Augmented reality Applications, Challenges and Future trends

Augmented Reality is defined as “Layering computer-generated image on top of an image that is from Real World“. Now, I know this might seems confusing at first. But, we are going to talk all about Augmented Reality Applications, Challenges, and Future trends. So let’s first introduce what augmented reality really is.

Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality


Augmented Reality
Concept of Augmented Reality

For years now, Augmented Reality has been a hot topic for software developers and it’s followers. The Sole concept itself isn’t really new. It is a technology that has taken the world’s attention in the past couple of years. So what’s so special in AR? Augmented reality has been renovated and given attention because of products like Google GlassIt works by using algorithms that project sound, image, and video on real objects that actually exist in our world today.

The technology of Augmented Reality can take you to the world in which there are both, Computer made objects and real-world scenarios. It’s a really great way to show, how real and virtual objects can live in the same timeline. The technology of AR is not just limited to special AR products like Google glasses. In addition to that, they are available on platforms such as Desktop, Mobile phones, and other devices. Let’s, for example, talk about Google Glass.

It has a wearable computer with a head-mounted display. The perfect Epitome of Augmented Reality. It works in such a way that, the user captures real-world environments. AR in glasses puts an object on the layer that was just captured. But the quality of everything seems so real that we are stunned even to this day. There are many other companies that are working on improving it day by day. As time passes, newer technologies make their rise into the industry.

We won’t talk about the past of AR or how it started but we will begin with our present. What are the Application, Future Trends, and Challenges? But, let’s first differ the concept of Augmented Reality from Virtual Reality.

Difference between AR and VR

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

With the addition of technologies like Oculus Rift or HTC VIVE. VR companies have really made their game strong with them. But let’s not forget about Augmented Reality. I’d say that both technologies are on par with each other. Therefore, often people get confused. That’s why I am going to set away from the difference once and for all. So must read carefully.

Virtual Reality

One the very surface, they look to be the same sort of technology which is also kind of true. So, the basic difference between both technologies is that Virtual reality takes you to a whole different dimension. Or we can say that it changes the reality to make you think and experience that you are in an alternate universe. Did it ring any bell? Whereas, Augmented Reality, as mentioned above, projects a computer made objects into the real world. Of course, it’s not actually there but it makes it look real.

A Virtual Headset, usually contains two lenses on a head mount headset which keeps track of the movement of user’s head. It also keeps track of the angle and where head is moving towards. After capturing data, it plays everything in such responsiveness and sensitivity that we think that we are in other dimension. Using all the information of user, it renders illusions to create a virtual environment.
In the case of headsets like HTC VIVE, you can freely look in any direction of the virtual world. There are technologies that make you even move and interact all in Virtual reality, without tripping over.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is pretty different from VR. So it uses glasses or a see-through camera, in which user can see what’s going on in their world. Everything around will be visible to the user. There will be no Virtual World. But rather it makes virtual object on the real world. That’s how it works. There are many many similarities between VR and AR. Like, both technologies use Gyroscope to work. What Gyroscope does is, it keep track of the user’s angle and movement. So that it’s easier to control.

One thing to notice is that AR requires very little processing power to maintain it’s stability or to run. This is because rather than projecting the whole world, it projects only an element you can say. That makes perfect sense. More Virtual Reality and more power. Less Virtual Reality and less power use. Augmented Reality uses Computer Vision. It’s a branch of Computer Science that deals with self-awareness of Computers to their Environment. This makes it easier for a program to put virtual objects in the real world.

This doesn’t mean that all the Augmented Reality Works with Computer Vision. Nowadays, software and hardware are smart enough to get reference points and keep track of the real world. This results in easy tracking and positioning of Virtual Objects. We see a lot of Games and Applications using AR nowadays.
Now let’s talk about the Challenges that the Augmented Reality industry is having nowadays.


Augmented Reality
AR Goggles

From it’s inception to this day, Augmented Reality has changed very much. It has taken the world by storm with its awesome technology. Companies have seen it’s potential and Future. With the introduction of AR into Smartphones and Headsets, it’s has proven to be potentially bright with the future. Everything is beginning to evolve.

If we talk about this era, developing AR software is not even a problem. Reports has said that, Augmented Reality might hit $108 Billion by 2021. So it’s a matter of Billion Dollars. Being all enthusiastic isn’t always good. Therefore, there are still many challenges that companies and AR industry is having till this date. Let’s name a few of them.

