AR technology entered the market with a bang with Pokémon GO. Before that, nobody had ever heard of it. Well, almost. People were amazed to find fantasy creatures hiding in the bushes or behind a tree and the way they could capture them. With the passage of time, came the social media platform applications that used AR to enhance or transform your pictures into something else. But apart from specific industries, most people think that that is what AR is limited to and nothing more can be done with it. But there is some AR design studio that is working with this technology and creating innovative products and marketing strategies for businesses around the world.
What is Augmented Reality?
So, what is Augmented Reality really? Augmented Reality or AR is the technology that adds to our physical world. It expands our world by adding single or multiple layers of information in digital format on top of it. It does not create entire artificial environments like Virtual Reality (VR). With the help of AR, you can add multiple sounds, videos, or graphics to a physically existing environment.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF AR TECHNOLOGY?
AR technology has a lot more to offer than just putting a cat’s whiskers on your face or show you a Pokémon hiding in the bushes. Here are some of the features that AR provides to all businesses and how you can leverage them for your own benefit.
Image tracking enables AR apps to recognize and augment flat images that are defined and then tracking them as you move around. A few years ago you needed special markers or QR code if you wanted image tracking to work as you wanted it to, but now you can do it with any type of image. This is done with the help of Natural Image Markers. Anything that stands out or is distinctive can be a natural image marker. It should not be part of a pattern and it should have enough details and contrast to the rest of the picture to be identifiable.
There are some platforms that even allow Extended Tracking. Extended tracking is when you can keep tracking your markers even when they move out of the range of the camera. If extended tracking is not present you might see your AR image disappearing as the object moves out of the camera focus.
Businesses can use this with brochures or posters. When users point their cameras at the poster, it comes to life with a stunning video. That is what the people behind ‘Ready Player One’ tried. When viewers held their cameras up at the posters of the movie, they were surprised with a video about the movie.
Plane tracking means that the AR app can identify any type of flat surface. Usually, they can track a horizontal surface only. The best example of this is the floor that is horizontal and flat. This means that you can view virtual objects that are standing or lying on the flat surface and they won’t give the feel of floating on top of the surface. They will be planted firmly on the ground and even cast their own shadow.
Some SDKs allow you to identify and track multiple surfaces that are flat, even if they are not horizontal. These could be the tops of the tables or even walls. It involves two abilities. The first is to recognize that the camera is facing a flat surface and the other is to identify the edges of the surface, meaning where the surface ends. Calculating the edges of a flat surface is a hard task and it might take the application some time to detect this.
You can use this feature to show different cartoon characters, animals or anything else walking around on the ground. If you want to track multiple surfaces, it could be a paraglider or a jumper who reaches the end of the table and jumps off.
Lighting estimation means that your app can detect the amount of lighting in the environment and act accordingly. You can identify the amount of lighting and apply it to your augmented reality object or character just as it is in the real world. This will help your object blend in with the real world and not look too out of place.
There is still a lot of work to be done in this regard. Right now, you can calculate the amount of light but not the direction of the light therefore you cannot determine the direction of the shadow that you want to create.
You can use this feature to place objects inside the office or any place and show it as darker than it normally is. If you place a dinosaur that is walking around the office, then it will not look bright. Once you take the app outdoor, the object (in this case, the dinosaur) will look its natural color.
Sharing is a recent feature and not everybody knows about it. It enables multiple devices to share a single environment and understand its requirements allowing multiple users to have the same type of experience. What this basically means is that multiple users will be able to look at the same object which is present in an environment and even interact with it as they wish.
This feature can really help out with virtual games where two or more players can play a virtual game with each other. Think pool, table tennis or anything else.
These and many other features of AR make it the perfect technology to promote your business and ensure that you stand out from the crowd because of your innovative strategies and your use of cutting edge technologies.