What is it?
Augmented Reality, otherwise known as AR, is a method of overlaying information on a screen – typically a camera or some other form of optics – with the goal being to augment the world around you. AR is still more concept than product at this stage. A few companies have their version of implementing AR, just like a few companies have their version of streaming video content. The big players are your typical tech giants – Microsoft, Google and more recently, Apple and Facebook.
How does it work?
AR works by taking video content, 3D images or even good old-fashioned text and overlaying it via an interface to the real world. You can even animate 2D and 3D object. In less abstract terms, it usually means you see extra things through the lens of a camera or via an interface such as glasses or a headset.
How could I use this?
Apple will become the world’s biggest distributor of AR content thanks to this coming September’s update of iOS that will enable most phones capable of rendering AR content. That being said, Facebook is also implementing AR capabilities to their platforms too.
This opens up an enormous market to consumers with tremendous opportunities.
But AR isn’t all 3D coffee cups and virtual home decorating. Like all good technology, AR is a tool that can be applied and built around specific needs for specific industries. Think health, engineering and education – these fields will likely achieve long-term successful results with AR. For now, it’s going to be promotional pictures and morphed faces.
How easy is this to implement?
AR is a combination of a number of disciplines – art meets science. So there’s a lot of code and a lot of 3D modeling and animation. That being said, the introduction of Apple’s AR Kit & Facebook’s AR Studio simplifies things, opening new doors for people like you and me.
There’s good news for advertisers who wanted to promote their product or event via this medium too. What Snapchat charges for doing an AR face or effect, Facebook is giving away for free. The only cost is promoting the effect to new users.
Below is what we created using Facebook’s Augmented Studio.
Something we threw together at the Line26 lab.
AR In the Wild
Google Translate – A fantastic use of AR to help translate language without being cumbersome.
Apple Conference | Wingnut Studios – An incredible demonstration of what some of the best in visual effects can do with AR.
Pokemon Go – The AR juggernaut that racked up over 500 million downloads and generated 200 million dollars within its first month.