Augmented Reality

Augmented reality questions and answers.

Elisabeth Balistreri
Sep 26, 2023

Looking for answers about augmented reality? Our comprehensive Q&A article covers everything you need to know.

What is Augmented Reality? All your questions answered.

Augmented Reality Questions and Answers

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that enhances the surrounding environment, by overlaying digital information, such as images, videos, and 3D models, onto the real world in real-time. This allows users to interact with digital information in a way that feels natural and realistic. AR can be experienced through various devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart glasses, and head-mounted displays (HMDs), which use advanced sensors, cameras, and motion tracking technology to provide an immersive experience.

How does augmented reality work?

There are three primary viewing platforms for augmented technology. Each one functions differently from the other.

For screen-based augmented reality, AR works by using the camera on a device to capture the real-world view and then processing that image to add the digital content in real-time, creating the illusion of that content being a part of the physical world. 

With see-through head mounted displays, the use of the camera is bypassed by simply setting holograms into your line of sight on glass lenses through which you can see the world around you. 

Video pass-through AR devices like those made by Varjo and Meta are head-mounted displays that–like screen based applications–use cameras to render the physical world in which the holograms are placed.

What is the difference between AR and VR?

AR is a technology that enhances the real-world experience by overlaying digital information and images into your real physical environment.

VR, on the other hand, creates a completely artificial environment that replaces the real world. VR can be experienced through a headset that covers the eyes and ears, blocking out the real world and immersing the user in a simulated environment.

In short, AR adds digital elements to the real world, while VR replaces the real world with a simulated environment.

What programming languages are augmented reality applications written in?

Augmented reality applications can be written in a variety of programming languages, such as C++, C#, Java, Swift, and Python. The specific language used will often depend on the platform or framework the developer is using to create the application. For example, the Unity game engine, which is commonly used for creating augmented reality and virtual reality experiences, primarily uses C#, while the Vuforia AR platform uses C++. Additionally, some developers may use scripting languages such as Lua or JavaScript to create certain aspects of an AR application.

Who are the top augmented reality companies?

The race for consumer accessible augmented reality technology is highly saturated and competitive. This applies to both the hardware manufacturing companies for consumer wearables as well as the corresponding AR software to support the hardware. These are the top players:

  1. Magic Leap: The Magic Leap 2 is the head mounted augmented reality display in competition with Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 (which is the industry leading device). It’s a see-through HMD.
  2. Varjo: Varjo dominates fields that prioritize photorealism – like design, art, and architecture. Their video-pass through HMD offers the highest resolution in an extended reality device.
  3. Microsoft: Windows Mixed Reality is a platform that combines augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to create immersive experiences. It includes a range of devices such as the HoloLens headset and the Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
  4. Unity Technologies: A company that provides AR development tools and platforms for creating AR experiences.
  5. Epic Games: Epic Games created Unreal Engine: the world's most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool for photoreal visuals and immersive experiences.
  6. Apple: A technology giant that has integrated AR features into its products, such as the iPhone and iPad and is rumored to be developing their own headsets.
  7. Google: Google is investing heavily in AR technology and offers AR development tools and platforms through its ARCore and ARKit initiatives.
  8. Meta: Meta claims to be the number one investor in AR/VR , creating headsets and platforms for consumer and enterprise customers.

These are just a few examples of the many companies that are active in the AR industry and are making significant contributions to the development and growth of this technology.

When will augmented reality be mainstream?

According to a survey on augmented and virtual reality technology trends, 70% of technology and business stakeholders believe that mainstream consumer adoption of AR/VR will be within the next five years.

Does augmented reality help in marketing?

Augmented reality is immensely effective as a marketing tool. AR allows for interactive and engaging product demonstrations, virtual try-ons, and gamified promotions. It can also provide unique and valuable information to customers in a fun and immersive way, helping to increase brand awareness and customer loyalty.

Check out this article for statistics that illustrate the effectiveness of this technology in marketing.

How can augmented reality help brands?

