The New Digital Shopping Journey for Automotive Consumers
January 6, 2021
The way that consumers shop for and purchase a new vehicle has evolved over the years. Ten years ago, the average consumer visited between five to seven automotive dealerships prior to purchasing a vehicle. But now, the automotive customer journey primarily takes place in the digital world. Because of this shift to the digital world, today’s average consumer only visits one dealership prior to purchasing a vehicle. Every company in the automotive industry must be prepared to sell to consumers in the digital world in order to stay competitive. But first, they must understand the different stages of the digital shopping journey for automotive consumers. STAGE 1: DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT The first stage of the digital shopping journey for automotive consumers is digital engagement, which is similar to the awareness stage of the classic consumer buying cycle. The goal of this stage is to increase brand awareness among your target audience. Your target audience should not only be familiar with your brand but also should understand how you are different from your competitors. Focus on promoting the latest news related to your brand to keep your target audience informed. Automotive brands should use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram to connect with consumers during this stage of the buying journey. Facilitating two-way communication between your brand and target audience is the key to succeeding during this stage. Social media platforms give brands the opportunity to connect directly with consumers, so you should use this to your advantage. Respond to consumers’ questions, comments, and complaints on social media. Thank consumers for their feedback, regardless of whether or not it is positive. Not only is this a great way to engage with consumers, but it will also give you the chance to show off your brand’s unique personality. STAGE 2: VIRTUAL ENGAGEMENT & CONFIGURATION The next stage in the digital buying journey is virtual engagement and configuration, which is similar to the information gathering stage of the classic consumer buying cycle. Take engagement with your target audience to the next level during this stage of the buying journey. The purpose of the first stage was to inform your audience and respond to all social media interactions. But go one step further during this stage by working with them one-on-one to help them find the information they need in real-time. Automotive brands should use live chats, virtual reality showrooms, video chats, and their website to reach consumers during this stage of the buying journey. For example, automotive brands could offer digital consumers video consultations to help them find the right vehicle for their lifestyle and budget. Automotive companies could also create virtual showrooms for their online consumers. Inside these showrooms, consumers can connect directly with a sales representative who can take them on a virtual tour of a specific vehicle. In other words, the goal should be to create a personalized sales pitch for each of your digital consumers. This will make consumers feel as if they are walking the showroom floor with a sales representative without ever stepping foot inside a dealership. STAGE 3: DEDICATED CROSS-CHANNEL ASSISTANCE The third stage in the digital shopping journey for automotive consumers is dedicated cross-channel assistance. A consumer who enters this stage of the buying journey has already conducted research regarding their options and tentatively decided on which model they are interested in purchasing. But now, they are interested in using an online car configurator to customize their vehicle. They want to be able to build their own vehicle, see what the vehicle will look like in various colors, and find out exactly how much it will cost to purchase their custom creation. This is an important stage in the digital buying journey. In fact, meeting your customer’s needs during this stage is the key to closing the deal. But unfortunately, many automotive brands lose touch with their customers during this stage. Automotive brands should use live chats or video consultations to guide consumers through this stage. Walk them through how to use the online car configuration tool. Help them finalize the add-on features, colors, and other design elements of their custom vehicle. To succeed during this stage, focus on responding quickly to consumers and providing personalized advice. Be prepared to provide in-person support at your dealership if a consumer needs additional assistance. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/DigitalShoppingJourneyforAutomotiveConsumers-2.jpg] STAGE 4: PERSONAL DRIVING EXPERIENCE After completing the dedicated cross-channel assistance stage, a consumer moves into the personal driving experience stage of the digital automotive shopping journey. The test drive is a crucial stage in the decision-making process for automotive consumers. But it can present a unique challenge to automotive brands, who must be able to figure out how to offer a test drive to digital consumers. There are two ways to meet the digital consumer’s journey during this phase. First, automotive brands can offer consumers the opportunity to take a virtual test drive. A virtual test drive, which is powered by virtual reality technology, allows consumers to see what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle without ever leaving the comfort of their home. The second option is making it easier for digital consumers to schedule and take an in-person test drive. For example, give consumers the option to schedule a test drive through your website. Allow them to confirm their identity and provide required documentation online to reduce the amount of time they have to spend at the dealership. Automotive brands could also offer to bring the vehicle to the consumer so they can take a test drive in their neighborhood without having to visit the dealership. The goal of this stage is to make the test drive as easy and convenient as possible for digital consumers. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/DigitalShoppingJourneyforAutomotiveConsumers-1-1.jpg] STAGE 5: EXCLUSIVE & CUSTOM OFFER The fifth stage in the digital buying journey is the exclusive and custom offer. In the traditional consumer buying cycle, this stage is part of the purchase phase. The automotive brand and the consumer complete their transaction during this stage. But this involves much more than simply clicking a button or providing a digital signature. Remember, a vehicle is a significant financial investment, so consumers may need additional support in order to feel comfortable with the decision to close the deal. Make yourself available to consumers during this stage of the process via phone, video consultation, and live chat. If consumers aren’t adequately supported during this stage, they may get cold feet and completely back out of the deal. Be sure to give consumers the opportunity to sign their contract online so they don’t need to visit the dealership in person to finalize the deal. They should be able to provide a digital signature in order to complete the purchase of their vehicle. STAGE 6: ONGOING ENGAGEMENT The sixth stage, which is ongoing engagement, is also part of the purchase phase of the traditional consumer buying cycle. The goal of the fifth stage is to get the consumer to sign the contract and close the deal. But the goal of this stage is to keep them engaged between the time the contract is signed and the time their vehicle is delivered. One way to keep customers engaged is to create personalized videos for them in the days or weeks leading up to the arrival of their vehicle. Take them behind the scenes to see the production process of their vehicle or send them a video of their vehicle driving off the lot on its way to their home. Send these videos via email or text. If there is a long wait between the time the contract is signed and the time the vehicle is delivered, be sure to send regular updates to the consumer. They shouldn’t feel like they are no longer important to you simply because they already signed the contract. Use this time to build excitement and strengthen your relationship with your customer. STAGE 7: ENHANCED EXPERIENCE THROUGH IN-CAR ASSISTANCE The enhanced experience through the in-car assistance phase is the final stage in the digital automotive shopping journey. At this point, the consumer is already in possession of their vehicle, but that doesn’t mean the digital buying journey is over. Now, the goal is to retain this customer so they always purchase vehicles from your company instead of going to a competitor. To retain a customer, focus on providing additional services such as routine maintenance and repairs. Allow customers to schedule these appointments online to make it as convenient as possible for them. You should also follow up with each customer to ensure they are completely satisfied with their vehicle. If they aren’t satisfied, make an effort to address their concerns. Use connected in-car features to interact with your customers. For example, use these features to share the latest news or brand updates with customers who are already driving your vehicles. Buying a vehicle is a significant financial investment, which is why today’s consumers expect extraordinary, personalized customer service at every stage in the digital shopping journey. Experts believe that the number of consumers who shop for a vehicle online will continue to grow in the future. For this reason, it’s important for automotive companies to invest heavily in meeting the demands of these new digital consumers.
