These days, almost everything we do is somehow connected to computers and technology. It can even be difficult to tell where the line is between reality and virtual reality. With augmented reality (AR), those lines are blurred a bit further as new developments are coming out all the time in which people can use technology to enhance their real world. From entertainment to advertising and everywhere in between, these applications and events are clearly the wave of the future.
With all of the advancements in smartphones over the past few years, it truly does seem as if there is an app for everything and augmented reality apps are no exception. Ben & Jerry’s recently became the first major brand to use a natural tracking feature in creating an AR application for the iPhone. With this application, users can point their phone’s camera at their carton of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to unlock special features. For example, pointing the camera at a container of New York Super Fudge Chunk Ice Cream takes users on a virtual tour of New York City.
When promoting an event, it is important to find an angle that will truly stand out from all of the advertisements that people are bombarded with all day long. The folks promoting the recent World Cup understood this when they developed augmented reality technology to feature the event in shopping malls. Passers-by could stand in front of a television and camera to see a digital version of themselves and bounce virtual soccer balls off of their heads.
Everyone is used to being able to find whatever they need with a simple online search, but a new augmented reality app takes the convenience of a search engine to a new level. In June 2009, an app was released in the Netherlands which allowed people to use the camera on their smartphone to scan the surrounding area and view information about the establishments around them on the bottom of their phone’s screen. The app had additional features that allowed users to get more information on the places around them and to directly call them. This is excellent for people who are trying to purchase a home or find a job in a particular area.
These advancements are not confined to smartphones and television screens, however, since even print media has incorporated some of the best augmented reality. The prominent design magazine Wallpaper recently published their first issue to feature AR. The issue included articles and advertisements that sprung into 3D when held up to a computer webcam, revealing additional imagery, video and audio features to enhance the reading experience.
When it comes to the augmented reality business, even toy manufacturers are getting in on the action. The James Cameron film Avatar featured some of the most innovative technology in movie history, so it only makes sense that the Avatar toys would be equally advanced. Each action figure and vehicle in the AR line of Avatar toys comes with an i-tag which, when scanned by a web cam, unleashes a 3D model of the toy along with many special features.
As technology becomes more and more advanced, people are more interested in having it incorporated into everything they do. The recent developments in augmented reality have brought this technology into many different venues, including toys and magazines. It is exciting to imagine what this exciting industry has in store for the future.
If you are interested in enhancing your brand with augmented reality, please get in touch.