1) App Design and Developing Standards

Standards are the way that certain technology has stability in this world. Overall contribution to the society and industry is all work of development standard. Now, this might hurt a little bit. My argument here is, it’s too soon for this technology to exist.
Augmented Reality is potentially powerful and new. Our World isn’t even ready for it. Without standards, AR isn’t even a thing. It’s like it exists but does not exist at the same time. People will be stunned to see it but no one will actually give full attention to it.

In contrast to it, the development process has been too slow. Like, no one is on the same page. On thing is fast and the other one is slow. So if people and developers were on the same page, things would’ve been different. However, keeping in track of everything right now is kind of humanly impossible.

2) Privacy issues

Privacy is one sensitive thing that no one will want to keep at stake. As this technology is new, there has been some development inconsistencies. Due to these, AR technology posed a serious threat to security and privacy.This is potentially caused because there are no limits of rules and regulations in the Augmented reality world. No one knows how far you can make it go. Which basically means that anyone can use it for their potential threat.

For example, in clothing brands, you can try on clothes before you can actually buy them. But, people can overlay different sorts of bodies on you, eventually giving you a threat. This is against one’s reputation. The only problem is that people are unaware of how much threat is this to privacy. Also, developers should take some serious measures to secure the whole Augmented Reality platform.

3) Physical Harm

Augmented reality has been proven to be more vast than Virtual Reality. Linked with the real-world AR is pretty vast, whereas VR has proven to be not so vast in terms of real-world environments. With great area comes great responsibility. This means that you might be hurting yourself by using AR.

The question is How? Virtual objects into real-world takes attention from real world. This means that you can be driven away form the real world. That is pretty bad. You might go into a very dangerous situation. One of the main examples of hurting is, Pokemon GO. Did it ring any bell? There were reports showing people in accidents or children getting lured into trap by pedophiles. This is not even a joke.
This is the sole reason why automobile manufacturers are avoiding putting AR displays. This can cause mass confusion. So measures should be taken for such scenarios.

4) Limits of Hardware

One of the main problems in implementing Augmented reality, is the limit of hardware we use in our devices today. As I’ve said before, AR is just too new for our world. The World isn’t ready to take it. There is a big gap in AR apps and the devices we use. Companies design a full-fledge working AR headset with a great app. But when it’s on the smartphone. A whole different story pops up. One thing that happens is that people download the app because of a very cool looking ad. But once they try, it lags or it’s poorly optimized. Due to a lack of hardware and less optimized app, people just abandon AR apps.

5) Poor Content

Due to poor content and lack of ‘Meaningful’ apps on App Store or Play Store, no one is giving grass to AR apps. With AR having it’s reputation in the society, the problems increase due to reasons like these. Majority of Augment Reality applications are just a gimmick to show off that AR is a thing. This really takes a good reputation away. This is kind of an unsolved mystery in the world of AR. Sure, it’s still in beta but imagine having full control over it. The technology will be on whole other level. Though, companies should take a closer look at the problems one the surface. Now let’s talk about the applications of Augmented Reality.

Used Cases of Augmented Reality

Augmented reality has been in our world for a long time. But when it was implemented on Android and IOS. It really became very popular. Augmented Reality is the technology that combines virtual reality with the real world. These are some of the real-world applications that AR is being used in.

Airport App

AR app by Gatwick
Source : Gatwick

Gatwick airport passenger app won a couple of awards because of the AR implementations into the app. Passengers can use their Augmented Reality maps from their own mobile phones to actually move through the airport.
This resulted in decreasing the rush into the airport. Storm of people, as we see on airports, they removed it.

IKEA Place App

Source : IKEA

Ever purchased furniture for your home and regretted it afterward? I did. How about avoiding the hassle to bring in a certain piece of furniture and then refunding it. Thanks to IKEA, we can now avoid this. With IKEA palace app, you can avoid this.
The app allows you to place an object and check it’ll look good in that place. With ARKIT Technology made by Apple, they’ve achieved this. The App allows you to scan your room and place an object to see if it matches or not.

Sephora’s Virtual Artist

Sephora, leading makeup brand now provides you with Virtual artists using Augmented Reality. Customers can apply different virtual makeup to see how they look. Moreover, they can judge how they’ll look in a certain color.
This is all achieved due to the development of Augmented Reality. Because of AR, Sephora’s sales went skyrocket. This is so much fun to try and it gives a great opportunity for people to try different sorts of makeup with some unique looks.

