Where are the Augmented Reality Smart Glasses for Consumers?
November 12, 2021
Augmented reality smart glasses have been the high-tech carrot being dangled in front of tech-savvy consumers for so long that it’s seriously difficult to keep track anymore. There has been buzz in major tech media and by tech journalists about these glasses. Companies like Facebook have expressed their interest in this technology. And everyone who follows Apple news knows that the Apple glasses have been rumbling seemingly forever. Where are the augmented reality smart glasses for consumers!!!??? WANT SOME VIRTUAL REALITY GLASSES, INSTEAD? The topic of consumer-driven and consumer-focused augmented reality glasses is frustrating. While, yes, there are augmented reality glasses available, these aren’t really aimed at the general consumer. Instead they are enterprise-focused. Although the Vuzix Blade Upgraded could be an option…there’s more on those glasses later! Consumers could buy something similar, but the glasses everyone is waiting for are glasses that are fun and maybe offer cool features. Yet, no one has dropped these glasses. So what is a tech-hungry consumer to do? There’s always virtual reality. For those who want to immerse themselves in another realm, there are many virtual reality headsets on the market. These are a bit cumbersome, but they are really cool. Many are used for PC gaming; these headsets take the gaming experience to a new level. But consumers don’t have to use the headsets for games. There are other experiences, too. Interested in what’s available? Check out Steam and find experiences that are compatible with different headsets. Could tech companies completely brush over augmented reality and instead launch some virtual reality glasses? Who really knows for sure…but probably not. Companies like Facebook are very interested in augmented reality, and this technology has a lot of unique potential for the consumer market. Augmented Reality Smart Glasses [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Whats-the-Delay-on-Augmented-Reality-Smart-Glasses.jpg] WHAT’S THE DELAY ON AUGMENTED REALITY SMART GLASSES? Technology is a process. Designers and companies eying a product like augmented reality smart glasses likely want to get the product as close to perfect as possible. The last thing any major company wants is to drop a product that’s flawed, glitched or, even worse, has safety issues. Tech giants are going to iron out any known issues before dropping anything. And these glasses can’t be designed and programmed overnight. Capabilities of the glasses also could cause delays. Maybe the capabilities are still evolving. No one really knows. While there is buzz on these glasses, until a pair is actually announced, it’s all just talk…and speculation. ARE THERE ANY SMART GLASSES ON THE MARKET? While there aren’t really any consumer-driven augmented reality smart glasses, consumers can buy regular smart glasses. These obviously won’t feature any augmented reality graphics, but they could interact with smart home systems or even virtual assistants. Wareable News reports that those who are interested in the latest smart glasses can check out Ray-Ban Stories (a Facebook product); this was the much-hyped collaboration between Facebook and Ray-Ban. The initial tease of the product didn’t give much info about how the glasses would look and what they might feature. Now the much-awaited glasses are officially for sale via Ray-Ban. They come in three frame styles: Round, Wayfarer and Meteor. These glasses are priced just under $300 and let users take video or pictures, listen to music, take calls and even share via social media. They can include prescription lenses for those who need/want that option. Amazon also offers its own smart glasses, and these can interact with Alexa. Users can even control their smart-powered home with the glasses. As for the price, the frames cost $249. They also can be customized with prescription lenses. Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, launched the Snap Spectacles glasses. While these can include augmented reality features, they are not augmented reality glasses. In addition, the Spectacles aren’t available for the average consumer. Only top creators can purchase these cool glasses, and they can be used to help enhance social media content. WILL FACEBOOK OR APPLE LAUNCH THE AR SMART GLASSES FIRST? When Facebook officially launched its smart glasses with Ray-Ban, Reuters mentioned in an article about the launch that Facebook noted in the previous year that full augmented reality glasses were about five years to a decade away. Do consumers really have that long to wait for cool augmented reality glasses? Maybe or maybe not. If the individual has money to spend, the Vuzix Blade Upgraded could be an augmented reality in eyeglass form. While many consumers are waiting for slick, sleek and chic new glasses from Apple and Facebook, Vuzix does have a pair for purchase. However, these glasses might not be the designer-looking frames some consumers crave. While the style is a little modern and perhaps even space-age, the glasses feature very cool augmented reality capabilities. They also include voice control, speakers and an upgraded 8-megapixel camera. Wareable News explains that Zoom and even Netflix can be enjoyed via these glasses, and users also can stream music and even play games. However, the Vuzix Blade Upgraded is an investment at $799.99. Augmented Reality Smart Glasses [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Enjoying-Augmented-Reality.jpg] ENJOYING AUGMENTED REALITY…SANS GLASSES While not every consumer can afford the Vuzix Blade and as many wait patiently—or impatiently!—for Facebook, Apple, Google or one of the other major tech giants to unveil cool new augmented reality smart glasses, there are other ways to explore and enjoy augmented reality. Augmented reality is actually one of the more accessible technologies. While, yes, augmented reality glasses would be cool, users don’t need glasses to experience this technology. With virtual reality, a headset is generally required, but augmented reality just requires a smartphone or a tablet. Whether consumers have a new or newish iPhone or an Android device, they can explore many augmented reality games and experiences. Finding augmented reality via a phone or device is easy, just search for ‘augmented reality’ or even ‘AR’ in either the App Store or via Google Play. The results will be plentiful. And many of these apps are free! However, some may offer in-app purchases, but this is more of a concern for those with children. Phones typically offer a way to turn off or disable in-app purchases. There are many popular augmented reality games. Top augmented reality game titles include Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Jurassic World Alive. There are even apps/games that use augmented reality to help users push their run or walk a little faster; try Zombies, Run! to race away from zombies and get in shape! Apps also include cool augmented reality experiences that let users explore their world. These apps are great for kids and adults alike. For example, Seek by iNature lets users capture a plant, animal or bug using their camera screen to find out the species and more details. This is a great app to use on hikes or exploring new areas. It might even help spot plants to avoid like Poison Ivy. Augmented reality technology also can be found throughout our daily habits. For example, many modern vehicle models include augmented reality in navigation systems. Check out the backup camera; it typically shows the rear view of the car with graphic grid lines that detail the turning radius. Those lines are augmented reality! GPS systems also use augmented reality. And newer luxury cars offer heads-up displays that show drive data in front of the driver. These displays show arrow prompts for upcoming turns, speed, upcoming hazards (like pointing out a bicyclist) and more. Augmented reality also can be used to shop for favorite products. Many businesses offer augmented reality try-on experiences to let customers preview products. Some cosmetics brands or stores offer augmented reality previews of lipstick, eyeshadow or other products. Sites like RelayCars even let consumers use augmented reality to preview cars. Select a model from the online inventory and drop the vehicle into the real environment. Consumers can view the car anywhere, including the driveway or garage. Using the phone they can walk around that car model and explore other details, too. AUGMENTED REALITY SMART GLASSES IN THE FUTURE So will those augmented reality smart glasses drop anytime in the near future? That depends on the company! No one knows what tech company will unveil these glasses for consumers first or when. The price also is a big question mark. If Facebook’s smart glasses with Ray-Ban cost almost $300, glasses that integrate augmented reality might be much more of an investment. But, again, this is only a best guess. Facebook might take five years or even almost a decade before they unveil a consumer-focused augmented reality pair of glasses. The company is very focused on this technology, but, again, so are other tech companies (including Apple). For now, though, consumers who have the means to invest a bit more money can try out Vuzix Blade Upgraded. But even those without a bigger budget can experience augmented reality. Even as many consumers wait for new glasses, this technology is still available at our fingertips. Search for free augmented reality apps and games via the App Store and Google Play. And explore all the different and unique iterations of augmented reality…for a nominal price (and, often…free!).