23 Best Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Apps For iOS and Android
December 28, 2020
Virtual reality technology allows users to explore new digital worlds, whereas augmented reality technology allows users to experience the world around them in a new and exciting way. These technologies may not have been easily accessible to consumers in the past, but now they’ve gone mainstream. In fact, these technologies are now used to support countless apps for iOS and Android devices. Here’s an overview of the 23 best augmented reality and virtual reality apps: [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-197.jpeg] DINOTREK Dinosaurs are extinct, but consumers can still find out what it’s like to walk amongst them thanks to the DinoTrek app. This app uses virtual reality technology to transport users to a prehistoric era where dinosaurs still roamed on Earth. You can get up close and personal with a T-Rex or observe dinosaurs relaxing in the sun from a safe distance. You can even see them fight one another over food or other scarce resources. The best part? You don’t need a virtual reality headset to enjoy this unforgettable experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-27.png] TANK TRAINING See what it’s like to operate a military tank by downloading the Tank Training app, which is powered by virtual reality technology. The tank is armed with cannons, which you must shoot to destroy marked targets as you navigate through this virtual world. You can play this game on your own to practice or compete against friends or other online players. A leadership board is even displayed within the app so you can see how you are performing compared to other players. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-198.jpeg] ROLLERCOASTER You don’t need to visit an amusement park to experience the thrill of riding a rollercoaster. Instead, download the Rollercoaster app, which uses virtual reality technology to strap you in for the ride of a lifetime. There are over 60 different rollercoasters to explore within this app. Be prepared for tight twists and turns, stomach-churning drops, and never-ending fun! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-199.jpeg] SISTERS The Sisters app uses virtual reality technology to transport you inside a haunted mansion on a stormy night. You will quickly discover that you are alone in a room and surrounded by creepy décor and scary Victorian-era dolls. What happens next in this ghost story will depend on what objects you interact with in this spooky virtual world. But one thing is certain: you will be on the edge of your seat the entire time. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-200.jpeg] CARTOON VILLAGE Travel to the colorful streets of Cartoon Village, a virtual world inhabited by peaceful farmers and other workers. The level of detail that went into the design of Cartoon Village will make you feel like you are actually walking down these virtual streets. Create your own custom characters and interact with the residents of Cartoon Village to learn more about the way they live. You can even adjust the time of day or season to see how these changes affect the virtual residents of this town. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-28.png] VOLVO REALITY Take a virtual test drive of a brand new Volvo using the Volvo Reality app, which is supported by virtual reality technology. You can see what it’s like to sit in the driver’s seat of a Volvo XC90 SUV. Explore the interior of the vehicle, take in the beautiful sights around you, and relax so you can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime joyride. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-29.png] JUST A LINE The Just A Line app uses augmented reality technology to bring your drawings to life. You won’t need any special equipment to enjoy this app. Simply use your finger to draw anything your heart desires. Then, the app will use augmented reality technology to project your drawing onto your surroundings. You can even capture a video of your experience so you can easily share it with friends and family. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-201.jpeg] GOOGLE MAPS The Google Maps app is designed with an augmented reality mode, which makes it easier than ever before to get where you need to go. Type in the address of your final destination. Then, hold your smartphone up and watch as the app projects digital arrows and other navigational symbols onto your surroundings. You won’t ever miss another turn or street sign again thanks to these visual cues. Instead, the app ensures that you quickly navigate through the city to make it to your final destination. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-202.jpeg] CIVILIZATIONS AR BBC’s Civilizations AR app was released to complement the network’s Civilizations documentary series. However, you won’t need to watch the documentaries in order to enjoy the app. This augmented reality app gives you an opportunity to explore over 30 artifacts from various time periods and ancient civilizations. Using the app, you can see 3-D lifelike renderings of each famous artifact. Take a closer look at each artifact while the app tells you more about where it’s from and its historical significance. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-203.jpeg] SKETCHAR This innovative app allows you to use your smartphone as a drawing aid. How does it work? Use your smartphone camera to project an augmented reality sketch on a blank piece of paper in front of you. Grab a pen, paintbrush, or marker and trace the digital lines of the sketch on the piece of paper. In just a few minutes, you can create a beautiful work of art. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-30.png] YOUCAM MAKEUP Try out different makeup looks without spending a penny on new cosmetic products using the YouCam Makeup app, which is powered by augmented reality technology. You can see what you would look like wearing various shades of lipstick, blush, and eyeshadow from L’Oreal, Maybelline, and other cosmetic brands. If you like a certain look, snap a selfie so you can remember which products to buy the next time you visit a drug or grocery store. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-204.jpeg] WARBY PARKER Similar to the YouCam Makeup app, the Warby Parker app uses augmented reality to allow consumers to try on different looks at home. Using this app, you can try on countless pairs of Warby Parker glasses without ever stepping foot in a store. If you need help finding a pair, upload a photo of yourself and the app will suggest frames that will flatter your face shape. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-205.jpeg] SMASH TANKS Turn your tabletop, countertop, floor, or bed into an augmented reality battlefield using the Smash Tanks app. The goal is to use your digital troops and tanks to destroy the enemy as quickly as possible. You can play on your own or compete with friends or other online players—the choice is yours. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-31.png] INKHUNTER You will never regret getting another tattoo again thanks to the Inkhunter app. Use this augmented reality app to project different tattoo designs onto your body. You can choose from hundreds of different tattoos or upload your own custom design. Don’t forget to snap a photo of the digital tattoo projected onto your skin so you can get feedback from friends and family before deciding whether or not to get inked. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-206.jpeg] IKEA PLACE Use the IKEA Place app to see what tables, lamps, sofas, and other furniture pieces will look like inside your home. The app uses augmented reality to project digital images of different furniture pieces onto your surroundings. Drag and drop each piece in different places to figure out what looks best where. Once you’re satisfied with a floor plan, capture a photo so you know which furniture pieces you need to bring your virtual design to life. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-207.jpeg] MEASUREKIT Turn your smartphone into a functional tool with the MeasureKit augmented reality app. The free version of this app gives you access to an augmented reality pocket measuring tool, which you can use to measure real world objects and spaces. Upgrade to the paid version of the app to access other tools, including a level and augmented reality marker pins. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-32.png] STAR WALK See the stars like never before using the Star Walk augmented reality app. To use this app, point your smartphone up toward the sky. The app will use your phone’s location data and sensors to determine what part of the sky you are currently looking at. Then, the app will use augmented reality technology to project information onto the starry sky above you. The app will pinpoint constellations, planets, and more to enhance your stargazing experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-33.png] WALLAME Use the WallaMe app to leave your mark on buildings, sidewalks, or walls around you without breaking any laws or making a mess. Use your finger to draw a custom image on your smartphone. Then, the app will use augmented reality technology to project your custom image onto your surroundings. You can then take a photo and share it with your friends and family. The photo is geotagged, so your loved ones will know exactly where you created your virtual piece of art. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-208.jpeg] GOOGLE TRANSLATE Similar to Google Maps, the Google Translate app is also designed with an augmented reality mode. Turn on this feature and hold your smartphone up to capture the world around you. The app will read and translate street signs, menus, and more. The translated text will be projected over the foreign language text, so you can translate everything around you in real time. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-34.png] POKEMON GO Perhaps one of the most popular augmented reality apps, Pokemon Go is an interactive game that allows users to catch famous Pokemon characters. The app projects digital Pokemon characters onto your surroundings, so walk around and you might just find Pikachu hiding in your kitchen or Jigglypuff by your pool outside. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-209.jpeg] ZOMBIES GO Zombies Go is an augmented reality app that is similar to Pokemon Go. But instead of catching Pokemon characters, you will have to decide what to do with the zombies you encounter. You can choose to fight the zombies to earn points or turn on the app’s “safe mode” to protect yourself from attacks while you explore this augmented world. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-210.jpeg] WANNA KICKS Try on hundreds of different pairs of trendy athletic shoes with the Wanna Kicks app, which is supported by augmented reality technology. The app will project virtual versions of each shoe design onto your feet, so you can see what you would look like wearing each style. Using this app, you can find a pair of sneakers you love without ever leaving home. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-211.jpeg] VUFORIA CHALK Do you need help from a tech savvy friend? Open the Vuforia Chalk app to place a video call to your friend. Then, use your smartphone camera to show your friend what you’re struggling to figure out. Both you and your friend will be able to draw on the screen to work toward a resolution to your problem. For example, your friend might draw a circle around the button that they want you to press. Using this app is like having an on-call tech support team at your fingertips! Experience the power of virtual and augmented reality technology for yourself by downloading some of these incredible smartphone apps today.
