By Kurt Johnson, Founder and Inventor, Popcards
Augmented Reality (AR) is hard to explain, but once you see it, you get it. For example, there is the augmented reality app called StarTracker. You hold you phone with the StarTracker App up to night sky to view the constellations. The constellations appear as a digital overlay on the star patterns. Move the phone over the sky and the different constellations appear over the stars you’re viewing. Augmented Reality is that digital overlay on the viewed world. Of course the StarTracker app isn’t that common and has limited appeal.
Here are 5 reasons why Augmented Reality will eventually have unlimited appeal.
- Merging Print and Digital. Think about reading a newspaper. There is a photo of President Obama giving a speech. You open up your AR app, Layar, and view Obama with the smartphone app. Obama’s photo pops to life with him giving the entire speech. Or, in business, you view a brochure of a piece of manufacturing equipment with the Layar app. The equipment comes to life with a running demonstration. Or, with Greeting Cards, you can create and view a greeting card with the Popcards App. The greeting card photo comes to life with a video message.AR technology can instantly bridge that gap between what you see in print and what can be available through the Internet.
- Interactive Museums and Tourist Attractions. The Smithsonian has developed an app where when you view a dinosaur skeleton on display in their museum, the skeleton comes to life as living, breathing creature moving throughout the room. Or the app, ArcheoGuide, that can reconstruct the Brandenburg Gate with what it looked like with the Berlin Wall still intact. Imagine viewing the Colosseum in Rome and seeing what it looked like in the 1st Century with all its columns, marble and gladiators. AR technology has the ability to completely change the museum and tourism experience.
- Navigation and Transportation. Image walking through London and you need to find the location of the nearest underground “tube” station. You hold up your Smartphone Acrossair app and the directions pop-up as you scan your surrounds. Along with directions, different points-of-interest pop up with directions and additional information. There are also translation AR apps that can translate any of the city signs into the user’s language making navigation around a new city that much easier.
- Retail Experience. Retail could be one of the largest and widespread applications. Already retailers like Ikea are using AR technology to create a virtual world where you can view their furniture in your home. Another company, TryLive from Total Immersion, allows you to pick a pair of glasses, then view yourself with the glasses on. As more and more purchases move from the retail store to e-commerce sites, the ability to “try it on” will become that much more important. It’s feasible that in the future, you have the ability to save not only pant size, dress size, shoe size, etc., but also a complete virtual representation of yourself that you could load to any e-commerce site. You would then, for example, pick an outfit through an online catalogue, then instantly see a representation of yourself with that outfit on.
- Google Glasses. On May 2014, Google glasses went on sale to the public. Google glasses have a wearable computer screen that links to a smart phone. AR technology relies on the user holding up a smartphone and viewing the world through its camera. Google glasses removes the need to hold up a phone and more quickly and easily allows the user to explore the AR experience. Unfortunately Google stopped selling their glasses in January of 2015. The expectation is that they will continue to develop the glasses and re-release at some time. And it’s possible that Apple is working on iGlasses also. As AR technology continues to develop and becomes common in print, tourism, transportation and retail, glasses to enhance the AR experience will become more in demand.
Author Bio: Kurt started Popcards, LLC with Stephanie Hansen in 2014. The goal was to simply transform the greeting card industry with personal, interactive cards that come to life with a video experience. Kurt is an entrepreneur and has founded businesses including PostcardBuilder.com, Printz.com and DirectMailTools.com. Kurt grew up in Minnesota and received his MBA from the Carlson School of Management