The 10 Best Augmented Reality Apps of 2021
October 1, 2021
Augmented reality is a technology that allows users to superimpose images, sounds, animations, and other digital elements onto their real world environment. In other words, it blends elements of the digital and real world together. Many people assume that they need to invest in expensive headsets or smart glasses to use augmented reality technology, but that’s not the case. There are thousands of augmented reality apps available for download on iOS and Android devices, so all you need to experience the power of augmented reality technology is a smartphone or tablet. There are many different types of augmented reality apps. Some are designed for gaming or entertainment, whereas others are used to educate consumers. There are also apps designed specifically to help online shoppers make informed purchase decisions. If you want to experience this innovative technology, here are the best augmented reality apps to download: Augmented Reality Apps [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Google-Lens.jpg] GOOGLE LENS Google has developed a number of different augmented reality apps, including Google Lens. This app lets you search based on what you see. All you need to do is open the app and point your smartphone at an object you want to learn more about. The app will automatically identify the object, perform a Google search, and present relevant search results directly in front of you. Google Lens can also help you learn more about the places around you. Point your smartphone at any building nearby and the app will use augmented reality to project relevant information onto your surroundings. For example, it might identify the name of the business and provide you with the company’s operating hours and Google reviews. This is a great app to have on your smartphone so you can quickly access it whenever you need more information on the world around you. MISSION TO MARS If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring outer space, you may want to download the Mission to Mars on your smartphone. This augmented reality app will project three-dimensional models of the rovers used on Mars into your surroundings. You can project a rover on your desk, in your driveway, on your kitchen counter, or even in the palm of your hand. You can also drive the rovers around and snap photos to share with your friends and family. Then, project a three-dimensional model of the Atlas V rocket into your surroundings. Watch as the rocket launches into space while the real launch audio plays in the background. You can also use augmented reality technology to project a three-dimensional model of Mars directly in front of you. Then, spin it around and explore every inch of the planet. Best Augmented Reality Apps [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Wayfair-1024x683.jpg] WAYFAIR It’s hard for consumers to shop online for certain items, including home goods and furniture. This is because some consumers struggle to visualize these items in their home, so they aren’t sure which ones to choose. Wayfair used augmented reality technology to solve this problem. Now, consumers don’t need to rely on their imaginations to determine how a specific item would look in their homes. Instead, they can use Wayfair’s augmented reality app to project a life-size, three-dimensional model of the item into their surroundings. Thanks to this feature, consumers can confirm that a piece of furniture will fit in their home and will complement the rest of their decor. They can shop with confidence knowing that they will be completely satisfied with the furniture items or home goods once they arrive. SEPHORA Wayfair isn’t the only retailer that has used augmented reality technology to transform the online shopping experience for consumers. Sephora, an international cosmetic company, has also taken advantage of augmented reality. Sephora’s Virtual Artist app uses facial recognition and augmented reality technologies to give online shoppers the chance to digitally try on different cosmetics. Now, shoppers can see what a specific shade of lipstick would look like on their lips or how a certain eyeshadow would complement their complexion. If a consumer likes what they can see, they can add the products to their cart and purchase them with just a few taps on their smartphone. The app also offers makeup tutorials powered by augmented reality technology. For example, if a customer is trying to learn how to contour their face, the app will use augmented reality technology to highlight the area on their face where the product should be applied. NIKE Nike is another retailer that has launched its own augmented reality app to help online shoppers. Nike Fit, which is available within the main Nike app, is an augmented reality feature that allows customers to determine their shoe size while shopping online. To access this feature, you just need to open the Nike Fit feature and point your smartphone camera at your feet. The app will automatically measure your feet to determine what size shoe you should purchase. The app may recommend purchasing a size smaller or larger for certain shoe styles, depending on how the size of that shoe tends to run. For example, if you normally wear a size nine, the app may suggest purchasing a size 8.5 for a style that runs small. Pay close attention to these recommendations to ensure you purchase the right size. Augmented Reality Apps [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Star-Walk-2.jpg] STAR WALK 2 If you’ve ever wondered what you’re looking at when staring up at the night sky, the Star Walk 2 app was designed for you. The app serves as a helpful guide to the night sky. It uses your phone’s data to pinpoint your exact location so it knows what part of the sky you are looking at. To begin, simply open the app and point your camera at any part of the sky above. The app uses augmented reality technology to project labels onto different stars, constellations, planets, and other celestial bodies. Move your smartphone around and the app will automatically begin labeling whatever it identifies in the night sky. You can also turn on the Time Machine mode to see what the night sky looked like on a specific date in the past or what it will look like on a specific day in the future. AR RULER As its name suggests, this app is an augmented reality ruler available at your fingertips. If you need to measure something, open the app and point your smartphone camera at the object. Tap on the beginning and end of the object to ensure the measurement is correct. That’s all it takes to measure an object without a measuring tape or ruler. This app does more than just measure simple, straight measurements. It can also provide measurements for angles, volume, and area. You can even record the measurements you take and use them to create a room plan. The measurements aren’t perfect, but they are close enough to get a rough idea of the size of an object or distance between two points. Augmented Reality Apps [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Find-Your-Car.jpg] FIND YOUR CAR You may want to download this app if you plan on parking your car in a crowded, large area like a mall, airport, or music festival. After parking your car, set your location in the Find Your Car app. The app will use augmented reality to mark your car’s location. Once you’re ready to get back into your car, open the Find Your Car app again. The app will use augmented reality to guide you directly back to your vehicle. For example, it may project arrows onto your surroundings to tell you when to turn. It will also project important information such as your distance from your vehicle and the estimated time it will take to walk there. SKETCHAR You can improve your drawing skills with SketchAR. Open the app and browse the library to find an image you would like to draw. Then, point your smartphone camera at a blank piece of paper. The app is designed to work with A4-size drawing paper. The app will use augmented reality technology to project a sketch onto the paper so you can trace over it with a pen, pencil, or other drawing utensil. There are dozens of different images to choose from in the app’s library. But if you don’t want to use an image from the library, you can upload your own photo and transform it into traceable art directly through the SketchAR app. Augmented Reality Apps [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/RelayCars.jpg] RELAYCARS Although not an app, RelayCars uses augmented reality technology to create an at-home automotive showroom experience for consumers. You can use this app to explore thousands of different vehicles from the comfort of your home. Because it is powered by augmented reality, you can get up close and personal with every vehicle just like you would inside a dealership’s showroom. The vehicles will appear lifelike and realistic, so you might forget you’re actually sitting on your couch at home. RelayCars allows consumers to research vehicles, compare their options, and gather the information they need to make a purchase decision from home.
Facebook and AT&T Launch Augmented Reality Experiences
September 20, 2021
Augmented reality is technology that allows users to superimpose digital elements onto their surroundings. Using this technology, consumers can enhance their real world with digital elements such as images, videos, and sounds. Although it is often considered a new technology, augmented reality has been around since the 1960s. However, it has come a long way since this time. For decades, augmented reality technology was used primarily by the military and NASA. But in 2000, Hirokazu Kato built ARToolKit, an open source software library that allowed developers to create a wide range of augmented reality programs for consumers for the first time. Today, augmented reality is used in a number of different fields, including the healthcare, automotive, education, travel and tourism, and retail industries. Some of the largest companies in the world have invested heavily in augmented reality, including Facebook. Because of these investments, Facebook has become a major player in the augmented reality market, and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The company recently announced its newest venture into the world of augmented reality: a partnership with AT&T. Here’s what you should know about this collaboration: WHAT AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCE ARE FACEBOOK AND AT&T LAUNCHING? AT&T recently revealed that it is partnering with Facebook Reality Labs, the company’s virtual reality and augmented reality department, to create unique augmented reality experiences for consumers. The companies will bring these experiences to life using Spark AR, which is a Facebook platform that allows users to create custom augmented reality effects. The first product of this partnership has already been released to the public. Facebook and AT&T created an augmented reality experience to promote the movie Space Jam: A New Legacy. This experience gives consumers the opportunity to interact with characters from the movie such as Daffy Duck, Tweety, and Lola Bunny. Facebook and AT&T Launch Augmented Reality Experiences [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/smartphone-and-access-to-the-internet.jpg] All you need to access this experience is a smartphone and access to the internet. To begin, visit this website or AT&T’s Facebook or Instagram profile on your smartphone. Then, choose which characters you want to project into your real world surroundings. Aim your camera in the direction where you want the characters to appear. Then, sit back and watch them come to life right in front of you. This experience even allows you to interact with these iconic characters. Use the front or rear camera on your smartphone to snap a selfie with your favorite character. You can also use your smartphone’s camera to direct a short video with these characters. Then, share all of the videos and photos you create within this experience with your friends and family. According to AT&T, its 5G network can enhance this experience for consumers by improving the overall performance and shortening the load times of graphics. This is the first augmented reality experience launched by Facebook and AT&T, but it won’t be the last. The companies revealed that they are working together on various projects, including collaborative video calling and a series of augmented reality experiences that will be available to consumers in the future. Their goal is to create one-of-a-kind augmented reality effects that help consumers connect with friends and family in new and exciting ways. AT&T’S OTHER AUGMENTED REALITY INITIATIVES The Space Jam promotion isn’t AT&T’s only augmented reality initiative. AT&T’s other augmented reality efforts include: * Bookful * The Washington Post * Chicago Bulls * VITAS Healthcare BOOKFUL AT&T partnered with Bookful, a three-dimensional and augmented reality reading app, to create augmented reality experiences for young readers. You must have a subscription to Bookful to access this experience. Then, open the app and select one of the children’s stories to begin. As you read the story, the characters will literally jump out of your smartphone screen and into the real world using the power of augmented reality technology. This gives young readers the opportunity to interact with all of their favorite storybook characters, including Peppa Pig, My Little Pony, and Thomas the Tank Engine. The goal of this experience was to help children develop a love of reading. AT&T and Bookful hope that bringing their favorite characters to life with augmented reality technology will keep kids engaged and interested in reading. The Washington Post [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/The-Washington-Post.jpg] THE WASHINGTON POST AT&T also partnered with The Washington Post to expand the use of augmented reality technology in journalism. The Washington Post used augmented reality to enhance journalistic content prior to the partnership. However, the partnership gave The Washington Post access to AT&T’s 5G technology, which drastically improved the augmented reality experience. This partnership gave consumers the opportunity to explore and learn about current events in a new way. One example of this is The Washington Post’s “How to Dress for Space” content. Instead of just reading about how astronauts dress for space, readers could use augmented reality technology to see life-size digital models of actual space suit designs in their real