7 Examples of Successful Virtual Reality Marketing
December 23, 2020
The average consumer in the United States is exposed to thousands of different advertisements on a daily basis. As a result, marketers have had to incorporate innovative technologies into their campaigns in order to cut through the noise and grab their target audience’s attention. One of these technologies is virtual reality, which allows users to immerse themselves in and interact with a simulated environment. A growing number of brands across various industries have used this technology to support successful marketing campaigns. Here’s a look at the 7 most memorable examples of virtual reality marketing: #1: THE NEW YORK TIMES’ UNIQUE VIEWING EXPERIENCE Incorporating virtual reality into a marketing campaign is one of the best ways to tell a story, so it’s not surprising that The New York Times used this technology to create a unique visual storytelling experience for consumers. In 2016, The New York Times sent Google Cardboard virtual reality glasses to their most loyal print and digital subscribers. These lucky subscribers could use the glasses to watch a virtual reality film entitled “Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart.” The film gave consumers the opportunity to virtually travel to and explore the surface of Pluto. This campaign was a success, so The New York Times continued to use this strategy to keep their subscribers engaged. In the end, The New York Times shipped Google Cardboard glasses to over one million subscribers and produced eight virtual reality films. The subjects of these films ranged from the refugee crisis in Europe to the aftermath of the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris. Not only did this campaign keep subscribers engaged, but it was also an effective way to reward the company’s most loyal customers. #2: VOLVO’S VIRTUAL TEST DRIVE Volvo is one of the many automotive manufacturers that have used virtual reality technology to create virtual test drive experiences for consumers. The first Volvo virtual test drive was launched several years ago. This initial campaign was a huge success, which inspired the manufacturer to launch additional virtual test drive experiences for other vehicle models. With each new launch, Volvo has updated the technology to make it easier than ever before for consumers to virtually participate. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-194.jpeg] Now, consumers can virtually test drive a Volvo by downloading the Volvo Reality app. This experience works best with a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset, but consumers can still participate in the test drive even if they don’t have this device. The test drive will put consumers behind the wheel of a new Volvo XC90 as it takes a scenic drive through the mountains. This virtual reality experience allows consumers to explore the various features and built-in amenities of the vehicle so they have the information they need to make a purchase decision without ever stepping foot in a dealership. #3: LOWE’S HOLOROOM The home improvement store Lowe’s caters to consumers who are interested in DIY projects. These consumers would rather complete home improvement projects on their own instead of hiring a professional to do the job. To appeal to these consumers, Lowe’s used virtual reality technology to launch the Holoroom. The Holoroom was an in-store, virtual skills-training clinic that helped consumers learn how to complete common home improvement projects. Inside the Holoroom, consumers could learn everything from how to paint a fence to how to tile a bathroom floor or wall. To participate, consumers had to put on an HTC Hive virtual reality headset. Then, they were asked to choose what they wanted to learn how to do inside the Holoroom. Once they made a selection, they were given on-screen instructions and guidance and asked to virtually complete the project. For example, if a consumer wanted to learn how to paint a wall, they would be able to virtually place painters’ tape around the wall’s borders, put a paintbrush in paint, and apply the paint to the wall. Walking through each step of the project helped consumers understand what they needed to do to complete the task on their own. The Holoroom was a huge success for Lowe’s. In fact, the brand conducted a study to determine whether consumers who participated in the Holoroom were more or less successful in completing their DIY projects than consumers who simply watched a how-to video on YouTube. The results showed that consumers who were trained in the Holoroom were 36% more successful than those who only watched a video. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-195.jpeg] #4: ADIDAS’S VIRTUAL MOUNTAIN CLIMBING Adidas is another brand that successfully used virtual reality technology to market its products. The campaign, which was launched in 2017, was designed to increase brand awareness of TERREX, a line of outdoor apparel and accessories by Adidas. The campaign centered around two extreme athletes, Ben Rueck and Delaney Miller, who were in the middle of a mountain climbing adventure sponsored by TERREX. The brand encouraged consumers to use a virtual reality headset and sensory remote controls to go on the mountain climbing adventure with Rueck and Miller. The headset gave consumers a 360-degree view of the mountainside that Rueck and Miller were scaling. This immersive experience made consumers feel as if they were right next to the two athletes throughout their journey. But that’s not all. Using the remote controls, consumers could actually climb the mountain with Rueck and Miller. The headset projected arrows and other graphics to show consumers which rocks to grab next. Then, consumers could reach for the rock with their remote control to virtually pull themselves up. The campaign created an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts who will forever associate TERREX with their exciting virtual adventure. #5: TOPSHOP’S VIRTUAL TRIP TO FASHION WEEK TopShop, an international clothing retailer, was an early adopter of virtual reality marketing. The retailer was one of the many brands that participated in London Fashion Week in 2014. Tickets to the show were highly sought after and mostly reserved for major players in the fashion industry such as Anna Wintour and Kate Moss. But thanks to virtual reality technology, fans of TopShop were able to virtually attend this buzzworthy event even if they weren’t lucky enough to snag a ticket. The fashion show was filmed live from a coveted seat in the front row using special Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. After the show, the brand set up stations with virtual reality headsets inside each TopShop store. Shoppers who visited a TopShop store after the show could stop by one of these stations, put on a virtual reality headset, and see the entire fashion show from a virtual seat in the front row. They were even able to virtually go backstage to see the models get ready to walk down the catwalk. Although the fashion show was a one-day event, this marketing campaign allowed TopShop customers to relive it for weeks afterward. It also got their customers excited about the upcoming line of clothing that was first introduced in the fashion show. #6: NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM’S VIRTUAL TOURS London is home to the Natural History Museum, which attracts millions of visitors from around the world every year. But thanks to virtual reality technology, there’s no need to hop on a plane to visit this world-famous museum in person. Instead, history buffs can take a virtual tour of the museum from the comfort of their own home. In 2018, the museum launched its virtual tour experience, which is hosted by Sir David Attenborough. To participate, consumers must put on a virtual reality headset and use a remote control to interact with various aspects of the tour. Acting as the tour guide, Attenborough takes consumers to areas of the museum that are typically not open to the public, including the Conservation Centre and Cryptogamic Herbarium and Earth Sciences Library. Using the remote control, consumers can even virtually handle priceless objects that they encounter in the museum. A three-dimensional hologram of Attenborough guides consumers through the tour while providing commentary on various subjects, including dinosaurs, marine life, and other relevant topics. This virtual tour allows consumers to experience the National History Museum in London in a new and exciting way. The campaign successfully generated a lot of buzz for the museum and drew interest from consumers from every corner of the globe. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-196.jpeg] #7: OREO’S WONDER VAULT In 2016, Oreo introduced the concept of the “Wonder Vault,” which is an imaginary world where the brand’s cookies are created. Shortly after, Oreo launched a marketing campaign that allowed consumers to explore this magical world with a little help from virtual reality technology. Using a Google Cardboard headset, consumers could travel deep into the Wonder Vault. Once inside, they could ride on a cookie down a river of cream that flowed between majestic chocolate mountains. Their journey through this mystical world would eventually lead them to a whimsical factory where they were able to see how the brand’s latest flavor, Filled Cupcake Oreos, were made. This campaign allowed Oreo to connect with their consumers by sharing this memorable experience. It also helped the brand raise brand awareness and generate buzz leading up to the launch of a new cookie flavor. It’s not too late for marketers to embrace virtual reality technology to boost their brand. The virtual reality market is expected to grow exponentially in the future, so it’s safe to say that there will be countless other campaigns supported by this technology.
The Role of Augmented Reality in Automotive Education
December 21, 2020
Augmented and virtual reality is used in training sessions in multiple industries; notably, aviation flight simulators are used to prepare pilots for scenarios they may face, and these simulations allow them to stay safe in the face of an error as they remain grounded. Even the retail industry uses virtual reality simulations to allow workers to place themselves in situations they may likely encounter on the job, like an angry customer or perhaps even a robbery. These virtual platforms also can help managers determine the best candidate for the job. The role of augmented reality in automotive education also has become more pronounced. Manufacturers within the industry already use augmented reality to assist mechanics during repairs, but now augmented reality is helping students who are interested in an automotive repair and/or design career prepare and train for their future. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-191.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY IN CAR REPAIR Augmented and virtual reality technology is nothing new in the automotive industry. This technology has helped designers view 3D models in the virtual space. Ford executives donned virtual reality headsets to view car models during the Covid lockdowns. In 2015, Volvo became the first automobile manufacturer to partner with Microsoft to use the Hololens in the design process. Ford also announced the intended use of virtual reality for service technicians to train on servicing the new Mustang Mach-E crossover. The new car model is set to debut in 2021, and, according to Automotive News, Ford told dealerships that in order to sell the Mach-E, the dealer must get “recertified,” meaning that technicians must be trained on how to properly service the model. The virtual reality solution allows techs at dealerships to learn about the new vehicle and how to service its components without having access to the physical vehicle. When the new model rolls onto dealership lots, and customers begin to make purchases, techs will be ready to handle service calls thanks to the virtual training. Porsche uses an augmented reality technology called “Tech Live Look” to assist technicians in the field. Tech Live Look uses glasses linked to software for techs to get up close to tiny details that aid in their repairs. The glasses also can illuminate areas that may be hard to see. According to a press release from Porsche, Tech Live Look also allows the technician to show the repair issues to a crew in Atlanta for full support assistance. Those engine issues can be viewed and shared with an additional team for optimum service and ensure client satisfaction. AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY GAMES FOR STUDENTS IN AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN & REPAIR Students attending a tech school or those who are interested in a career in automotive design and repair also may be utilizing virtual or augmented reality as part of their curriculum. CDX Learning Systems, which brands itself as “…the world’s leading provider of interactive and experiential curriculum for skilled technician training,” highlighted the upcoming technology that may be used in automotive repair education. The game Wrench, the company noted, allowed players to virtually make repairs to cars, build engines and choose their tools, too. Virtual reality repair games could be an early introduction for teens and tweens to experience the role of the repair technician. Playing a not-so-serious game also could encourage an interest in cars and the mechanics that drive them. For kids who may be race enthusiasts or who may have vast knowledge in makes/models, these games let them peek under the hood and maybe even create their own dream car. Wrench is available for download via Steam or on Oculus. The game’s site explains that players have to manage a car’s many internal systems. These systems include, per the site, the engine and cylinder head, suspension, braking system, fuel system, cooling system, and the ignition. Steam also is home to the upcoming Car Mechanic Simulator VR. This game “…challenges players to repair, paint, tune and drive cars in a fully 3D world.” Players hunt for their cars via the junkyard and the barn. Their job is to take old, discarded vehicles and make them purr. The game is not yet available and a release date is noted as “coming soon.” [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-192.jpeg] AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM For teens or young adults enrolled in a vo-tech school or program that focuses on automotive repair or design, the curriculum may include some type of virtual or augmented reality platforms to facilitate learning. There are many different virtual reality programs to help students virtually train for their future jobs in automotive repair. GTAFE offers VR Automotive Mechanic, which is a program that allows students to work in a virtual auto shop, where they can assemble and disassemble the car and its components safely. VR Automotive Expert (also GTAFE), is described as a “3D interactive study guide for automotive training.” The program provides automotive courses and enables students to engage in simulations, review 3D resources, and more. One of the biggest benefits of these types of programs is related to safety. Students who are just learning the basics about car mechanics—or even venturing into more detailed repairs—may make a mistake that could potentially create a safety hazard. Learning virtually allows for mistakes to happen virtually, too. Any issue is safely contained in the virtual space, and students can learn from their mistakes without the fear of physical injury or other safety concerns. Learning virtually also could allow students to redo a lesson or try the same repair over again, although programs may differ in this regard. In the real world of automotive repair, the requirements of each job may differ. One car may need a new water pump, but another could need repairs to the braking system. Virtual lessons may offer more opportunities for students to zero in on the skills that need to be perfected and refined. In the age of Covid and at-home learning, these virtual and augmented reality platforms also could allow students to continue their education at home. Students learning automotive repair may be limited in their garage exposure if class size is restricted. Perhaps these virtual programs allow for more students to engage in continuing their education beyond books and lectures. Learning by doing for future automotive technicians could be the ideal solution…even if these lessons are virtual simulations. