interested in a certain lipstick colour but not sure if it's right? Done. In a more dignified manner than advertising, AR can take academia even further by actualising innovative hands-on and/or visual learning. Teaching astronomy? Easy. What started out as a gimmick, a cheesy play at virtual reality, has become an effective way to market to people and stay relevant through new technological advances.


Coca-Cola teamed up with Spotify to turn 250ml cans of Coke into digital jukeboxes. Made possible by Blippar, an AR browser that allows people to interact with everyday objects, simply "blipping" the dotted outline of the bottle grants access to 50 U.K. songs. All for the price of a can of Coke!

While this on its own is amazing, Blippar's vision is even more so, "Our goals are unabashedly bold: to create an intuitive new behavior bridging the physical and digital worlds."

Aurasma acts as a medium for users to create their own AR whether for a school project or for curiosity's sake. The app also acts as a database, allowing users to engage in open source materials.

Two Guys and Some iPads
A trigger image will activate a "aura" when scanned. An aura can be a video, superimposed image or text, an interactive book; in theory, what can be imagined can become an aura. In schools Aurasma has been used as a homework aid, to add life to faculty pictures, and, for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, as a vocabulary aid, all of which is achieved by attaching scannable auras.

Total Immersion
Going on holiday is a daunting experience what with all the possibilities of things to do and places to see. Adding easily accessible information to museums or landmarks is a natural use of AR when it comes to convenience. Total Immersion has done just that, manufacturing software to supplement museums and sightseeing with 3D, interactive information. By implementing GPS and image recognition, Total Immersion can relay information from an online database. It works through the camera. Once fixed on a landmark, building, etc., facts and figures pop up on screen.

4D Anatomy

Offering a unique way of learning about dissection and the human body, 4D Anatomy allows subscribers to "explore the intricate structural details of the human body and provides superior, interactive content." Created with the dwindling number and costly storage of cadavers in mind, 4D Anatomy has taken into account the limitations of an anatomy lab and revolutionized the learning experience. Medical students, doctors and surgeons alike can manipulate content by rotating, tilting, and even dissecting layer by layer. There's also a handy quiz section and other semi-interactive illustrative content.

Accuvein is a scanner that projects where a person's veins and valves are located since inserting an IV can be difficult on some patients. Vein illumination happens in real time using infrared laser light to detect and imaging to project. As of today, over 3,000 facilities are using Accuvein to improve their practice.

Daily Mail
Invariably, if there is any sort of technological advancement the military will find a way to adopt it, and it's no different for AR. Taking cues from Google Glass, Applied Research Associates have created an attachable heads-up display for helmets that "allows commanders to send maps and other information directly to the soldier's field of vision" according to Daily Mail.

Daily Mail
Six years in the making, the project dubbed ARC4 has come to fruition for the U.S. military. As seen above, the information is superimposed over the real-world view much like the heads-up displays seen in video games. The firm asserts that "ARC4 is transforming your view of the world with digital tags that persist as if painted on physical objects. Imagine it as virtual graffiti."

Columbia University
Integrating AR into repairs and maintenance is a natural considering how costly and complicated machinery can be. Columbia University has initiated the Augmented Reality for Maintenance and Repair (ARMAR) project to explore how "real time computer graphics, overlaid on and registered with the actual repaired equipment, can improve the productivity, accuracy and safety of maintenance personnel."

Wearable, motion-tracking technology labels components, walks users through the steps, gives safety warnings and allows others to assist with repairs. Initially the project was meant to aid military mechanics, but the potential for learning is fascinating.

Brian Selzer
To the lighter side of this technology lies gaming. Already integrated into the 3DS and some mobile phones, AR games aren't groundbreaking, but some companies are aiming to take experiences into higher-end territory. Take Ogmento, a gaming company hellbent on creating an unrivaled experience, who are developing games based on simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). Utilized in robots to render maps of unknown territories, this technology allows computers to impose in game assets that correctly overlay with the understood environment.

The applications of such technology will only continue to broaden and expand with the times. As we advance, so too will our ideas about the world. In the meantime though, why not meet some AR animals!

Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver). Follow her @Songbird_Jacqui

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Apps and Other Tech Making Effective Use of Augmented Reality Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, May 05, 2016 Rating: 5

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