world environment. They could even get up close and personal with a three-dimensional, digital projection of Neil Armstrong’s space suit. This makes learning far more fun and exciting for The Washington Post consumers. CHICAGO BULLS The Chicago Bulls collaborated with AT&T to create a new fan experience powered by augmented reality technology. The experience, which was called AT&T StatsZone, was available within the pre-existing Chicago Bulls smartphone app. To access this experience, you just need to launch the app and tap on “AT&T StatsZone.” Then, you can click on any player to view their stats for current or past games. But the stats won’t just appear on your smartphone screen. Using augmented reality technology, the stats will bounce off of your screen and into the real world. You can even drag and drop them to customize how you view these three-dimensional projections. In addition to viewing stats, you can also watch augmented reality animations of famous in-game celebrations. These features help strengthen the bond between fans and the Bulls’ organization. VITAS HEALTHCARE AT&T is one of many companies that recognized the important role that augmented reality could play in the healthcare industry. To explore this further, AT&T partnered with VITAS Healthcare, one of the leading providers of hospice care. Together, AT&T and VITAS Healthcare studied how the use of 5G-enabled augmented reality technology could benefit patients. The goal was to determine if providing augmented reality content could alleviate pain and anxiety for terminally ill patients and help them relax and find peace. The two companies also explored potentially using augmented reality technology to train new healthcare workers. This technology could be used to provide hands-on training in a safe-environment to aspiring doctors, nurses, interns, and other healthcare professionals. These are some examples of the many ways in which AT&T has used augmented reality technology. Facebook’s Augmented Reality Experiences [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Facebooks-Augmented-Reality-Experiences.jpg] AN OVERVIEW OF FACEBOOK’S AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCES Facebook is no stranger to the world of augmented reality. Over the years, it has developed numerous augmented reality experiences, including: * Spark AR * The New York Times * Wearables SPARK AR Some people assume that they need to know how to code to build an augmented reality experience, but that’s no longer the case. Anyone with a Facebook or Instagram account can create custom augmented reality experiences on Facebook’s Spark AR platform. You can use this platform to design your own augmented reality effect or filter. You can either upload your own digital assets or pull them from Spark AR’s extensive asset library. Once you are satisfied with your creation, publish it on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Portal so you can share it with the world. There are a number of step-by-step guides and tutorials available on Spark AR, so you don’t need to be tech-savvy to play around on this platform. THE NEW YORK TIMES The New York Times and Facebook announced a multi-year partnership to create “augmented reality driven reporting.” Together, the companies will use Spark AR to develop a series of augmented reality filters and effects for Instagram. These filters and effects will help consumers gain a deeper understanding of topical news stories. For example, one filter allowed Instagram users to learn more about how air pollution changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The filter darkened the user’s surroundings to show them the severity of air pollution in select cities. It also presented facts on the user’s screen about air pollution, including its causes and why it improved in some areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. This helped consumers learn about the topic of air pollution in an entirely new way. Instead of just reading about it, consumers were given the invaluable opportunity to experience it with the power of augmented reality. Facebook and AT&T Launch Augmented Reality Experiences [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Wearables.jpg] WEARABLES Facebook’s biggest augmented reality project is still in development. For years, the company has been hard at work developing a line of augmented reality wearables for consumers. Facebook has not revealed much about this line of wearables, including when they will be released to the public. However, the company has hinted that the product line will contain a pair of augmented reality glasses along with a wristband and haptic gloves that can be used to control the content projected by the glasses. Both Facebook and AT&T have a long history of launching augmented reality initiatives, so it’s not surprising that these two companies teamed up to build their own unique augmented reality experiences together.
Could Future Apple Glasses Upgrade Everything with Augmented Reality Interactions?
September 6, 2021
Tom’s Guide recently posted a story referencing a Patently Apple update that detailed a new patent application (this one, however, is known as a “continuation in part” application) from Apple about potential future Apple glasses. Tom’s Guide explained that the patent application described how the glasses could upgrade surfaces into touchscreens. Keep in mind that patent applications don’t necessarily mean that the technology is going to drop. However, it’s fun to speculate about the specs related to future Apple glasses. Could future Apple glasses upgrade everything with augmented reality interactions? How would this look? Let’s peek into the potential but remember that patent applications don’t mean that this will become reality. Apple hasn’t announced anything. THE CONTINUATION-IN-PART (CIP) PATENT Patently Apple delved into the details about the CIP patent, which isn’t necessarily a new patent but expounds on the original patent. Law firm Perkins Coie explained on its site that “A CIP application permits a patent applicant to add new subject matter to the existing disclosure of the parent application while retaining the priority date for claims based on the original disclosure. The claims of the CIP can be directed to the new subject matter, the old subject matter or a combination of the two.” Back in 2015, Patently Apple reported that Apple had acquired the company Metaio, which created the thermal touch technology that is described in the patent. Patently Apple explained that infrared and standard cameras can add info to surfaces. When an individual touches the surface, this leaves a “thermal signature.” The site further detailed that combining the augmented reality overlay info with the signature could transform almost anything into a touch screen. Is this a bit complicated? Yes! But the potential for future augmented reality experiences could be amazing. HOW COULD GLASSES WORK IN THE REAL WORLD? Apple augmented reality glasses have been the story of speculation for quite some time. Apple remains fairly mum about the glasses. Facebook and other tech giants also have been eyeing augmented reality with interest, too. And, of course, the talk of other branded augmented reality glasses also has been the topic of interest. The reality of any new consumer-focused augmented reality glasses, however, is that no one knows what they could incorporate. So speculating about the features on glasses that haven’t been formally announced is merely just that…speculation. With the potential for cameras to overlay digital graphics and the power of touch to provide a type of heat signature means that augmented reality could possibly be incorporated nearly anywhere. Tom’s Guide mentioned the idea of the user touching a magazine and then interacting with it via the glasses. However, the potential goes beyond print. Even daily objects could include touch screens. Imagine just sitting in the living room, looking at the light and then just touching the light via augmented reality features to control it…maybe dim it or turn it off. While phones can allow users to control different appliances and household features, wearing glasses that provide similar functions would mean less reliance on the phone. Yet, if thermal touch was necessary to control items or to incorporate a touchscreen, would every item of the future rely on an initial fingerprint? Future Apple Glasses [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Lets-Go-Shopping.jpg] LET’S GO SHOPPING! Imagine using augmented reality glasses to shop. The example of looking at a magazine and interacting with it could be a new way to shop. Ads could bring up a buy now option. Or suddenly users could be prompted to enter the online store from the advertisement. Think about everyday products. Imagine touching a lipstick that was near the end of the tube and having augmented reality glasses showing where to buy the hue. Or maybe allowing the user to buy the new lipstick by showing a touchscreen option on the product. Would physical stores be augmented, too? Maybe augmented reality glasses would show inventory for each item in the store. Or if the item was sold out, the glasses would bring up other locations that had the item in stock. Augmented Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Augmented-Cars.jpg] AUGMENTED CARS…AND HOMES! What about cars and homes? Would these include all augmented reality features? If suddenly a car’s paint was nicked, maybe the driver could use augmented reality glasses to find the exact color paint touch up. What if drivers lift the hood to interact with all parts of the vehicle? That is, maybe the computer of the car could interact with the glasses to show issues. This could make finding the issues with a vehicle easier for the owner. Again, though, touch might be the prerequisite for control. Maybe the user touches the hood of the car, for example, and a touchscreen of information appears. Who knows how this could work. But perhaps the car interacts with the glasses. Imagine an augmented reality home. There are already homes that rely on the Internet of Things (IoT), but what if all homes of the future spoke or interacted with augmented reality glasses? The walls could showcase touch screens. Or individual appliances. Maybe the table becomes an interactive screen. Could glasses showcase a range of takeout options via the table? Or maybe touching a table shows grocery stores that users could shop. Perhaps the refrigerator, when touched, shows similar data. Many new models of refrigerators include smart screens but perhaps these are replaced by augmented reality features. The glasses might show that milk is a little low. Or maybe the refrigerator becomes the hub that takes the homeowner to augmented reality grocery options. AUGMENTED…JUST A LITTLE While major augmented reality features incorporated via cars and homes with the help of glasses could one day be a future reality, the technology most likely would start off a bit less grandiose. The idea that magazines could be interactive might be the most logical reality. What if even author bylines in magazines and print publications were augmented. Glasses could display a bio or the author’s other topics. Maybe users could explore info within a story or book or newspaper article. But, again, the speculation of glasses is based on patent applications for Apple and for other tech companies…rumors. Augmented reality might be the future. But how augmented our reality will become is the biggest question. In theory, everything could perhaps become interactive. Again, we’re already seeing this with smart screens on appliances and apps that hook into other appliances. Will technology take convenience to an augmented reality? Maybe the bigger question is who will be the first to introduce a consumer-driven pair of augmented reality glasses? While there are some options on the market, these are mostly designed for enterprise use. Although consumers can buy augmented reality glasses with certain capabilities, they don’t interact with a magazine for augmented shopping experiences. The glasses that many consumers might be waiting for to hit the market might be designed for unique shopping experiences or other interactive functions. While the data from Apple’s patent can point to possibilities, until a pair of Apple glasses is officially announced no one really knows what features the future will hold. ENJOYING AUGMENTED REALITY NOW Augmented reality glasses might be the future hope for consumers who love this technology, but augmented reality experiences can be discovered across the internet and via apps. The best part? Users don’t need glasses or any expensive technology to enjoy these augmented reality experiences! Whether users own an Apple, Android or Windows device, there might be unique augmented reality experiences to explore. Many apps are accessible via both Apple and Android devices. Going shopping for cosmetics? Check out try-on experiences via brands or stores like Ulta. Try on lipsticks, eyeshadows, etc. Preview before hitting buy! Stores also can let users move augmented reality furniture into their room or check out new paint hues without swiping any colors on permanently. Augmented reality takes the mystery out of a purchase. Not interested in using augmented reality for shopping? Use it to preview cars! Visit sites like RelayCars to check out different makes and models and preview them in a real-world environment. Switch out paint colors, look inside and walk around the car, too. Augmented reality can even be used to help consumers research when shopping for cars online. Augmented reality games also let users play in an augmented world. These games require access to a device camera to show the user’s environment. Then graphics or characters are augmented into the world. The most popular augmented reality game might be Pokemon GO. Use augmented reality to find out where all the cute Pokemon are hiding, capture them…then do battle. Of course, augmented reality also is found everyday…in the daily drive. Newer car models incorporate augmented reality into the backup cameras or GPS functions. Augmented reality data can show turning areas when it’s time to turn onto a new road. Or maybe just show the view behind the car to check for any obstacles. Who knows which major tech company will release consumer-driven augmented reality glasses…or even what these glasses will feature. While patent applications could point to clues, until Apple—or any other company—makes an official announcement, the future is still shrouded in an augmented mystery.