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-193.jpeg] REAL-WORLD VS. VIRTUAL REALITY Major players in the automotive industry understand that virtual reality and augmented reality does not and cannot always take the place of real-life experiences. While automotive manufacturers utilize virtual reality in car design, clay models are still a fundamental part of the process. Regarding the design process, Ford’s Joel Piaskowski told Automotive Magazine that “…Once it gets down to final sign off, it seems like clay is never going to go away, despite all the advances in VR and in computer CAD design and graphics and so on over the years.” Even with technology allowing executives and designers to step into a virtual space to visualize 3D car models, the need for clay may always exist. As Piaskowski explained to the magazine, cars are three-dimensional and a physical model may always be necessary. The physical rendering provides designers, engineers, and executives with a means to explore the mechanics in detail and by touch; while virtual allows a graphic 3D display, there is no true sensory integration related to touch. That being said, games and simulations allow technicians and students to better acclimate to the mechanics of a vehicle. For professional techs, this technology may allow them to preview a new model’s mechanics and better prepare for service appointments when the model rolls out…and buyers drive away. Students can safely make mechanical mistakes when lessons involve virtual simulations. Students who fail to grasp the repairs of a specific mechanical system also may be able to repeat these repairs, while, in the real world, they might not be offered the same opportunity…or those opportunities could be limited. The Future of Augmented and Virtual Reality in Automotive Repairs Virtual and augmented reality may be the future of automotive repair and design education. As simulation programs become the norm, schools and vo-tech programs may invest in this technology to provide students with a safer option to real-world experiences. More automobile manufacturers also may deploy virtual reality or augmented reality in their repair training; while Porsche and Ford already utilize virtual/augmented reality for technicians, other companies may follow their lead. When self-driving cars become the norm—or if they become the norm—these virtual reality platforms also could take over the world of automotive repairs too. Maybe instead of a real-life technician, virtual avatars take their place. We may get to the point where automotive repairs are completed by robots, and the entire repair process is visualized in a virtual environment. If Porsche’s Tech Live Look can connect a repair technician to an entire team in another state, this also could become the norm in car repair. Dealership technicians could have access to a support team that helps diagnose mechanical issues or there could be an ongoing dialogue about possible issues related to a particular make/model, propelling the need for a recall. Virtual and augmented reality holds the keys to the future of the automotive industry, and this technology may transform the process of automotive repair to ensure proper diagnosis and repair of mechanical issues.
The Best VR Headsets for Holiday 2020…and Other Gifts!
December 18, 2020
The last days are here for holiday shopping, and it might be too late to have those last-minute presents shipped to your door in time for the holidays. If you’re on the hunt for gifts for a favorite gamer or tech fanatic, though, a virtual reality headset might be a great option. Not sure what virtual reality headset is best? These are the best VR headsets for holiday 2020, according to tech writers, and, yes, they can be found in stores. Although you may have to research the best prices. OCULUS QUEST 2 Oculus is a known leader in virtual reality, but the company’s tech is used beyond the gaming world. Oculus Rift headsets are used by Ikea for a virtual shopping experience. Why is the Quest 2 a must-have? According to the company, the Quest 2 features “A blazing fast processor and next generation graphics. The Verge reviewed this headset and noted it was one of the more budget-friendly options. The writer, Adi Robertson, included a list of pros and cons for the headset, with positive notes regarding the price and “the strong ecosystem.” Robertson noted, though, that users had to sign in with Facebook (this was noted as a ‘con’), the cable was an added investment cost, the headset also was a bit cumbersome, and, per Robertson, “socially awkward.” Still, for the price, this may be a great gift option for teens or gamers. SONY PLAYSTATION VR For gamers who prefer to game via Playstation (some just have their favorites), the VR made by the company may be the ideal purchase. Shoppers can find the headset separately in some online sites. But stores may sell the bundle package, which includes a camera (and adapter for the camera), controllers and the headset…plus some game vouchers. Prices and availability may vary by stores. If you’re on a last-minute hunt, you may need to shop around. HTC VIVE COSMOS The HTV Vive Cosmos was listed on both CNET’s and PCMag’s list of best virtual reality headsets for 2020. The Vive Cosmos, though, isn’t noted as a gaming headset, but, rather, was recommended by PCMag as The Best for Whole Room VR. PCMag listed a quick list of pros and cons for the headset, with positive notes for the Vive’s “sharp display,” motion controls, and extensive library. Negatives? PCMag noted that the headset was pricey, the cable was cumbersome and the headset required a special port. CNET gave the Vive Cosmos positive notes for “Modular faceplates for extra features; built-in tracking; flip-up visor.” However, the writer noted that the big con was the price. Meanwhile, The Verve’s headline for its review of the Cosmos was that the headset was “not out of this world. The writer, Adi Robertson, stated in the review: “While the headset is clearly capable of excellent performance, I was fighting its hardware and software every step of the way — from the clunky interface to some frustrating tracking issues. “ How much is the Vive Cosmos? Again, the price can vary per store, but it hovers about a penny under $600. VALVE INDEX If the Vive Cosmos is out of the price range, the Valve Index may be, too. PCMag notes that the Valve index is pricey. The Valve Index is an investment, with a price tag of about $1,000 (for the whole package). The publication stated that it hadn’t tested out the Valve Index, though. Scott Stein, writing for CNET, noted, though, that this is one that can be purchased a la carte. Stein explains that shoppers can use hardware from Vive with Valve, meaning that you might not need to invest a grand to use aspects of the Valve Index. Pick what you want to try. While buying everything for the Valve Index might be expensive, the a la carte option could be the way to go…if you have hardware that will work with its components. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-189.jpeg] CAN’T AFFORD VR? TRY THESE AUGMENTED REALITY GAMES Virtual reality headsets may be a tech-savvy dream gift, but for families who may be on a budget, the virtual experience via headset might not be on the list. So how can gamers experience virtual reality without spending virtually the entire budget? Can you have a low-budget virtual reality holiday? While headsets may be off the list and not on Santa’s sleigh, augmented reality is another way to gift a high-tech experience. Here are some great game options to gift your favorite gamer this holiday…and they all utilize augmented reality platforms: POKEMON GO! The OG augmented reality game! This game has been popular for years, and it’s great for the younger set. Just make sure young gamers pay attention to their surroundings, so they don’t get hurt. It’s easy to get caught up hunting for the cute Pokemon. Not familiar with the game? It’s premise is fairly simple. Players find Pokemon hiding in the world around them. The game shows the real world environment, and the Pokemon are the augmented digital enhancements. They may be hiding anywhere! HARRY POTTER: WIZARDS UNITE This game features elements of virtual reality and augmented reality. Players can choose their wizarding profession—like Auror or Professor. Portkeys are discovered, and players travel to different places in the “wizarding world.” So where’s the augmented reality in the game? The player’s environment will show different magical places; after all, in the books, the Wizarding World existed within the real world…places were simply hidden to Muggles. There also are game challenges and even mysteries to discover. JURASSIC WORLD ALIVE The dinosaurs of the Jurassic era are everywhere. This game mixes the natural environment with the dinosaurs of the prehistoric eras. Your dinosaurs can battle the dinosaurs of other players, and new dinosaurs can be created with DNA experiments. ZOMBIES, RUN! Get fit and have fun…running from zombies! This is a game to play while running (or walking)! But when zombies are visible, you’ll have to quicken the pace. The game also lets players collect items during the game. MINECRAFT EARTH Minecraft is a popular game for kids…but adults may like it, too. Minecraft Earth lets players build their Minecraft world in the real world. The creations can turn into life-size worlds. Players also can find game items in their own world. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-190.jpeg] OTHER TECH OPTIONS FOR THE HOLIDAYS? With only a week left until Christmas Day, options for games and virtual reality headsets may be limited. If you still haven’t checked all those tech fanatics off your gift list, here are a few other options to make them happy on the holiday: HEADPHONES Ear phones or over the ear headphones are available in a variety of price ranges. Most stores keep many different brands in stock, so this could be a good option for a last-minute gift. Specialized headsets even include microphones so gamers can talk to each other while playing. GAMING GIFT CARDS Whether a favorite gamer prefers Playstation or Xbox or uses Steam, there’s typically a gift card available that can be personalized with a budget-friendly dollar amount. There also are gift cards for Google Play and Apple, too. GAMING KEYBOARDS For gamers who use a console, a gaming keyboard can make playing easier. There are many different keyboards on the market, and some even change colors. A SPECIALIZED CHAIR A gaming chair or even a bean bag chair can make sitting for hours a bit more comfortable. Gaming chairs can come in all sorts of hues and styles. Some even feature LED lights. Comfort and size may be key. If the chair is for the office or computer gaming, make sure it isn’t too big, bulky or cumbersome. Also, keep in mind the size of the room; you don’t want the chair to be the primary piece! GAME MERCH From Minecraft toys and plushies to other fun merch, pick up items that are game-related…but not the game itself. Funko Pop! makes some cool game figures! Blankets and bedding also could be available. Or knit a cool tech-themed scarf…if you have the time. ACCESSORIES Extra or upgraded controllers and other accessories also could make a great gift for gamers. For tech-lovers there are also many accessories for PCs to enhance user experience. Speakers or a new mouse (yes, there are even specialized gaming mice) could be a great gift idea, too. Gaming mice also can be used with consoles. There are so many options for tech gifts this year. For buyers looking at virtual reality headsets, the budget may need to be a bit heftier to accommodate for the price-tags for many of the best options. However, for those with a smaller budget, games that feature augmented reality tech could be a great gift idea…unless, of course, the gamer already owns the games! Headphones, gaming mice, gaming chairs and even accessories can add to the experience for the gamer. Merchandise like novelty figures, toys or other items could be an inexpensive way to embrace the game theme without spending too much money. And, for those really hard to please on the holiday list, a gift card to Steam, Xbox, Playstation or even a favorite gaming store allows your favorite tech lover to get what they really want this holiday!
