How does Augmented Reality work?
Everybody is talking about Augmented Reality(AR), but how does it work? In this entry, let’s learn its core concept and how it becomes interesting when combined with other technologies.
The concept of AR has come a long way ever since Ivan Sutherland and Bob Sproul made that bold move in 1968. This duo created the first VR/AR head-mounted display called “Sword of Damocles.” That moment fueled their interest in this technology. Indeed, augmented reality is not science fiction anymore but a real and viable technology.
Five decades later, it is still making noise. And in 2025, its market value is estimated to be worth $198 billion. As a result, startups and businesses want to leverage its endless opportunities as it continues to broaden and intertwine with other technologies. Additionally, the advancement of microprocessors and enhanced software development processes also fuel the massive interest among all sectors.
Augmented reality is a complex technology with a massive force to transform the world. Therefore, startups shouldn’t just join the bandwagon. Instead, they should ask first: what is augmented reality?
Augmented Reality Definition
Augmented reality works by placing a virtual reality world over a real-world environment to deliver a single reality. The infamous Pokémon Go game is a perfect example of AR. And it perfectly works with mobile devices.
But, most often, people refer to it interchangeably with Virtual Reality(VR). To clear the confusion, VR works with a complete immersion of another world. Unlike AR, users wear VR devices (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Google cardboard ) in immersing in another world, just like a plane cockpit. These devices let users experience the actual maneuvering of the plane on the runway.
These features led to massive interest in both AR and VR technologies. However, the world of digital and physical integration does not stop with AR and VR at all. New technologies such as Mixed Reality(MR) and Extended Reality(XR) are starting to make noise in the market.
Here is a good read about the differences between AR, VR, MR, and XR.
Industries that use AR
The interest in augmented reality and its application continues to grow. Perkins Cole surveyed 200 startup founders and company technologists. In this survey, 37% believe that the adoption of immersive technologies will become mainstream in the next five years.
In the same survey, it is interesting to note that 90% of consumers know how virtual reality works, while 65% only know augmented reality. Even though some products are AR-related, users still consider it a virtual reality concept. With that, several startups still battle the massive adoption of AR technology.
Because of that, there’s plenty of room for competition to thrive. Meaning, that startups still have more chances to implement augmented reality in different areas.
Here are some industries that use AR.
It is not just about augmentation; it is now immersive entertainment. From games to music to sports, AR is great for entertainment. Why? Because it has the power to captivate its users’ attention.
AR continues to evolve in this area as consumers get more immersive experiences. First, an impressive realism made Pokémon Go a worldwide sensation. Second, AR with music changes how people listen to music. Live music with AR effects makes the show memorable and marketable. Lastly, AR in eSports is a perfect combination that offers a more natural feel and improved mobility among players.
Hunting a perfectly designed house that boasts of your style and statement is daunting. But, augmented reality eases the burden as realtors use interactive computer-generated images to lure buyers. These applications allow the buyers to envision the finished property even though it is still under construction.
How is this possible? Augmented reality can transform all 2D construction models into 3D. These include blueprints and photos that transform into 3D models for buyers to have an immersive experience.
And not only that, interested buyers can customize everything according to their preference. AR can help buyers change colors, furniture designs, room aesthetics, etc. Ultimately, AR is an advantageous marketing tool for selling a property.
Augmented reality is a great help for healthcare organizations in improving their existing processes. In the case of critical surgeries, AR will provide surgeons with an in-depth knowledge of the risks involved.
Additionally, AR aids medical breakthroughs to simulate the early detection of cancerous tumor growth and neurological diseases.
Healthcare organizations and technopreneurs believe that AR offers a huge impact on the industry. However, AR has a long way to go, and precision is the key to success.
As you can see, AR is not just applicable to automotive end products. AR is present in automobile manufacturing as well. AR helps car manufacturers optimize prototype assembly. Eventually, AR systems allow engineers to work jointly and redefine complexities.
For example, the process of designing car seats is a tedious task. Engineers don’t simply aim for ergonomically and aesthetically designed seats. They take enormous time conducting tests if these seats are well-designed during impacts. AR simulations allow faster changes as it applies during simulations and team discussions.
Manufacturing involves routines. Thus, companies rely on augmented reality to increase production. Through AR glasses, industrial engineers can see how the actual process works and compare it with the ideal way to assemble a specific component.
Additionally, floor managers have quick access and resolution to daily floor problems. AR systems built for manufacturing provide immediate access to data, fewer machine downtimes, and error prevention.
Training and Education
Augmented reality changes how to onboard new employees. This is the new tool for the talent development approach. For instance, IKEA uses VR, AR, and MR to enhance training and improve the traditional way of onboarding.
In education, augmented reality is a game-changer in the way children learn. This immersive tech provides students with a new environment that will help them understand the concepts. With the help of interactive 3D models, students can understand complex information. And most importantly, they have high retention because of the engaging experience.
In our dynamic day and age, AR is all about exploration, which eventually leads students towards learning and understanding. Therefore, augmented reality provides a win-win situation for both technologists and the educational industry.
5 Inspiring AR Applications for Startups
1. Home Depot
In 2015, Home Depot released its first AR-enabled mobile app. It uses patent technology that aids users in what paint color to apply to their home. The technology considers the lighting, objects, and shadows in the room, so users can see how that particular shade will look in real life. Additionally, users can also share images from the app on Facebook, Twitter, or email, to get a friend’s opinion.
Timberland introduced a virtual fitting room in Moktow Gallery in 2014. These allow shoppers to see an image of their face and a similarly-sized model body. Shoppers can try in different outfits; it provides convenience and comfort. For topnotch customer experience, Timberland uses Kinect motion-sensing technology as a fun and useful alternative to a traditional fitting experience.
Sephora understands the plight of women in online shopping and created an augmented reality experience. It integrates AR using a virtual artist app. It helps users see how makeup products will look on their faces. Also, Sephora shows users the effects of months of skincare on their skin. With that, Sephora introduced a new concept of combining beauty and technology.
4. Taco Bell
Taco Bell combines augmented reality into its Doritos shell campaign. An AR feature on each Locos Tacos box and soda cup links users to the company’s social media campaign. This means that users can see product-related social media content on their phones. Basically, this is using AR marketing to boost the level of engagement and brand awareness.
Netflix uses augmented reality with its experiential marketing. The streaming company, in collaboration with Snapchat, launched a series of AR/VR lenses. Viewers use this feature during the launching of the second season of its original series―Stranger Things.
In a nutshell, users can video while recording themselves as if they were part of the show. They can walk through one of the houses as the monster called Demigorgon pop out of the wall.
Combine the Real and Virtual World with Us!
Since augmented reality trends fit into a variety of startup niches, you’ll need a team that can help you out. Do you need to build a brand new game or integrate augmented reality features in your application? Or simply enhance your AR application’s efficiency? Then choose a turnkey software provider like Full Scale.
We are an offshore software development company that caters to your AR needs. Our pool of mobile and software developers can build an immersive augmented reality app quickly and affordably.
Also, Full Scale’s project managers can guide you with the pros and cons before investing time and money in your app. With that, let’s combine the real and virtual worlds. Talk to us!