Apple vs. Microsoft: Who Will Augment Reality?
August 30, 2021
Bloomberg reported that the rift between Apple and Microsoft has been stoked once again. Gamers know that Epic Games (creator of Fortnight) took issue with Apple’s App Store and decided to let users stream games through xCloud (a Microsoft product)…essentially bypassing the App Store rules. Macrumors reported, though, that Apple reversed course. Unfortunately for Apple, Microsoft decided to launch the streaming service online. The two companies might also be competitive when looking at an augmented reality future. In the Apple vs. Microsoft battle, who will do augmented reality for consumers first? Or will neither company reign supreme? MICROSOFT: HOLOLENS AND AUGMENTED REALITY Microsoft offers both virtual reality and augmented reality headsets. Hololens is the company’s augmented reality headset that is popular for enterprise use. Businesses can use Hololens for different functions—maybe for improving downtime in the manufacturing industry, for other training purposes or even for virtual teaching (for the education sector). Microsoft considers Hololens as “mixed reality.” The average consumer, however, is likely not going to invest in Hololens. The price point is more than $4,000. Hololens also isn’t a consumer-driven augmented reality headset. This isn’t equipment that will interact with an augmented reality store or other interactive experiences that consumers might demand. What Hololens shows, though, is that Microsoft has already pioneered a type of augmented reality glasses or headset. While the headset is enterprise-focused, could it be possible to use this technology to create something more consumer-centric? Perhaps. In an analysis, Macrumors noted that Microsoft is “pursuing a more hardware-based strategy for augmented reality while Apple focuses, at least for now, on the underlying technologies that will eventually drive future experiences.” But is Microsoft looking at the consumer for an augmented reality future? The answer might be ‘yes.’ VR Focus cited the Wall Street Journal’s interview with Alex Kipman, and the future could include Hololens for consumers! Wall Street Journal reporter Joanna Stern (who interviewed Kipman) tweeted: “And finally, I spoke with @akipman about Microsoft’s AR / MR efforts. He confirmed Microsoft is definitely going to make a consumer AR headset.” APPLE’S AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES The rumors have been fierce about Apple’s augmented reality glasses. They should be on the horizon. Yet, nothing definitive has been released by the company related to an official product drop. While the consumer can look at Microsoft’s Hololens and understand a little bit about how a consumer-driven headset could work, the Apple glasses are shrouded in a bit of mystery. There are reports from Patently Apple that hint at where augmented reality could go for the consumer product. But even as Patently Apple explains, a patent application doesn’t necessarily mean the product is definitive. However, Apple likely isn’t going to be screaming from an augmented reality mountaintop about technology that’s in the works. While rumors always abound about the next Apple product, Apple will likely not take a bite out of any official announcement until everything about the product is ready to go. It’s possible that Apple could be playing with different options, features and interactive concepts or even designs. But will Apple be the first to unveil consumer-driven glasses? Or will another tech player bump both Microsoft and Apple to take the innovative lead? FACEBOOK’S AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES Facebook will launch new glasses soon. The Facebook x Ray-Ban collaboration has been teased via YouTube. Unfortunately, the teaser video doesn’t give consumers a precise indication about what the new glasses will look like…or what their features will entail. One thing is certain, however. Facebook x Ray-Ban glasses will not include augmented reality features. So consumers shouldn’t get their hopes up that the new cool Ray-Bans will integrate augmented reality. Yet, Facebook is still very much a contender for the race to an augmented reality future. Facebook Reality Labs is dedicated to augmented and virtual reality. Reading over the Facebook Reality Labs homepage, it is made very clear that augmented reality glasses are a goal. The site states: “…we’re hard at work to bring the vision of lightweight, stylish AR glasses to life.” Project Aria is part of Facebook Reality Labs. The project incorporates augmented reality glasses, but these aren’t for the consumer. Instead, researchers wear them to gather information about the environment. Could these glasses be the beginning of capturing and creating a metaverse for future developments? Facebook notes that the glasses can record audio and visual data, and the glasses for Project Aria are not a prototype of a future product. It’s clear that Facebook is in the race to an augmented reality future. But so, too, are Google and Snapchat, too! AMAZON’S SMART GLASSES Amazon also could be another contender in the augmented reality race. The company launched a pair of smart glasses—Amazon Echo Frames. The frames do not integrate augmented reality features, but they do sync up with Alexa. Wearing the glasses allows users to interact with Alexa. The downside? The glasses are NOT compatible with Apple devices…only Android. SPECTACLES BY SNAP Spectacles by Snap are not augmented reality consumer glasses, but they are still worth mentioning. The glasses can record audio and video. And everything is snapped in 3D! Of course, the glasses pair up with Snapchat. The glasses let users create immersive content via Snapchat, but they probably aren’t meant for the average consumer. And while they can create augmented reality experiences to share via Snapchat, they really are not the augmented reality consumer-driven glasses. So users can’t shop via these glasses, and they won’t interact with appliances or anything that consumers might be eyeing for new augmented reality glasses. Google’s Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Googles-Augmented-Reality.jpg] GOOGLE’S AUGMENTED REALITY Google Glass headsets are not priced for the consumer (they’re nearly $1,000). The Verge explains that these are for developers or enterprise use. And while Google allowed consumers to buy Glass back in 2014, they weren’t a real consumer success. However, that doesn’t mean Google won’t pivot to a pair of consumer glasses. While nothing has been announced, could Google jump into the augmented reality race? Maybe they already have. Google offers a range of augmented reality experiences. So it wouldn’t be shocking if the company decided to develop a new consumer product. Google Search AR is filled with augmented reality animals, anime characters, cars and who knows what else. Google has never released a list of all its Search AR objects. So consumers could stumble upon something new when they search! For Android devices, Google also has dropped Floom, which lets users dig a tunnel to the other side of the world. The company also created a social distancing augmented reality experience that draws an augmented reality circle showing proper social distancing. Other augmented reality experiences also are in the works that could augment photos. Downloading the Google app also lets users access other augmented reality. Visit Easter Island. Or check out the views from the top of buildings like the Eiffel Tower. Google has developed augmented reality experiences that can be accessed from phones and tablets. And while experiences like Floom and Sodar can only be used by those with Android devices, Google’s app can be downloaded via iOS and Search AR is available on Apple phones, too. Augmented Reality Future [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Augmented-Reality-Future.jpg] WINNING THE RACE TO AN AUGMENTED REALITY FUTURE? Which company will be the first to launch consumer-driven augmented reality glasses? While the competition between Microsoft and Apple might be burning a bit hotter, they aren’t the only two contenders. Facebook Reality Labs is looking at ways to make augmented reality glasses a reality. After the Facebook x Ray-Ban launch, will consumers be introduced to a new pair of augmented reality glasses? No one knows. Snapchat also could be a contender for augmented reality glasses. While its Spectacles aren’t augmented reality glasses for consumers, Snap recently acquired Vertebrae, a company that specializes in 3D models and augmented reality experiences for online retail. Speculation has been brewing about Apple augmented reality glasses. While many might assume these could be the next big drop for Apple, nothing has been announced. A consumer-driven Hololens has been announced as a future product, though…and this has been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal. Beyond the understanding that it will happen—eventually!—the look and the exact features are a mystery. Facebook also hasn’t made any announcement about augmented reality glasses; in fact, consumers don’t even know what the Ray-Ban collaboration will look like or what features to expect. What is clear when looking through a futuristic lens is that augmented reality is on the horizon for consumers. How much power will it have over the consumer experience might remain a mystery. Maybe augmented reality will let consumers access immersive shopping experiences or interact with our homes. Maybe augmented reality will just heighten experiences for games or retail. No one knows. And now we can only speculate as to which tech giant will cross the finish line wearing the lenses of an augmented reality future.