Five Ways Technology Is Transforming How The Real Estate Industry Works
December 4, 2020
According to the National Association of Realtors®, there are currently over two million licensed real estate agents in the United States. Realtors® are responsible for representing buyers and sellers and guiding them through the process of completing a real estate transaction. They can assist buyers and sellers with everything from touring homes and making offers to scheduling inspections and finalizing contracts. Even though Realtors® have been around for over 100 years, the real estate industry has drastically changed throughout the decades. One of the main driving forces of change within the real estate industry is technology. In fact, new technologies could lead to a complete transformation of how the real estate works. Here are five ways that technology is altering the real estate industry: [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-173.jpeg] VIRTUAL HOME TOURS It’s very rare for a buyer to fall in love with the first home that they see in person. In fact, the average homebuyer will tour about 10 different homes before finding the right one. This means scheduling 10 different listing appointments, traveling to 10 different properties, and touring 10 different homes. This can take up a significant amount of time for buyers and their real estate agents. It’s even more challenging for out-of-town buyers who have to travel a long distance to see a listing in person. But luckily, there is a more convenient and faster way to check out listings thanks to technology. Many real estate agents now use virtual reality technology to provide their clients with virtual tours of listings. Using this technology, prospective buyers can tour every inch of a property without ever leaving the comfort of their own home. The tours are incredibly detailed and lifelike, so buyers will feel like they’re actually walking through the home. During the tour, buyers can even view rooms from multiple angles or get the exact dimensions of a space. Virtual home tours give buyers the opportunity to see more homes than they normally would see in person. They are free to explore as many homes as they would like until they find one that meets their family’s unique needs. Buyers can also explore these homes on their own time, so there’s no longer a need to schedule a tour with a real estate agent. Essentially, a virtual tour is like hosting an open house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Virtual tours also make the process of finding a new home easier on buyers who don’t live in the area. This technology allows these buyers to find the home of their dreams from thousands of miles away. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-174.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY STAGED HOMES Many people move out of their homes before putting them on the market, which means real estate agents are tasked with the job of selling a vacant home to buyers. But buyers often have a hard time visualizing what furniture will look like in a vacant home, which is why these homes are often harder for real estate agents to sell. In the past, the only way to overcome this challenge was to invest in furniture staging, which can cost a real estate agent thousands of dollars. But real estate agents now have a far less expensive and more convenient option: augmented reality staging. Augmented reality is a type of technology that projects digital images onto a real world environment. In the real estate world, this technology is often used to project digital images of furniture onto various rooms of a vacant home. Augmented reality technology allows real estate agents to digitally stage vacant homes using digital images of a wide range of furniture. This way, buyers no longer need to make an effort to visualize how the home will look with furniture. This technology makes vacant homes more appealing to buyers and easier for real estate agents to sell. There are a number of tools that real estate agents can use to digitally stage listings. Some tools will only work with vacant homes, whereas others can be used to digitally replace unattractive furniture in listing photos. There are even tools that connect real estate agents with professional designers who will help them choose the right digital furniture to add to a room. PERSONALIZED SEARCHES FOR HOMEBUYERS Technology has completely changed the way that buyers search for homes. Buyers used to initiate the search for a new home by contacting a Realtor® for help. But now, the vast majority of buyers start the process by looking for properties online. This means that real estate agents may or may not play an important role in helping buyers find the home of their dreams. Instead, real estate agents may not even be contacted until a prospective buyer has found a home that they are interested in seeing in person. Artificial intelligence technology has also made it easier for buyers to quickly find homes that meet their unique needs. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is technology that allows machines to think like humans and emulate their actions. This type of technology is used to power algorithms utilized on real estate websites and mobile apps. AI-based algorithms are used to predict human behavior and customize the user experience on real estate websites and mobile apps. Real estate websites and apps use these algorithms to personalize search results for prospective buyers. In other words, this technology is used to ensure that buyers only see listings that they would be interested in when searching on a real estate website or app. The algorithm analyzes the buyer’s past behavior to determine the most relevant listings. This technology makes it easier than ever before for buyers to find their dream home without the help of a real estate agent. If the algorithm works the way it is intended to, buyers won’t need to browse through hundreds of different listings to find the perfect home. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-175.jpeg] REMOTE CLOSINGS A real estate transaction is not complete until it has closed. At a closing, the buyers and sellers sign paperwork that officially transfers ownership of the property. In the past, the parties that were involved in the real estate transaction had to meet in-person to complete this part of the process. But thanks to technology, many title companies now offer clients the option to close on a property remotely. The term “cloud computing” refers to the storage and delivery of data over the internet. A number of industries have relied heavily on cloud computing over the years. Now, the real estate industry is finally starting to utilize this technology to simplify the closing process for buyers and sellers. Cloud computing allows buyers and sellers to complete closing tasks remotely. This way, they can complete these tasks whenever it is most convenient for them. There’s no need to go through the hassle of working with the other parties to schedule a closing time or spend hours signing paperwork in a title agent’s office. Taking this process online benefits Realtors®, too. Real estate agents no longer need to spend huge chunks of their days at closing appointments. As a result, they will have more time to focus on generating new leads and helping other clients. This technology is also useful for record retention. Real estate agents are legally required to retain closing paperwork for a certain number of years. But few agents have enough space to store physical copies of these records. Fortunately, that’s not an issue anymore since agents can store paperwork on the cloud instead of in their filing cabinet. SMART HOMES Smart home technology refers to home devices that connect with one another via a shared network and offer some degree of automation or remote control. For example, homeowners with smart lighting systems can adjust the brightness of their lights or turn the lights off and on from an app on their smartphone or tablet. Homeowners with smart locks on their front door can remotely give a dog walker or house cleaner access to their home without having to hand out copies of their keys. These are just two examples of the many different smart devices that are used in homes today. The emergence of smart technology has impacted the real estate industry. Because smart technology makes daily life at home easier and more convenient, a growing number of buyers are looking for homes that are built with smart devices. Realtors® must understand the basics of smart home technology so they are capable of talking to buyers and sellers about it when listing or showing a home. They must also understand the impact that smart technology can have on a home that is for sale. In general, being equipped with smart technology will not drastically increase the value of a home. But smart homes tend to hold value longer and sell faster than homes that are not equipped with this technology. Realtors® can use this information when advising buyers who are looking for smart homes and sellers who are listing smart homes. Technology has already started to reshape the real estate industry. So far, technology has made it even easier for buyers and sellers to complete real estate transactions. As the industry continues to embrace new technologies, it’s safe to say that the way real estate works will keep evolving over time.
