2021 Trend Almanac: Technologies and trends that will dominate the business and consumer landscape. Get instant access
Augmented reality (AR) combines a real-world environment with digital objects, which are typically rendered in 3D, though some applications also use 2D. The digital objects appear in real space as an overlay. AR objects can be manipulated within an AR program or game. AR creates interactions using a camera or smartphone. AR uses real world object locations to generate these interactions.
Augmented reality (AR) differs from virtual reality (VR) because it uses real-world and digital objects to create an altered version of reality. Virtual reality (VR) is a fully immersive experience within a simulated environment. VR also requires more specialized equipment than AR.
Augmented reality is, perhaps, best known for it use in video games and retail shopping experiences. Commercial use of augmented reality is commonly found in multiple sectors that include defense, education, manufacturing, and medical. AR based training offers a way for trainees to manipulate real-world objects, such as machinery parts, while also having quick access to additional information about the item.
Consumer products that use AR overlay a digital world onto the real world to create a new, interactive space. PokemonGo is among the first successful augmented reality games. Shopping apps use AR to help shoppers see how an item might look in their own space. For example, Ikea Place, Amazon shopping, Home Depot, and Ulta all use augmented reality to show a digital version of a product in real space. In the case of Ulta, shoppers can use the virtual try-on VR feature to see how makeup might look before buying.
Heads-up display is an AR application that is frequently portrayed in science fiction films. Onscreen information is displayed right on a car or airplane windshield during operation. Car makers are working on consumer applications of this technology for release in future models.