Check Out These Augmented Reality Applications
August 20, 2021
Grand View Research estimates that by the year 2028 the augmented reality market is estimated to surge beyond $340 billion! Even now, though, augmented reality has seeped into video games, online experiences and even the automotive market. This technology is more widely used than some individuals might assume. Our cars now display augmented reality to aid navigation, and these experiences also can be found in apps for smartphones or tablets. Ready to find some unique augmented reality experiences? Check out these augmented reality applications that are smartphone-friendly! WHY SMARTPHONES ARE THE PERFECT WAY TO EXPLORE AUGMENTED REALITY For individuals who have never played around with augmented reality, what’s the big deal about the technology? What makes augmented reality so cool? Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality is easily accessible to almost anyone with a compatible mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet. While some augmented reality experiences for businesses (known as enterprise applications) might require the use of special augmented reality glasses, most consumer-driven experiences don’t demand any special glasses, goggles or headwear. And some of these experiences might even be free to download! Augmented reality shouldn’t be confused or conflated with virtual reality. While both types of technology encompass extended reality (or XR for short), augmented reality is a very different experience than virtual reality. With augmented reality, the user provides an application or website access to their device camera. The user then uses the camera to capture their real world environment, and they can choose where they drop in an augmented reality feature. Augmented reality features or models are graphic depictions created in 3D. These graphics are overlaid onto the user’s real environment. With augmented reality, users can swipe lipstick colors on their lips using their camera to show their face. The lipstick is, of course, just a graphic or illustration of a real lipstick hue. Games, marketing campaigns, stores and companies can all offer augmented reality experience. For the consumer, augmented reality can heighten the experience and create a more immersive interaction online or via an app. AUGMENTED REALITY APPLICATIONS FOR ANYONE Consumers who want to try out these experiences can find them via Google Play, the App Store or maybe via Windows apps, too. While searching for augmented reality will bring up many search results, let’s narrow it down by the experiences that might be the easiest to explore for those new to the extended reality universe. Augmented Reality Applications [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Augmented-Reality-Games.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY GAMES For individuals who love adventure games, augmented reality could add another element to the excitement. Players will see their real environment—whether it’s their backyard, the park or somewhere else entirely—combined with graphic depictions from the games. Here are a few games to try out augmented reality. Pokemon GO The classic augmented reality game, Pokemon GO is fun and really easy to navigate. Users can find and collect cute Pokemon everywhere in the real world…and then do battle. Who knows where the Pokemon might hide! Users have to be cautious, though, when playing. Don’t ignore surroundings while hunting for these anime creatures! The game is currently ranked as the top game in the strategy category by Apple’s App Store! Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs Love Angry Birds? Play it with an augmented reality twist! Instead of just looking at those angry birds, they can now be launched in the home, the backyard…anywhere! Stack AR Stack a tower of blocks on your table, the floor or maybe the toilet (no one’s judging!). This is a fun stack game that can be viewed in any real life backdrop. Paper Bin AR Drop a trash can into the room and start tossing augmented reality balls of paper. See how many can get into the trash can. The game features several different levels for those who like a paper throwing challenge. Avo! Who is Avo? That’s a living avocado…the creation of inventor Billie. And, apparently, Avo is a crime-solving avocado! This game features an augmented reality avocado! AR Robot Build robots, train them and then do battle against other robots. These robots appear via augmented reality…so drop them anywhere. Augmented Reality Applications [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Augmented-Reality-Experiences.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCES Augmented reality offers consumers an interesting power; with the technology’s graphics combined with real world data, experiences can be tailored for a ‘try on’ preview for clothes, makeup, haircuts and more. One of the easiest ways to try out augmented reality is via marketing experiences created by companies. These experiences are a bit like a virtual fitting room. Check out these augmented reality experiences that can help consumers when shopping online. Augmented Reality Furniture Ikea Place lets users drop different products into their real world environment to preview how it might look. Preview chairs in the living room or maybe a table. The app notes to check back daily…there could be new items to preview. The site Thinkmobiles listed DecorMatters as a great app for a furniture preview experience. The site notes that users can drop in furniture from many different retail stores like Crate & Barrel and even furniture store Ashley. Cosmetics via Augmented Reality Ulta and Mary Kay all offer augmented reality experiences to let users preview makeup shades. Individual brands also might offer these experiences via an app. For example, E.L.F. offers a virtual experience via its app for customers to preview shades. Previewing Paint For consumers who are interested in repainting a room in their home but maybe aren’t sure what hue would look best, augmented reality has the solution. Yes, there are apps and experiences that let consumers preview paint colors on their walls. Check out Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Visualizer app or Home Depot’s Project Color™ app. Choose the paint hue and preview it! Previewing Cars Shopping for a new car can mean that consumers are often stuck looking at static two-dimensional photos of vehicles. While a video might help shoppers gain more insight about a car or maybe photos depict up-close looks at certain features, pictures don’t always show everything. Augmented reality showrooms let shoppers view a 3D vehicle model right in their environment. Using a phone or tablet camera, users can project the model anywhere. Then they can explore the car and even walk around it using their phone. Some experiences even let users look inside. While augmented reality showrooms don’t let users actually physically explore the models, the technology can better simulate a dealership showroom experience. These 3D models might be able to give shoppers enough basic data about the vehicle that they know whether it’s going to remain as a possible ‘must buy’ contender or be deleted from the list…and the user’s environment! WHY EXPLORE AUGMENTED REALITY? While some augmented reality apps (like games) might have a price associated with them, many of these apps, games and experiences are free and don’t require any extra investments (like a headset). Augmented reality is an accessible technology that has the power to heighten the user experience. So why should consumers explore augmented reality? Why not! It’s a fun and immersive way to check out new products, play games and even preview cars from home. With the digital graphic overlays, users can virtually swipe on eyeshadow using just their camera. Paint hues can color the living room without actually dipping a brush into paint. Even clothes and haircuts might be previewed before actually committing to a purchase or letting the scissors take a few cuts. Augmented reality lets shoppers take the guesswork out of their purchases. Finding out if a blush shade flatters a complexion isn’t a mystery anymore. Will a chair fit in the living room? Make some space and drop it in to find out! Digital graphics might even decrease buyer remorse. Sometimes a paint shade looks great in the can, but once it’s swiped on the walls it takes on a whole new look…and that look might be atrocious! Now homeowners can see if that pea green shade really will open up the room. Or if the scarlet red hue will create a romantic bedroom ambiance. With the pandemic, many consumers were likely stuck and home and using the computer to shop for purchases. However, many were used to being able to look at products, feel them, maybe even try that out. The internet and web sites can’t offer that physical aspect of the shopping experiences. However, augmented reality can add a more interactive element. Although shoppers can’t touch the product, they can experience them…even if it’s just via graphic elements. The future of shopping might include more of these experiences. And shoppers might search their phones to find different experiences, too. Sometimes these experiences can be found within company or business apps. Other times, they stand alone. Want to know if a favorite store offers augmented reality try-on experiences, download their app or visit their website to find out. Companies and businesses may evolve to meet the needs and demands of their customers. And if the customer experience begins to favor augmented reality, then perhaps these unique and interactive shopping experiences might become the norm.