11 Amazing Uses of Augmented Reality in the Classroom
December 2, 2020
One of the biggest challenges for any teacher is to keep classes updated and interesting. Children learn better when they are interested and fully focused on what is being taught. Teachers use a range of activities and approaches to try and make classes relatable and fun. However, new technology is now helping to bring classes to life in an ‘almost’ real way. Virtual reality and augmented reality can create shared experiences that are truly impressive. With augmented reality or virtual reality, teachers can show students things connected with their studies. This can range from a famous battle being recreated, to how microscopic particles work. Augmented reality is often great for training as it adds elements to the real world. The entire class can still see each other and the teacher, but they can also see and interact with virtual elements that are added to the real world to create a shared augmented experience. This is not to say that these devices are to replace teachers, but that they complement classes by modernizing learning and providing interactive and visual elements that would normally not be possible. Augmented reality can bring situations to life and give a different perspective to almost any subject taught in schools. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-168.jpeg] HOW AUGMENTED REALITY CAN BENEFIT THE CLASSROOM Augmented reality can change and improve the learning experience. It is a diverse tool that can be used in numerous ways. Here we look at some of the ways it can be added to education to bring learning to life and make it more interesting, if not exciting. * Engagement is one of the main benefits of augmented reality experiences. Many students can zone out (or even fall asleep) during traditional board work and bookwork. Whereas with augmented experiences things become real and modern. The interactivity of elements with mixed reality is taking things even further. Even history can become a modern and exciting experience via augmented representations. Many exercise apps can be used in physical education, turning normal gym experiences into jungle adventures or futuristic battles. * Explain concepts that many students would find challenging or simply not be able to understand. As augmented reality can render objects to appear real in the world around us, it can help to show students how a concept works. From maths to complex science, augmented reality can greatly assist learners, especially those who are visual learners. * Skill training is a particularly strong point of augmented reality apps. Many companies are already using augmented and virtual reality apps and goggles to get employees trained up with the skills they need and to provide them with virtual on the job experience before they begin to work on live projects. These systems can provide real ‘hands-on’ experience using both hands and virtual tools to interact with augmented or virtual elements. Almost anything is possible, from product design to learning complex processes of engine assembly. * Learning through doing is often considered the best way to learn something and remember it long term. While this might not apply to all subjects, many can be adapted to this augmented training approach. Students can learn through trying dangerous scientific experiments in virtual worlds, trying ancient machinery in the classroom, or even attempting surgery on virtual humans. * Add additional information and experiences that complement existing causes. Seeing a 3D model of something explained in a textbook can help students truly see how things work and why they are that way. It can show concepts such as evolution or the internal workings of machinery. The added ‘snippets’ can deepen understanding in almost all subjects. All of the above comes together to create learning experiences that are memorable and play to various learning approaches. It can help to involve the entire class and share moments that will be discussed after classes. Sparking interest and creating memorable learning experiences should be the aim of every teacher and augmented reality is making that easier. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-169.jpeg] OUR TOP AUGMENTED REALITY APPS FOR THE CLASSROOM Here we have tried to include a good mix to cover a range of typical school subjects. For teachers considering using these in the classroom, please check age ratings and content. Although most will be available in the normal Google or Apple app stores, the content may not be appropriate for all ages. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-170.jpeg] 1. AugThat – Is an educational app developed by an educator. It provides numerous augmented reality experiences of a huge range of topics. This is a good all-around app for making learning fun and interesting. 2. Math Alive – This is more for younger kids, but can help to bring a dynamic element to mathematics. It uses specially printed cards to trigger experiences, such as counting games and activities. There is no need for glasses, as this can work perfectly well on a mobile device. The package also includes a large number of materials that complement the kindergarten curriculum. 3. 3DBear – An app about 3D creation. Teachers can assign lessons through a control dashboard area and get their students to complete a range of tasks. The ap is creative and allows users to create scenes from the library of virtual objects. It can also scan objects or import objects into the app library. This app also comes with a range of lessons that are ready to go, making it easy for teachers to use as an additional educational tool. 4. HistoryView VR – This app allows students to explore historical places in virtual reality. While not an augmented reality app, it deserved a mention, as it is free and can help students to experience some amazing and interesting locations. It could work well as homework, where students can use any mobile device to experience famous museums, national parks, locations of historical events, and all sorts of other significant landmarks. Every tour is also loaded with interactive information to teach learners more about the place. 5. Catchy Words AR – This app is designed to be mainly used with young learners of the ‘elementary school’ age group. It is a free word game that combines learning vocabulary with actions. The idea is that students have to work out the word and to do that they have to run/walk around and catch the letters to solve the puzzles. It is a clever combination of exercise, spelling practice, and thought development. 6. Metaverse has a website where learners can create augmented reality experiences as well as play with a range of objects including background effects and characters. They can create entire scenes or movies by adding sound effects, speech bubbles, voice, text, and more. The system comes with full training and, while it may take some time to pick up, the training itself is a learning experience for students. The finished ‘creations’ can then be experienced by friends and other students via the app and scanning a QR code. 7. JigSpace – this app offers a shared knowledge library and the ability to develop prototypes, experiments, and demonstrations in an augmented environment. A “Jig” is a 3D demonstration of a topic or item that’s available in either augmented reality or virtual reality. It allows students to see and learn, such as exploring how inventions work or seeing a scaled version of the solar system. 8. Augment Education – This app is intended more for highschool students. It teaches students how to create an augmented reality presentation. Not only is this a useful skill as augmented reality training continues to expand, but it can also help to make any topic more interesting to all students. Users can also make virtual models of things to bring more learning experiences to the classroom. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-171.jpeg] 9. SkyMap – this is Google’s creation, the Google Sky Map and it is designed specifically for use in classrooms. The app allows students to explore and learn about our solar system, planets, and stars. It is fully responsive and interactive, which only adds to the experience and drawing in students to explore. When students point a mobile device at an area of the sky, the app can show the stars and planets of that part of space. The app also highlights interesting locations and has built-in challenges that are designed to further encourage students to learn through exploration. 10. Popar Toys – this app brings a range of posters, puzzles, board games, and books to life with augmented reality. It makes what would nowadays seem like a boring 2D experience jump to life with augmented reality. It helps to increase engagement and knowledge retention, while also adding a range of fun experiences to learning. 11. Story Spheres – has a website and virtual reality app to assist with creating and showing off digital stories. While virtual and not augmented, it is worth a mention as it brings 360-degree images to life by allowing users to add sounds or narrative. This can be used for projects for students or for teachers to explain and enhance the digital renderings of scenes and places. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-172.jpeg] The above list is in no particular order. All of the apps listed are great for the classroom, but there are certainly many more out there. One great aspect of augmented reality apps for the classroom is often the pricing. As these are for education, many are developed and provided free of charge for teachers and educated by larger companies, other educators, or kind-hearted developers. Google, Bing, and other major players are also developing huge ranges of educational augmented reality apps, most of which are free and available for all educators to take advantage of. Using this technology can transform boring topics into interactive fun learning experiences.
Virtual Reality Technology Transforms Several Major Industries
November 25, 2020
Virtual reality was once a technology and concept that was reserved for the tech elite and was likely more associated with gaming and enhancing gamers’ experience. Gaming brought virtual reality into our homes and is the start of the technology becoming part of our real-life experience. However, virtual reality technology is becoming more and more prevalent in other industries. Tools such as virtual reality headsets and virtual reality showrooms are being used in innovative ways in fields that you might not usually associate virtual reality with. In our ever online-connected world, virtual reality is helping to make remote work more accessible as well as bring a much more engaging online experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-153.jpeg] WHAT INDUSTRIES ARE USING VIRTUAL REALITY? For some time, the gaming industry has been mostly associated with virtual reality, and it has in fact taken to the technology’s tools rapidly and enthusiastically. Virtual reality headsets have helped propel the industry to innovative and engaging heights. However, other industries have taken notice of the potentials of virtual reality. Here are some industries that are using virtual reality technology to transform and enhance their fields: 1. Automotive – The automotive industry has truly embraced virtual reality technology in almost every sector. From design to sales, virtual reality technology has permeated throughout the industry to streamline the process from production to sales. Major automakers are using virtual reality at the beginning of the process to help designers and engineers make creative innovative updates to their vehicles. They are also utilizing virtual reality in their dealerships. Virtual showrooms are fast becoming a necessity for dealerships. They allow for the buyer to view a dealership’s inventory and modify vehicles with specific features to their liking, and all before they even step foot at the dealership. These virtual showrooms benefit the dealers as well as buyers come in more informed and more committed to making a purchase. This makes for quicker and easier sales for salesmen. 2. Retail – Online retail continues to grow and grow each year. This growth has become so significant that many retail stores have closed as consumers continue to prefer online shopping over in-person shopping. Because of this preference, virtual reality technology is merging the convenience of online shopping with the interactive and engaging experience of in-person retail stores. Just like virtual showrooms, shoppers can browse store inventory but also “try-on” clothing and other items. Retailers like Target and Ikea are using augmented reality and virtual reality to allow shoppers to see how home furnishings will look in their home before even purchasing them. Using virtual reality headsets or smart glasses, users can shop virtually as if they are actually entering a storefront. Virtual reality technology can help retailers reach customers in a more engaging way than just simply browsing a website. 3. Marketing and Advertising – The appeal of augmented reality and virtual reality technology comes from its ability to immerse users in an actual experience and environment that might not otherwise be possible. Marketers and advertising agencies are seeing how this appeal can bring big potential to their advertising campaigns. OmniVirt is an advertising platform for brands, companies, and publishers to monetize and distribute VR content that can be sent out to various platforms and viewed on smartphones, tablets, and websites. 4. Healthcare – Just like the automotive industry, the healthcare industry has been experimenting and embracing virtual reality technology in many different applications. Virtual reality has been a big platform for telemedicine and has been especially useful for behavioral and mental health treatments. Virtual reality technology can and has been used as a tool to educate new healthcare workers by creating safe virtual environments to practice the application of procedures they are learning. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-154.jpeg] 5. Education – Education is a field that is often trying to adapt the latest technology to make learning more engaging and interactive. Virtual reality technology can help educators bring concepts and information to their students that might otherwise be impossible. For example, Nearpod, an educational technology firm, is using Google Cardboard to help a number of public schools bring their students to “virtual field trips” to places such as Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef, and even Mars. Students can travel around the world and learn about new environments and cultures without ever leaving their classroom. 