AR in Health Care

AR has been proven successful in training people and allowing students to train. In some real hard situations, AR helps in successfully conveying real important and sensitive information during surgery time.
AccuVein is a device with Augmented Reality through which it scans a patient’s vein networks. Surgeons can even plan an initial procedure before actually doing the surgery. There are many other uses of AR in Health are too.

Fun and Games

Augmented Reality
Pokemon GO AR game

Augmented Reality apps and games are also being used a lot today. There are apps like, coloring books and toothbrush apps that can be used to train children.
From gaming to supporting AR in browsers, developments are being made a lot. Which is great. The reputation of Augmented reality should increase. With the passage of time, lots of apps will be available. As more and more apps will be available, we can expect AR to rise.

Augmented Reality on Smartphones

In a country like the Netherlands, people can down an app called Layar. The app uses the phone’s camera and GPS to gather information on the user’s surroundings. It gathers information and then projects layers of AR on it. The app then shows all the information on various subjects like Restaurants and others on the phone’s screen.

You can easily know so much information on that company object that AR just created. Stuff like, is it open or closed. Is any company hiring? Every little detail is shown. The Netherlands is living an advanced and great life. It can also find photos of various restaurants.
There are many other apps like Layar. Now it’s possible to play Star Wars Holochess right on your smartphone. There are many other games on AR. Pokemon Go for example. It was stunning, what Augmented Reality is capable of.

Map 3D is a perfect example of AR in phones. It takes the power of GPS and AR to create an immersive 3D experience for the user.
Now let’s talk about the Future. How AR will look like in the Future?

Future of AR. What’s Next?

The demand for powerful and better technology is increasing day by day. With the help of Augmented Reality, real and virtual worlds are coexisting side by side. Let’s talk about how far we can go with Augmented Reality. Unlike VR, you don’t really trap your self into a virtual world. Rather than that, you make Virtual Objects come into your world. This is a mix of Virtual and Real worlds.
We are most familiar with AR by our Smartphones and games on them. Like Ingress and Pokemon Go. But the list does not end there. It goes on. You can do more than catching a bunch of Weedles though. Smart Headsets are must-have if you want a fully AR experience. Companies like Google are working on AR to improve your life though.

The real future development will be made when designers realize that instead of headsets, AR should be in Glasses or even Contact Lenses. The ultimate goal of Augmented Reality is to control these things just by our thoughts. On VR you have to sit around and play in a virtual world. But with AR, the map is your whole world. How cool is that? By 2020, Tokyo is making arrangements to make every sign translatable from Japanese to English using  AR technology. Augmented Reality hopes for betterment of the society. It can improve the stuff in health care. Improving the way surgeries are being performed. Like, Doctors carrying out the whole procedure of detecting a certain disease virtually.

Armies are using Augmented Reality in training of the soldiers and some other stuff that prepares soldiers for fighting the Wars. AR can also help us in learning. From a statistical point to view to conveying information, it’s ideal for institutes. It can increase greatest student engagement.

Latest News of AR

Enough hardware power and software development provided it to actually run. The future will be very bright and Fun actually. I feel like this is the ultimate Epitome of what our future will look. All Futuristic, just like in the movies. Companies are trying to make students attracted to Augmented Reality. On the other hand, surgeons are promoting the use of Augmented Reality. Apple has also hosted an AR friendly art session. Snap Inc has already released Augmented Reality Glasses.

Even on IOS 13, they have made improvements in the Augmented side. On 9 August, Apple changed the central park into Augmented Reality’s gallery. Google maps also got a large AR update too. The new feature is Augmented Reality pathways by Maps. Many filters on Instagram and Snapchat are made using AR. You can see the avatar moving around on the screen. That is some sort of Augmented Reality too.
Augmented Reality is also being used in plant identification applications. Just by pointing your phone art a plant, it can identify it. Candide Label is the name of that app. From makeup brands to Furniture stores like IKEA, it is rising every day with the passage of time. Augmented Reality is the future couple with Virtual Reality. Now it’s the time for my final thoughts on this topic.

Final Thoughts

So with the passage of time, technology is basically improving day by day. Augmented reality is a great invention by awesome people. But, it still has a long way to go. The world just isn’t ready for this big evolution. AR and VR are the next big thing all I can say is but for now, due to some hardware limitations and poor software development. It just isn’t very ideal, to be honest. Possibilities of making AR work are just boundless and limitless. But the factors like Smoothness and Flawlessness comes in our way. So if these problems are handled, I don’t think the future is much away from us. I am talking about the science fiction future that we see in the movies.