The applications for this technology are truly endless. It is the future of computing. All digital information can be better communicated and received through augmented reality than it can through screens–especially as hardware and software improves. Screens will one day be a thing of the past, and glasses–and even contact lenses–will keep digital information right in front of our eyes in their most functional form.

For brands, this means marketing and advertising will take a completely new form. It means the training process will be completely transformed to create experiential learning environments in a way that has never been possible. It means people will be able to connect and interact in the most functional and helpful ways from across the world to complete tasks. The savings and return on investment augmented reality solutions are already providing brand in its nascent state are astronomical!

How does augmented reality help us?

Access to digital information currently requires a dividing of attention between a screen and the task at hand. Augmented reality merges the physical and digital worlds. It negates the need for that divided attention that minimizes our potential to complete tasks quickly and effectively.

A simple example is cooking a recipe. Instead of constantly referring to the phone, laptop, or even notepad to check the next step on the recipe, the next step can be suspended in the air in front of you–and you can use your messy, chickeny hands to hit next step without contaminating anything.

Extend this example to a surgeon. That surgeon will be able to have an extra layer of assistance through digital information that guides them through each step–diminishing medical error and keeping a sterile environment. What an amazing tool!

The applications are endless, and extremely helpful in streamlining the things we do every day in ways that save us time, money, and mistakes–and make life more enjoyable!

What AR applications are being used in business today?

There are several AR applications being used in business today, including:

  1. E-commerce: AR allows customers to virtually try on products, such as clothing and accessories, before making a purchase.
  2. Marketing and Advertising: AR can be used to create interactive and immersive advertisements.
  3. Retail: AR can be used to enhance the in-store shopping experience by providing customers with additional product information, virtual try-ons, and interactive displays.
  4. Training and Education: AR can be used to create immersive and interactive learning experiences in various industries, such as healthcare, automotive, and manufacturing.

What companies are currently utilizing augmented reality for training?

Many companies are currently utilizing augmented reality for training, including Boeing, Walmart, UPS, and Siemens.

How are companies using AR for training?

Companies are using AR for training in various ways, such as providing interactive simulations, virtual walkthroughs, and real-time guidance and feedback to train employees on complex tasks and procedures. AR can also be used to create immersive and engaging training experiences that improve knowledge retention and reduce the risk of errors or accidents.

Which brands are currently utilizing augmented reality?

Many brands across various industries have embraced augmented reality as a way to enhance their customer experiences and stand out in a competitive marketplace. Some of the top brands using AR include:

  1. IKEA: The furniture retailer allows customers to use AR to preview how furniture would look in their homes before making a purchase.
  2. L'Oréal: The cosmetics brand uses AR for virtual makeup try-ons.
  3. Sephora: Another cosmetics brand that uses AR for virtual makeup try-ons.
  4. Porsche: The automaker uses AR to allow customers to experience its vehicles in a virtual showroom.
  5. Lenovo: The computer manufacturer uses AR to help customers visualize and customize their products before purchase.
  6. Coca-Cola: The beverage brand uses AR for interactive product packaging and advertising.
  7. Nike: The athletic apparel brand uses AR for virtual product try-ons and interactive store displays.

What do you look for in great augmented reality developers?

There are several qualities and skills that you want to look for in great augmented reality developers. Here are some of the most important ones:

  1. Strong technical skills: Augmented reality developers need to have a solid foundation in programming languages such as C++, Java, or Swift, as well as knowledge of AR frameworks and libraries like ARKit, ARCore, or MRTK. They should also be familiar with 3D modeling and graphics software, as well as have experience with machine learning and computer vision.
  2. Creativity: AR development requires a lot of creativity in coming up with new and innovative ideas for how to integrate virtual content into the real world. Great AR developers should be able to think outside the box and find unique solutions to problems.
  3. Attention to detail: Since AR is all about blending virtual content with the real world, the smallest details can make a big difference in the user experience. AR developers should have a keen eye for detail and be meticulous in their work.
  4. User experience design: In addition to technical skills, AR developers should have a strong understanding of user experience design principles. They should be able to create intuitive and engaging AR experiences that are easy for users to navigate and understand.