6. Tourism and Museums – It might seem counterintuitive for virtual reality and tourism to work with one another, but many travel companies are utilizing virtual reality technology to give potential travelers “samples” of their destination. This is a great marketing tool for travel companies to use as a way to entice more travelers. Museums are also jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon by providing exhibits that use virtual reality and VR tools such as headsets to help engage visitors with their exhibits and learn more. 7. Real Estate – Real estate professionals are starting to see the capabilities of VR in their field. Just like major automakers, virtual reality technology can help real estate agents reach clients that might usually be far from their reach as potential buyers can view properties from anywhere around the world. Virtual reality startup, Matterport, worked with the New York Times to showcase their luxury listings through virtual reality tours. 8. Military and Law Enforcement – The various branches of the military have been using virtual reality for several years now in different ways. It has long been a way to bring an immersive experience for training and also has helped to optimize operations. Whether through equipment repair or as a way to navigate landscapes, virtual reality technology has made military and law enforcement operations much more precise and safe. 9. Space Exploration – Thanks to virtual reality, we are able to visit different cities, countries, and even worlds from the comfort of our homes. Virtual reality has been especially useful for scientists and astronauts who want to further explore space. The International Space Station is utilizing Microsoft’s HoloLens to conduct research and explorations in space more accurately. NASA is using virtual reality headsets to create a virtual reconstruction of the surface of Mars in order to depict a more accurate rendering of the planet’s actual surface. 10. Engineering – Virtual reality and augmented reality are completely innovating the field of engineering and its many sectors. Engineers are using the technology to help with the designing phase to make it much more streamlined and cost effective. Virtual reality can allow engineers to make quick changes and edits to designs that are rendered in virtual reality. Instead of making a physical model and then making changes based on that model, the designs can be manipulated on a virtual reality model instead so that costs to make models are cut down. Engineers for automobiles seem to especially be keen on this technology when it comes to designing and updating new car models. Major automakers such as Ford and Honda are using virtual reality to help their engineers create a more streamlined and collaborative design process. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-155.jpeg] WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VR? Virtual reality tools such as headsets are the primary way these companies are taking advantage of the technology for their industry. Virtual reality headsets can completely modify how a company runs and is a great way to reach audiences from all over the globe. Understanding the types of virtual reality can help companies know which type will work best for their needs. There are three types of virtual reality: * Non-immersive Virtual Reality – Non-immersive virtual reality is the most commonly used form in everyday life. Essentially, it provides a computer-generated environment but does not take over the space of the user and the environment is contained to a computer. Video games are the prime example of this type of virtual reality experience. A virtual showroom is another example of this type of virtual reality technology. * Semi-immersive Virtual reality – Semi-immersive takes users one step further by creating a partially virtual environment. It gives users the perception of being in a different reality while looking at a virtual image using 3D graphics. This type of virtual reality provides realism and depth that you would not get from the non-immersive. This is popular to use in education and museums are using this type of virtual reality technology to enhance their exhibits. * Fully immersive virtual reality – Fully immersive virtual reality creates a truly immersive experience for users as it also includes sights and sounds. This experience is the one most typically used with headsets. This helps transform a user’s entire environment to bring them into new worlds. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-156.jpeg] Virtual reality is fast becoming part of our everyday lives. While implementing virtual reality technology can be costly, the benefits of using virtual reality clearly show that an investment into these tools can help increase profits for many different industries. In our ever evolving online world, the experience of living life virtually is becoming easier and easier. This is all thanks to virtual reality startups like RelayCars who are enhancing the virtual experience for consumers. Virtual reality is becoming a big part of our real-life realities and it is clear that many industries are ready to embrace it.
How Technology is Driving Innovation in the Gaming Industry
November 18, 2020
Technology is the second-biggest buzzword of 2020, and it’s no wonder why leading video game innovators are taking advantage of this exploding market. An increase in telecommuting, distance learning and remote healthcare has also had an impact on the advancement of the gaming industry. While we continue to adjust to a world that’s more digitally connected than ever, gaming professionals, designers, and developers are also jumping on the bandwagon. Check out some of the top ways technology is driving innovation in the gaming industry. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-144.jpeg] HISTORY OF INNOVATION IN GAMING Once upon a time, Snake and Pong were the height of video game advancement and everyone shared the same love of the signature themes and familiar patterns. Today, it’s possible to play a game for days at a time and never come across the same scene or landscape. There are more than 2.7 billion gamers today, and that number just continues to grow. The first major gaming boom caused the Video Game Crash of 1983 that sent a shockwave across the console sphere, which lasted about two years and took the industry’s success with it. Mobile gaming has reached unprecedented numbers worldwide and is the fastest-growing segment of the market. With nearly a million unique games available today, an immense shift took place when Snake was introduced in 1997. Virtual reality, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and dynamic image generation are all playing major roles in the growth of gaming as a primary tech industry. In the past five years, gaming has become a keystone in the entertainment sphere – replacing TV and even movies in key demographics. Photorealistic cut scenes and compatibility with immersive audio/visual devices is a sharp contrast from the angular, two-dimensional designs that were popular less than a decade ago. Rapid growth within the technological development of new games and systems has led to a shift in the gaming community as a whole. Consoles are individualized for one unique user account, and nearly every major game on the current market has a cooperative mode for collaborative gaming. Increased interconnectivity, easy cloud-based remote gaming, and cross-platform compatibility are setting the tone for the entire gaming community in 2020. HOW HAS THE GAMING INDUSTRY CHANGED? Video games and computing platforms have seen a major shift in recent years. What started as a simple combination of images and commands is now an entirely different world that includes AI, self-generating graphics, and even fully stacked computing setups. As society has transitioned from an analog lifestyle to spending most of the day online, video game companies have built a collaborative world for players to thrive. Here are a few key developmental areas that have seen the highest rate of advancement among the most widely used gaming systems, platforms, and tech leaders: ADVANCED COMPUTING As computer systems become smarter and more sophisticated, video game innovation follows closely behind. Popular gaming systems are backed by the most efficient software and database management systems available to consumers. Artificial intelligence solutions are able to identify patterns in user behavior to conserve energy, extending the lifespan of the device and battery. The same technology that is being used to predict volcanic activity is being used to make games faster, smarter, and easier to use than ever before. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-145.jpeg] MOBILE GAMING From apps to browser-based games, there are a wide range of options on the mobile gaming market – and this sphere is only starting to grow in 2020. With so much of the population spending time at home, this industry has seen an increase of 35.7% in the last year alone. Now, mobile gaming generates billions in revenue from consumers all across the globe. Simple touch-and-go applications like Candy Crush are still going strong among this growing audience, but other popular games this year have included: * Mario Kart Tour * Mini Motorways * Exit the Gungeon * Fortnite * Minecraft As phones get faster and more robust in their hardware, games can continue to handle more dynamic elements, impressive graphics, and fun add-ons. This has created a unique synergy between mobile gaming and traditional platforms because many popular consoles and PC games also have a mobile-friendly counterpart. Many states have been practicing distance learning in schools for months, which has driven parents toward new innovative solutions to keep their kids engaged and learning effectively. This technological shift was responsible for a 23.7% increase across the educational gaming market. ONLINE GAMING Remember when online games were only for the most tech-savvy individuals (who could afford expensive PC rigs)? Playing video games online is easier and more accessible than before, and this model actually makes up the vast majority of this industry’s target audience. Online gamers don’t need expensive, cumbersome servers or devices to play their favorite games. Cloud-based gaming systems create a flexible, cost-effective alternative for people who don’t want to commit to a specific console. Cross-platform gaming has also shown an impressive increase in interest and development this year. More games than ever allow users from a variety of devices play together in online arenas. The ongoing pandemic has put a high level of demand on computer developers to keep coming out with new, innovative ways for users to interact with data online. In many ways, this shift has dictated how technology has changed the face of gaming in the current landscape. VIRTUAL REALITY Whether you’re buying a house or trying on an outfit online, virtual reality technology has come a long way since its inception in the 1800s. Yes, you read that correctly. But, the high-tech systems we use today combine photorealistic qualities with responsive sensors and focus points to build digital environments that can truly transport gamers into an alternate reality. Using a virtual reality headset, gamers can really teleport into the world their games create. The stakes in a hectic first-person shooter become even higher when the game takes your own heart rate into account when building the obstacles that surround your character. Bright, vivid graphics become even more stunning when you have a full 360-degree, first-hand view of the entire digital landscape. Virtual reality hasn’t just improved the visual aspects of console and PC gaming. Audio and tactile elements add a whole new set of sensory benefits like: * Biometric tracking for ambiance development * Immersive surround sound * Responsive machine-learning tools using voice or movement controls * Tactile commands that simulate the feeling of touch For those who have been staying home for months out of safety, VR games have provided an escape that is getting even closer to becoming adjacent to reality. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-146.jpeg] AUGMENTED REALITY Instead of replacing the user’s reality entirely, augmented reality allows video games to penetrate the player’s active reality by superimposing digital elements into their actual line of sight. Interest in augmented reality games has been growing consistently since Pokemon Go exploded onto the scene in 2016. After the cute little digital creatures took the gaming world by storm, other AR advancements boomed – from matchmaking services to virtual driving games. Video game developers have been using this increased interest as a catalyst for new products. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-147.jpeg] WHY IS CYBERSECURITY IMPORTANT FOR GAMERS? You might think that logging on to your favorite gaming platforms exposes little more than your gamer tag, but online or cooperative gaming can leave users vulnerable to cyber attacks. Nearly every game you pay, whether or not you’re playing through an online server, requires the creation of a specific persona. These digital accounts often need certain pieces of personal information like the players: * Name * Phone * Email * Address * Credit card * Security questions Providing anything that’s linked to your identity can make you a target for online scams and identity theft. Engaging in microtransactions, subscriptions, or other transactions that use your payment information can increase cybersecurity risk even more. For gamers who use their computer to play, they could be bringing viruses and other threats to their work files or personal data. Additionally, it’s critical to know where your games are really coming from. Pirated games and software is a hot button entry point for cyber attackers to gain access to your console or computer system. Not only is using pirated content a major security risk, but knowingly using unauthorized content is illegal and violators can expect hefty fines – and even jail time. When you throw gambling elements into the mix, these risks rise exponentially. Many online gambling features that are included in video games don’t adhere to liability and tax regulations, which can affect both sides of the transaction. Preventative action and early intervention are key for preventing online attackers from getting their hands on your personal or payment information. The best defense against data theft and fraud is to use antivirus protection and monitoring software on your computers, and maintain common sense when playing on a console to stay secure at all times. Many households have recently joined the wide world of digital gaming, and veteran gamers are taking advantage of the perks available. Competition is strong among video game creators in 2020, but so is the incentive for increased collaboration. No matter how you play, there’s no doubt that technology is a foundational part of the gaming process for casual users and expert-level players alike.
