Even though it’s not possible to play Pokémon GO in space, according to NASA spokesman Dan Huot, even astronauts gliding around the galaxy right now know about the Augmented Reality (AR) game that swept the globe last summer (2016). If you’ve ever played Pokemon Go or used Snapchats face-distorting camera feature, you’ve dabbled in AR. The animated overlay provides a mythical, weird and totally fascinating composite view of reality. Your phone becomes a magical portal that allows you to interact with your physical surroundings like never before.
Although Augmented Reality, as a technology, has been around for many years, computing power has now caught up so that it actually works, glitch free, for the mainstream end-user. But aside from the undeniably awesome and addicting AR games like Pokémon GO, what other, more practical, Nobel Prize worthy, humanitarian, ‘make mom proud’ AR applications exits?
Below are the top 5 [practical] applications of AR tech.
Medical students and surgeons learning new procedures can all benefit from AR technology. AR visualizations can provide medical professionals with a live dashboard of patient’s vital information giving them improved sensory perception. The technology can be combined with MRI or X-ray systems that bring everything into a single view for the surgeon. As long at this doesn’t cause sensory overload or distract his/her concentration, it could be a remarkable improvement to our healthcare system.
SAFTEY & RESCUE OPERTATIONS
Wouldn’t it be cool if first responders like police and firefighters turned up at the scene and could see a virtual map of the site or have “X-ray vision” to see people trapped in a buildings? Chris Grayson, an AR expert, says, “The enterprise space and government employees could see the first, real-world benefits” of AR. It could provide a 3D map of the area to equip first responders with the most information possible, so they can make decisions, act quickly and save lives.
The Heads-Up Display (HUD) is the typical example of augmented reality when it comes to military applications of the technology. A transparent display is positioned directly in the fighter pilot’s view. Data typically displayed to the pilot includes altitude, airspeed and the horizon line, in addition to other critical data. The term “heads-up” applies since the pilot doesn’t have to look down at the aircraft’s instrumentation to get the data he needs. The Head-Mounted Display (HMD) is used by ground troops. Critical data such as enemy location can be presented to the soldier within their line of sight. This technology is also used for simulations for training purposes.
MARKETING & ADVERTISING
Want a better way to find great restaurants in a new city? The Layar Reality Browser uses the GPS location feature in your mobile device to track your whereabouts and displays this data to you on your mobile screen. Details about popular places, structures and movies are covered by Layar. Street views show the names of the restaurants and businesses (inc. ratings) superimposed over their storefronts. A faster way to find a satisfying meal!
Throw down that pamphlet you picked up at the door. It’s 2017. When you walk into a museum today, you can download an app and get a guided museum tour with added features. One of the most prominent examples of AR is the Skin & Bones AR app used at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. The app adds flesh to the bones of creatures, providing a fun learning experience and a playful platform for imagination.
WATCH: Check out this Augmented Reality Experience for Museums, Zoos, Malls and more.