Disney Develops AR System That Can Virtually Light Real Objects
June 14, 2021
When it comes to design and decor, lighting is often a crucial yet overlooked element. Lighting a room or a display properly is crucial to successful presentation. Disney is one company that recognizes the importance of lighting, and they’ve been in the process of developing augmented reality technology that allows users to add virtual illumination to real life objects when viewed through an AR display. Being recognized as one of the biggest brands and organizations in the world, Disney has always had a sense of cinema, incorporating this into each and every one of their theme parks. Go on any ride and pay attention to how they use lighting to accentuate a certain prop or certain part of the ride in order to achieve a certain effect for those who experience the attraction. Epcot, a theme park at Walt Disney World Resort that features a number of exciting attractions, international pavilions, award-winning fireworks, as well as an extensive list of seasonal special events, recently unveiled new night time lighting for attendees to enjoy. This is actually a useful example of effective light design. Lighting in the fountains of Epcot as well as the three new pylons ends up changing and shifting subtly throughout the night, creating an amazing ambiance that you really have to see to believe. If you sit and watch the full cycle of lights you’ll notice that the light is different at the edges of the fountain when compared to the middle. These lights turn to different colors that can be viewed from a number of angles. Disney Develops AR System That Can Virtually Light Real Objects [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Shed-Some-Light-on-the-Subject.jpg] SHED SOME LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT Examples of successful lighting when it comes to design and decor includes Spaceship Earth, where participants gaze upon a variety of theater-style lighting fixtures. The Sistine Chapel also uses effective scene lighting that is going to be markedly different from the lighting provided in, say, a computer lab. Different types of lighting can even affect the mood of a space or room. Conversely, proper lighting will absolutely transform a room in its shape, size, and energy. For instance, if you have a den that is small in size, you might end up painting the walls some sort of light color, then making sure to provide extra lighting, which will end up making the room appear larger than it really is. Disney Develops AR System That Can Virtually Light Real Objects [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Whats-the-Big-Deal-About-Lighting.jpg] WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT LIGHTING? There is even a job called “Lighting Designer” where a person is tasked with illuminating a room or a scene — in sort of the same way that television productions or stage shows utilize effective lighting. Lighting designers carry the responsibility for design, installation, as well as operation of lighting and additional special electrical effects that end up being used in an exhibit or a production of any sort. Lighting designers will often use some sort of light plot which specifies light placement and configuration. A light plot is used when it comes to all instruments incorporated in the project in question. Lighting designers also end up having to furnish all required and associated paperwork, which includes: * Hook-ups * Schedules * Cut lists * Cue synopsis * And more! This means that a lighting designer has a ton of responsibilities and there are many moving parts to the job. Augmented reality actually stands to assist lighting designers and production coordinators in successfully lighting a production without the normal amount of equipment and ingenuity that the job would normally entail. HOW DOES AUGMENTED REALITY PLAY INTO LIGHTING? Augmented reality is a newer thing that we’re just now beginning to realize has some serious implications when it comes to enhancing everyday life. Augmented reality and virtual reality have played a huge hand in helping video games get more expansive and immersive, of course, but AR and VR has actually helped a number of other industries and companies in a variety of ways. The medical industry now uses AR and VR technology for research purposes as well as in surgical procedures and training modules, which helps medical students get a better idea of what their job is going to look like in the real world. AR and VR technology are also being used by big businesses and organizations to help their workers get away from the office setting and explore new worlds, all from the comfort of one’s own cubicle. Marketers are also utilizing AR and VR technology in order to better connect their brands and products with customers, creating newly immersive experiences that help build new brand loyalty, which translates into profit and growth. Disney Develops AR System That Can Virtually Light Real Objects [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Let-There-Be-Light.jpg] LET THERE BE LIGHT But what can AR possibly have to do with lighting and how can one light something virtually? Take the light bulb, for instance, which was invented in 1878 by none other than Thomas Edison. Edison began a serious experiment that would help people gain the advantage of using artificial light, rather than relying on the sun and/or candlelight. Edison filed his first patent application for “Improvement In Electric Lights” in order to make people’s lives better and easier. He did so by bringing light to a place where there was darkness, so to speak. There are AR apps available now, for instance, that incorporate virtual lighting in order to bring a variety of experiences to the comfort of one’s own home. With the help of augmented reality, users can now enjoy the Northern Lights in their living room, even when it’s pitch dark inside or outside. Why would people be interested in AR virtual lighting? During COVID-19 quarantine AR technology proved especially beneficial for those looking to shelter in place and experience nature in some way, shape, or form simultaneously. Many of us found out just how useful AR and VR technology can be when we’re left to our own devices and have to turn to ourselves and the items we already have for entertainment and engagement. The technology works when a person peers through a smartphone camera, where virtual renderings are able to be layered over what we really see through our viewfinders. You can use AR technology to make a cloud start to rain virtually, or you can point your camera at a bird and have an AR interaction with it through your smartphone camera. DISNEY AND AR VIRTUAL LIGHTING Disney is currently developing a new invention that could eliminate traditional lighting altogether, which has many lighting designers quite interested, especially since Disney’s new invention would mean that designers wouldn’t have to carry around so much paperwork. If Disney is successful at their aims, then lighting effects responsibilities would be mostly assigned to some sort of augmented reality viewer. The Disney project’s patent application is called “Introducing Real-time Lighting Effects to Illuminate Real-world Physical Objects in See-through Augmented Reality Displays” (US 2021/0097757 A1), which was published April 1, 2021. So, how does this AR virtual lighting thingy work? First, a shader and a light source generator are utilized in order to apply virtual illumination to real-world physical objects, which can be viewed through an applicable AR display. Disney’s new system has the ability to map three dimensional objects that occur and exist in the real world. The shader helps identify points of interest on the subject/object, which end up being the object’s vertices. These vertices are connected, creating numerous polygons, which helps map the real-world object in some sort of computer. Then, a computer-generated lighting source is applied to these special polygons that have been mapped out by the shader. As a result, the rendered scene lighting can now be displayed on top of real-world objects when viewed through an AR screen. Disney Develops AR System That Can Virtually Light Real Objects [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Disney-and-AR-Moving-Forward.jpg] DISNEY AND AR MOVING FORWARD Disney’s patent application abstracts go into pretty extensive detail about their new AR inventions, extensive details that we’ll spare you from. Essentially, users will be able to see “virtual content specific to the interaction entity… presented to augment an appearance of the interaction entity,” according to Disney’s patent. In layman’s terms, the user will view an object through a smartphone or some sort of headset. Objects will then either illuminate and/or come to life via augmented content that is created by Disney. The implications of such technology will enable users to, say, pick up a Mickey Mouse toy, look at their Mickey toy through a headset, and have the toy talk to you. Body channel communication (BCC) technology is technology that will surely be combined with Disney’s AR virtual lighting technology to exciting results. This kind of technology will allow and promote two-way communication via touch interaction. One thing is for certain, Disney will continue to be on the forefront of AR and VR technology due to the fact that they are so embedded in entertainment and creating a good old fashioned spectacle. When you look at Disney, you’ll always get a sense that tomorrow’s future is being made today.
Oh, Snap! Augmented Reality Comes to Life with Snap’s Spectacles
June 2, 2021
Smart glasses might be the latest craze. Facebook x Ray-Ban has piqued the interest of those looking for a sleek and chic new pair of frames, but Facebook’s glasses and what they will feature are still a mystery. Amazon’s glasses connect to Alexa, while others, like Snap’s Spectacles, feature augmented reality. But, oh, Snap! While Facebook and Amazon glasses are aimed at the general public, Snap’s Spectacles are beneficial to “creators.” The glasses weren’t necessarily developed for entertainment, but, rather, to use for immersive experiences. While, yes, you may be able to add those Specs to a cart, they really aren’t intended for general use. Specs aren’t gamer glasses, they are creative lenses that are mostly intended to be used by avid Snapchatters to make content even more immersive, enjoyable and layered with augmented reality. Oh, Snap! Augmented Reality Comes to Life with Snap’s Spectacles [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/About-Snapchat.jpg] ABOUT SNAPCHAT Snapchat is a popular social media app that allows users to post chats and snaps (text and photos or videos) that disappear after they are viewed. The app is represented by a ghost figure, which nods to the invisibility of messages…or the disappearance of those snaps and chats. According to Oberlo, Snapchat boasts about 265 million users (globally), and the majority of users (60 percent) are members of Generation Z. While data does seemingly disappear, users can also save content. This means that what some might assume will die in cyberspace actually lives on. However, data can also be publicly posted to a user’s story. And although the original premise of Snapchat was all about quick messages, it’s expanded to include unique and creative content. Like Instagram and other creative platforms, Snapchatters are now known for developing their own spin on Snaps and other content. This is where the Spectacles take center stage. PEEKING THROUGH SNAP’S SPECTACLES According to Snap, the glasses feature two cameras, and users can snap the world in 3D. Video can then include augmented reality overlays to enhance the video and content. CNET took a look through Snap’s Spectacles 3 (that is, the third generation model). The story detailed how the glasses can be used by Snap creators. CNET’s writer planned to augment a bird into a video. Users can select augmented reality lenses that are already built in or they can create their own. Some of the built-in options include balloons and flowers. So what can you create with Spectacles? The ideas are endless! However, Snap posted a few creator videos to illustrate the power and creative visions of the Specs. One video shows a colorful Kraken slithering through a scene (it was created by Velvet Spectrum). CNET notes that the glasses aren’t really an investment most could afford (the glasses cost $380); there also is a limited amount of the glasses. And, of course, the fourth generation of the Specs are slated to drop sometime this year. The newer models will be true AR glasses, per Wearable. AUGMENTING REALITY IN EYEWEAR So will smart eyewear and glasses become the next big fad in technology launches? Many companies have launched smart glasses, but these aren’t necessarily augmented reality glasses. For example, Amazon’s frames connect with their virtual assistant Alexa but the frames don’t offer any augmented reality data or features. Facebook’s glasses with Ray-Ban also won’t feature augmented reality. The teaser video posted on YouTube about the launch doesn’t even show what the new glasses will look like. Will they be Wayfarers? That would be a popular choice, but, again, nothing has been confirmed. True augmented reality glasses include Moverio (by Epson) and Vuzix Blade. These glasses may be used by businesses to aid technicians during repairs or employees in training. For example, augmented reality technology can decrease downtime in manufacturing by providing data and directions superimposed on machines and other equipment. This can aid training and help those new to the job become more efficient. Augmented reality ensures that time isn’t wasted hunting down training manuals or other materials. Oh, Snap! Augmented Reality Comes to Life with Snap’s Spectacles [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Augmented-Reality-Everyday.