Augmented Reality Could Transform the Geology Learning Experience
November 11, 2020
Augmented reality is technology that allows users to overlay information and digital objects onto their real-world environment. Although it is often associated with the gaming world, augmented reality technology is actually utilized in many other industries. Retailers, for example, use augmented reality technology to give consumers the power to virtually try on clothing items or cosmetics from the comfort of their own home. Consumers can see what a specific shade of lipstick would look like on their face without ever seeing the item in person. Automotive manufacturers use this technology to create virtual showrooms for consumers who want to shop for a new vehicle without stepping foot in a dealership. These are two examples of ways that augmented reality has been used to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. But augmented reality can also be used in other ways, including for educational purposes. In fact, geology professors across the country may start to utilize this innovative technology to enhance the learning experience for their students. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-131.jpeg] THE CHALLENGES OF TEACHING GEOLOGY TODAY Teaching is never easy, but this is especially true when it comes to teaching geology. Professors who teach geology face a unique set of challenges that professors in other departments may never encounter. It’s hard for students to comprehend some of the complex topics in geology without having physical models to reference. For instance, looking at a picture of a crystalline mineral structure is not the same as being able to see the structure in person. Without this type of physical model, students may not be able to visualize and comprehend the concepts they are taught. However, geology professors often have no other choice but to teach their students without these crucial physical models. These models are expensive, so many universities simply cannot afford to purchase them. Furthermore, physical models typically take up a lot of space, so geology professors often have no room to store them. This isn’t the only challenge that professors face when teaching geology. In other science classrooms, students can typically recreate or observe the concepts that they are studying. For instance, a student in a biology classroom may dissect a frog or other small animal to observe its organs. A chemistry student, on the other hand, may conduct experiments in the classroom to recreate a specific reaction that they are studying. But it is impossible for geology professors to provide students with this type of hands-on activity. After all, there’s no way for geology students to recreate an earthquake, volcano, or ocean current in the classroom. As a result, geology students do not get the benefit of learning from hands-on instructional activities. Instead, these students must learn strictly from listening to lectures, analyzing photos, watching videos, and reading text. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-132.jpeg] THE USE OF AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE GEOLOGY CLASSROOM Geology professors may be able to overcome these challenges and enhance the learning experience for their students thanks to augmented reality technology. Students and professors can use augmented reality technology to overlay digital objects onto their real-world environment in the classroom. For example, a geology professor may not have access to physical models of the various types of rock formations and crystalline mineral structures. But this doesn’t mean that students are limited to looking at still photos of these objects. Instead, augmented reality technology can be used to project 3-D visualizations of these objects onto a student’s desk. This gives students an opportunity to analyze and evaluate the object just as they would if it was a physical model. But unlike physical models, these digital objects don’t take up space or cost a fortune. Augmented reality technology can also be used to help geology students learn about large-scale phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and the heating of the earth’s atmosphere. Students may not be able to recreate these phenomena in a lab setting, but they can observe them using augmented reality technology. For example, students can use augmented reality technology to project 3-D objects that help them understand how earthquakes occur at fault lines where the planet’s plates come together. Students who read about plate tectonics may struggle to visualize this concept, but augmented reality technology can bring it to life and make it easier for students to comprehend. HOW CAN PROFESSORS USE AUGMENTED REALITY TO TEACH GEOLOGY? A group of developers are currently working on a series of augmented reality apps that can be used to help professors teach geology to their students. The apps are available for use on augmented reality headsets, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, as well as Apple and Android smartphones. The first app created by this group of developers allows users to explore USGS earthquake data in 3-D instead of a 2-D map. Using this app, students can learn more about the geometry of the planet’s tectonic plates. This app can also help students understand the science behind how and where foreshocks and aftershocks occur before and after an earthquake. Being able to visualize this information in 3-D makes it much easier for students to grasp this difficult concept. These developers also created the GeoXplorer app, which is available for Apple and Android devices now. Students can use this app to explore 3-D models of various crystalline structures in the classroom. Instead of just looking at pictures of these structures, students can get a detailed look at how these structures are formed and how the atoms are arranged. Students and professors can even take virtual field trips using the GeoXplorer app. Instead of exploring a single rock or crystalline mineral structure, students and professors can use the app to take a virtual field trip to an actual rock outcrop, which is a large rock formation. Being able to virtually explore the physical features of the planet without leaving the classroom can drastically improve students’ learning experience. As of right now, these apps are only designed for solo experiences. But the developers hope to build upon the apps to make it easier for professors to use them in the classroom. For example, in the future, a professor may choose to use their smartphone to project a certain 3-D digital image of a crystalline mineral structure. Then, the professor could invite their students to join the session, which means every student would get to explore the same 3-D digital image at the same time. This would greatly enhance the geology classroom experience—especially for remote students. The developers also hope to add new 3-D visualizations to their apps in the near future, including interactive simulations. For instance, researchers at Columbia University are currently working with the app developers to create a glacier interactive simulation that allows students to see how glaciers grow and shrink over time. This type of simulation will help students build upon the knowledge they have acquired by reading textbooks and listening to lectures. Every geology professor should take advantage of these augmented reality apps to create an unforgettable learning experience for students. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-133.jpeg] THE USE OF AUGMENTED REALITY OUTSIDE OF THE GEOLOGY CLASSROOM There’s no doubt that augmented reality technology should have a place inside every geology classroom. But this technology can be used to enhance the learning experience in other classrooms, too. History teachers can use augmented reality technology to help students visualize certain locations or time periods. Using augmented reality technology, astronomy teachers can help students explore the sun, planets, and the rest of the solar system. Students in medical school could benefit from the use of augmented reality technology, too. Augmented reality could give these students the unique opportunity to explore human anatomy in a way that has never been done before. Schools may not need to budget for field trips anymore thanks to augmented reality technology. Now, teachers have the power to take their students to far off destinations without ever leaving the classroom. Students can explore the pyramids of Egypt one day before jetting off to Machu Picchu in Peru. Students of all ages can benefit from augmented reality technology. In fact, there are a number of augmented reality apps that are designed to help students in elementary school learn basic counting and reading skills. Other apps are designed to help elementary school children stay physically active. For example, physical education teachers can project digital objects onto the wall of a gymnasium and encourage their students to throw balls at the wall to hit as many digital objects as they can. Augmented reality is still a fairly new technology, so educators may find even more new and exciting ways to use this technology as it continues to grow in popularity. But for now, it’s safe to say that augmented reality may make it easier—and more fun—than ever before for students to study geology.