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY EVERYDAY Many true augmented reality glasses are an investment. Epson Moverio glasses can cost more than $500, and Vuzix Blade (upgraded) are priced $799.99. And not all glasses are intended for personal use; some are designed more for enterprise use or developers. True augmented reality glasses might be out of the price range for many consumers, though. Individuals looking for glasses for gaming, for example, would likely turn to virtual reality as augmented reality glasses aren’t needed to enjoy augmented reality games (like Pokemon GO). Many apps and built-in online experiences allow consumers to enjoy augmented reality without a steep financial investment. Many apps are even free. Most individuals have access to a smartphone, and both Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play offer a long list of augmented reality apps, including games and experiences. Augmented reality can be used to find constellations in the sky, and it can help create zombies that urge users to run faster during a workout (Zombies, Run!). Augmented reality experiences are also offered by stores to help shoppers make decisions on products. Beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora offer virtual try-on experiences so shoppers can preview makeup hues. IKEA lets shoppers preview items in their home. Even car shopping can be aided by augmented reality experiences. RelayCars offers an augmented reality car showroom. This lets users actually drop a vehicle of their choice into their own environment. Check out a car in the living room, the garage or even next to the swimming pool! The augmented reality showroom allows users to look inside the vehicle and even swap out paint colors. ARE AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES THE FUTURE? Snap may release the fourth generation of its Spectacles soon. Could this mean the beginning of an augmented reality eyewear trend? Apple has expressed interest in augmented reality, and many have speculated that augmented reality Apple glasses could be a future offering. However, Apple has never confirmed. Augmented reality could take off in the future. Glasses could create immersive experiences for consumers, and maybe these glasses sync to augmented reality apps. Perhaps instead of accessing a phone’s camera, users could wear augmented reality glasses and experience apps more directly. Imagine wearing augmented reality glasses and suddenly seeing Pokemon in front of you! Or perhaps augmented reality glasses of the future show daily calendars or other personal data. Who knows how these futuristic glasses could look or what they might include in their features. For high-tech glasses or any device to go mainstream, though, the price would likely need to be right. Smartphones were once out of reach financially for many, but now they have become the norm. As they have taken over standard phones, the price also might have dropped…or more affordable models might have been introduced. If augmented reality becomes the favored immersive technology, maybe companies offer different models of glasses at various price points. For now, though, true augmented reality glasses are not offered by most tech companies. And while expensive models of these glasses may be available to the general public, some models are geared towards enterprise use…or towards creators. In the near future, though, consumers may have various options for smart glasses. Facebook x Ray-Ban remains a mystery, but it’s features could be interesting. Consumers can look towards the future for potential new launches of augmented reality eyewear. Again, there has been much speculation about Apple and augmented reality. For now consumers can continue to enjoy the array of augmented reality experiences accessible from their everyday devices. Augmented reality apps and games allow users to enjoy this technology on a budget…and many of these apps and experiences are even free. Until augmented reality glasses go mainstream (and decrease in cost), consumers can download games like Pokemon GO, using their cameras to show the reality world and watching as cute little characters are augmented in the reality. Those looking to embrace fitness can try to outrun zombies within an augmented reality zombie apocalypse. Android users may have even more augmented reality experiences to explore. Google’s Floom lets users draw a portal that shows them what’s on the other side of the globe. Portals can be drawn at different angles, letting the same user in the same place access the sights of different areas of the world. Another Google augmented reality experience helps users safely socially distance. And a future experience will infuse augmented reality into the photo stream. While augmented reality glasses can give consumers a unique look at this technology, there are so many ways to explore augmented reality. Some consumers may have the budget to invest in these high-tech glasses, but, for those on a tighter budget, apps and online experiences can help everyone explore an augmented reality. Those who are a bit hesitant to try new types of technology can try out augmented reality while shopping online. Some stores offer virtual try-on experiences. Again, even shopping for a car can become an augmented experience…so go ahead and drop that Jeep into your living room!
What is WEBAR? A Handbook on Web Based Augmented Reality
May 31, 2021
When it comes to Augmented Reality, many individuals utilize this technology through mobile apps — which are not necessarily needed when it comes to all AR projects. Obviously, app integration is extremely important and, as noted, the primary way that people use AR. However, the emergence of WebAR has enabled users to deploy AR content without having to download an app. Smartphones have varying amounts of storage that will only allow a phone to keep a limited amount of applications — eventually, after downloading enough apps, taking enough videos and pictures, and saving enough of our favorite songs, we have to pick and choose which apps we download onto our phone. There’s also the added issue that users might not want to allow a business or organization to have access to their phone and personal information, in which scenarios WebAR (web-based augmented reality) truly shines. EVERYONE HAS AN APP If you’ve been thinking that you might have too many apps on your phone, you’re not alone. Maybe you’re annoyed at your dry cleaning place because they just made you download an app in order to get those nice dress clothes freshly pressed. As of mid-2020 there were nearly 3 million apps available for users to download — and this was only in the Google Play store for Android users. There are also over 4 million apps in the Apple Store It’s important to note that 90% of the time that users are on the internet is spent using one app or another, but does that mean that apps are awesome or that people often don’t have a choice? Take LinkedIn, for example. They try to get their users to download their app. If you’re using the desktop/web version on your phone, you will likely not be able to take advantage of certain features available on the app itself, and you’ll always have to decline their offer to download their app. It’s annoying, to be certain. Users might not want that sort of access to LinkedIn. Many users might be saying to themselves “Can I just access this when I’m on the computer like a normal person?” In such instances WebAR is extremely useful and a testament to the evolution of augmented reality as a whole. What is WEBAR? A Handbook on Web Based Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/More-on-Augmented-Reality.jpg] MORE ON AUGMENTED REALITY Augmented Reality (not to be confused with Virtual Reality) aims to allow the user to see their real life environment while digital elements are overlaid on it that they can manipulate and interact with. Remember Pokemon Go? That game is actually the most popular and widely known example of AR technology. Players were able to bring their Pokemon experience into their real lives. Players could locate and capture Pokemon characters that would “surface” in cities, towns, rural areas, even in bathrooms! Sure, AR technology is being used by the video game industry to amazing results. But AR is also being used by just about every other industry under the sun. The medical industry, for example, has utilized AR technology to help explore and provide visual representation of what is going on inside of the body. Surgeons and medical students use AR to help them provide better procedures and treatments to patients. Marketers and brands are using AR technology in order to help consumers view and interact with potential products from the comfort of their home. Online gambling sites are developing ways to create an at-home Vegas-style experience with VR and AR. WEBAR: THE NEXT LOGICAL PROGRESSION At its core, WebAR ends up performing in the same exact way as app-based augmented reality. WebAR provides an immersive experience through blending the virtual world with the physical world — the only difference is in how content is accessed by the user. In lieu of an app, users can use AR through a special web page. It’s important to note that WebAR will require a user to get to a uniquely specific web page in order to engage with the technology. Companies have to invest significantly in creating a user-friendly experience and maintaining a healthy website. What is WEBAR? A Handbook on Web Based Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/WebAR-Benefits-and-Applications.jpg] WEBAR BENEFITS AND APPLICATIONS Users can access WebAR content by scanning a QR code using a smartphone camera. By pointing your device camera to the QR code you will get direct access to an applicable AR experience. Advertisers are particularly interested in WebAR due to the fact that brands can custom-tailor campaigns around WebAR content — paid advertising can reach preferred audiences and even extend beyond their normal following through social media. Users can click a link and be taken directly to an AR experience rather than having to take the time to download an app in order to engage with the content. WebAR also allows users to provide call to actions on existing websites in order to redirect to WebAR content. Organizations can create a new web page or easily integrate WebAR into an already existing site. On the user side, WebAR content users can easily type in a web address by hand in order to gain access to content. It’s important to make sure that domain names are simple and easily-remembered, so users can simply type it into their browser. WebAR content is accomplished via: * Real World Tracking * Face Tracking * Image Tracking What is WEBAR? A Handbook on Web Based Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/WebAR-is-Significant.jpg] Smartphone cameras can now digitize an environment so that virtual content can be layered over that. Face tracking enables users to more closely engage with brands, not to mention gives AR technology the opportunity to recognize facial expressions in order to create a variety of prompts. Image tracking allows automation to come into the mix, helping users choose certain reference points (like signs, billboards, logos, etc.) that will automatically initiate a WebAR experience. For instance, a cereal box might provide a QR code where users can scan over the box with their phone and the brand mascot can interact with them as they enjoy breakfast. WHY WEBAR IS SIGNIFICANT As noted above, limitations of app-based AR is that there is only a limited amount of space on any given phone. Phones also experience choppy download speeds while running on data, which can seriously compromise a virtual experience. WebAR makes it easy to simply tap-and-go, giving brands the opportunity to not only give more options to consumers but to also be an integral part in introducing this amazing technology to first-time users. Oh yeah, there’s also the additional benefits that web pages have the ability to provide analytics. Sure, certain apps might be able to provide analytics, but WebAR sets itself apart by gathering specific pieces of data, not to mention providing analytics about how users interact with a specific AR experience. WebAR is easily integrated with all of the traditional metrics — ways of measuring engagement like clicks, time spent on a specific page, and even deep-dive insights narrowing all the way down to how long a specific user actually used the WebAR content/experience. Did we mention that building an app is expensive, too? If your business or organization doesn’t have a need for an app, WebAR is an excellent opportunity to stay on the cutting edge while avoiding spending revenue on app development, not to mention saving time that would surely be spent on managing problems and issues that will ultimately arise, especially during initial rollout. WEBAR LIMITATIONS Although it might be true that the best AR experiences might happen within an app (where there’s more memory to use and therefore more complex graphics/animation), WebAR is still an affordable and effective alternative to launching a full-scale app-based AR project. Users might have minor gripes about lower resolution when it comes to WebAR content, but brands will be able to get their message across and guide users through their respective sales funnels. As a general rule, brands that incorporate WebAR into their marketing strategies might want to opt to keep projects as simple as possible, that way the user has a seamless experience. WEBAR MOVING FORWARD In conclusion, WebAR represents a super flexible option for brands and businesses to deploy AR technology, which helps provide a new level of education, interaction, and engagement. What is WEBAR? A Handbook on Web Based Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/WebAR-Moving-Forward.jpg] WebAR still offers a wide variety of customization options as well as easy integration — it can easily be added to existing toolboxes as a result. AR technology will continue to evolve, ultimately aiming to incorporate all of the senses in order to craft a truly immersive and convincing virtual experience. More and more complex procedures will be incorporated into a users at-home and online experience, which is especially beneficial to those who are on the go or trying to limit foot traffic. It will be incredibly interesting to see what realms WebAR technology and AR technology as a whole extend into as the future and the technology itself progresses.
Is Integrating Augmented Reality into E-Commerce Sites Too Risky?
May 19, 2021
Augmented reality and virtual reality are playing larger and larger roles in our daily lives and branching into just about every industry under the sun, often with spectacularly successful results. Businesses and advertisers in particular are utilizing AR and VR technology in order to better connect with consumers, creating more dynamic and engaging experiences on websites. However, there is a question right now as to whether or not it is too risky to incorporate AR and VR into e-commerce sites due to the fact that online shoppers are in need of enhanced security while making purchases on the internet. Sources show that around 1.8 billion people around the world do at least a portion of their shopping online, and that figure has only grown in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, where most consumers around the world had to resort to online shopping amidst a vast global shutdown. As a matter of fact, during March of 2020 42% of the US population did their shopping online, a number that was double from the same time in 2018. A whopping 85% of customers around the globe have made at least one online purchase at some point in their life. Is Integrating Augmented Reality into E-Commerce Sites Too Risky? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/E-Commerce.jpg] E-COMMERCE: WHY MESS UP A GOOD THING? If your e-commerce site is running well and your customers have good things to say about your secure purchasing process online, then maybe you’re wondering why you would even entertain the idea of incorporating AR or VR technology into your e-commerce site/business. However, you could be missing out on having your site and services stand out among the rest of the noise. AR and VR technology are synonymous with top-of-the-line — so any visitor who uses your site will notice this right off the bat, giving your site a certain level of authority and credibility that a more basic e-commerce site simply isn’t going to be able to match. If you do incorporate AR or VR into your site and people are going to be making purchases on your site, you’re going to want to make sure that you double-down on your security measures as a result. You don’t want to learn the hard way when it comes to security breaches. There are a number of ways that your e-commerce site and network can be compromised due to security threats, which can come in the form of malware, phishing, scams, hacking, and more. The Internet is a markedly unsafe place — when it comes to your e-commerce site browser security, site security, and network security are crucial. AR/VR AND E-COMMERCE E-commerce businesses and websites are trying to bridge the gap between online and brick-and-mortar shopping, and augmented reality and virtual reality are avenues that give them the power to do just that. Virtual reality is being used by online sellers to create more of an in-store experience, not to mention help consumers visualize how a product can be used or how it will look in their home. Down the road, VR aims to create a completely immersive and sensory experience, incorporating sight, audio, smell, touch, and even taste. Augmented reality is used to add outside elements onto an existing environment. In the e-commerce world, augmented reality helps users interact with products in order to increase buying confidence. AR and VR are helping bring products and e-commerce businesses to life… right before the consumer’s eyes! However, AR and VR can open certain doors that can be exploited by hackers and other compromises in security. With new technology springs new surfaces of attack. One upside of AR and VR is that they offer very few new attack surfaces, since they both predominantly operate off of existing platforms. AR and VR can operate on the computers, consoles, and mobile devices we already use, AR/VR tracking software can be used without internet connection in many cases — which means that this technology doesn’t necessarily pose any greater risk than any other kind of software, perhaps even so than, say, the average network connected video game. Is Integrating Augmented Reality into E-Commerce Sites Too Risky? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Online-Security-and-E-Commerce.jpg] ONLINE SECURITY AND E-COMMERCE Online security is of crucial importance for any business, and e-commerce businesses need to take every precaution available to protect themselves and those who make purchases on their site. In 2018 alone, over 32% of all online attacks happened to online businesses. Make sure to protect the trust of your customers’ by taking a few e-commerce security measures which include: * Integrity * Privacy * Effective Authentication * Non-Repudiation Integrity is important in order to ensure that any piece of information your customers enter on your site remains incorrupt and unchangeable. The altering of any information your customer enters will result in a loss of trust. Privacy is of obvious importance, which includes the prevention of any sort of activity that involves the sharing of customer information with third parties that have not been authorized. At the very least, every online business should have anti-virus protection, firewall, encryption, as well as additional data protection. Authentication is important in order to ensure both parties are real, which will help ensure that both parties deliver what they promise to. Since e-commerce transactions occur on the internet and not in person, it’s important to ensure that both parties hold up their end of the transaction, and non-repudiation is essential in finalizing the sale. Non-repudiation adds a layer of protection for the seller and the buyer to ensure that both parties are 100% satisfied with the business transaction. TREADING LIGHTLY WITH AR/VR AND E-COMMERCE Now that the global pandemic is starting to subside in many areas of the world, customers are changing their behaviors and over 75% of customers have shifted brand loyalty during this time of global pandemic. This creates a unique opportunity for smaller brands and e-commerce businesses to stake their claim and convert consumers to their respective brands. Customers have a new set of expectations when shopping online. Now, many consumers expect to get a clear picture of what they’re purchasing ahead of time, and without even stepping foot into a brick and mortar location in order to make such findings. Larger online retailers like IKEA and Gucci can easily make the shift into incorporating AR into their online shopping experience with very little risk, while smaller businesses might be rolling the dice trying to capitalize on changing customer expectations and shopping preferences. Many small businesses do not see the appeal in jeopardizing an already seamless shopping experience they’ve worked so tirelessly to create. However, failing to address a new customer need could have an online store failing to experience new growth and connect with new customers. Ideally, e-commerce sites will be able to incorporate AR and VR technology into their online purchasing experience without disrupting the sales process. Remember that AR and VR can both be used as part of the sales funnel, which will help inspire new and existing customers to make a purchase. You will want to make sure that your process, from start to finish, is quick and easy. Google asserts that for every one second page load delay, 20% of customers leave the site. Striking the right balance between functionality and familiarity is crucial in crafting a successful online shopping experience. Is Integrating Augmented Reality into E-Commerce Sites Too Risky? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Know-Thy-Audience.jpg] KNOW THY AUDIENCE Taking the time to correctly identify your target audience is also incredibly important when deciding whether or not to incorporate AR and VR technology into your ecommerce site. If your target audience is younger and more tech savvy, then you are going to want to consider accommodating those sorts of needs and expectations. However, if your target audience is more advanced in age and less familiar with the latest technology, you might want to consider keeping your online sales process as simple and easy as possible. Credibility is extremely important as customer loyalty trends continue to shift during these uncertain times. As uncertain as the times may be, your e-commerce site has the ability to provide continuity and consistency, which consumers put a lot of stock in these days. If your brand/business can weather the storm and provide your products and/or services without faltering, even in the online world, then that is going to increase your authority, credibility, and your relevance. Making the decision to incorporate AR/VR into your online purchasing experience might also simply come down to money. Incorporating augmented reality and virtual reality into a website can be quite expensive, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Integrating AR and VR into your e-commerce site might cost more money than you’re willing to put up, especially if the return on investment isn’t very convincing. At the end of the day, it’s an important decision to make. If you do decide to incorporate AR and VR into your e-commerce site, it’s a good idea to do your research, have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish (keeping the customer experience in mind, of course), and execute a well-made plan to ensure everything happens in a timely and productive manner. Keeping in mind some e-commerce fundamentals mentioned above will help ensure that you make the right decision for your e-commerce brand/business.