Augmented Reality Auto Showroom
July 7, 2021
The days of traveling from showroom to showroom to find the perfect vehicle are over. The automotive showroom experience is now available at your fingertips. RelayCars gives you the power to explore vehicles inside a virtual or augmented reality showroom without ever stepping foot inside a dealership. EXPLORE A CURATED SELECTION OF VEHICLES The RelayCars augmented reality showroom app highlights a curated selection of vehicles from our extensive automotive library. See some of the latest models from a wide range of automotive manufacturers, including Lexus, BMW, Audi, Ford, Mercedes, and Toyota. You can choose which vehicles you want to explore. The best part? You won’t have a sales representative pressuring you to make a decision. You are in control of your experience inside the augmented reality showroom. Simply select the vehicle category, year, make, and model to get started. Are you looking for a specific make or model? If it’s not already in our inventory, check back later. Our inventory within the augmented reality app is updated with new vehicles throughout the year, so you can continue to explore the latest models inside your personal showroom. SEE YOUR DREAM CAR IN YOUR DRIVEWAY Have you ever wondered what your dream car would look like sitting in your driveway? Or whether a specific make or model would fit comfortably inside your garage? The answers to these questions are just a few clicks away thanks to the power of augmented reality. Here’s how it works: 1. Open the RelayCars app and use your mobile device to scan your surroundings. 2. Select the make, model, and year you would like to explore inside the augmented reality showroom. You can customize your selection even further by choosing a specific color. 3. Place your selected vehicle in your driveway, garage, or anywhere else in your surroundings. To increase or decrease the size of the vehicle, use your fingers to adjust the scale on your mobile device. 4. Start exploring the vehicle. All you need is your mobile device and the RelayCars app to bring a vehicle into your home. Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Get-In-the-Drivers-Seat.jpg] GET IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT You can see vehicles from every angle inside your personal augmented reality showroom. To explore the vehicle’s exterior, use your fingers to rotate the vehicle on your mobile device. You can adjust the size of the vehicle to get a closer look at any angle. No showroom experience is complete without a look inside the vehicle. Use the RelayCars app to sit in the driver’s seat and take a look around the interior of the vehicle. You will get to see the same interior amenities and features you would if you were looking at the car in person. But thanks to augmented reality technology, you can see what it’s like to get behind the wheel of a vehicle without ever leaving home. SHARE PICTURES WITH FRIENDS There are no limits on how many vehicles you can see in your personal augmented reality showroom, so explore as many as you would like. If you find a car you love–or if you want a second opinion–use the “Share” feature to send pictures of the vehicle to family members or friends. Share pictures of multiple vehicles if you need help narrowing down your options. It’s just like sending your loved ones photos of a car from a dealership, but from the comfort of your home. EXPLORE AN EXTENSIVE LIBRARY OF VIRTUAL VEHICLES Step inside the virtual lobby within the RelayCars virtual reality showroom app to start exploring vehicles. Choose from our extensive vehicle inventory, which contains over one thousand different makes and models starting with model year 2015. You will have access to vehicles from a wide range of categories, including exotics, sedans, hybrids, full-size trucks, SUVs, and more. Once you select the year, make, and model, you can customize your vehicle selection even further by choosing a specific color. Our inventory is updated year-round to ensure you always have access to the latest models. Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Take-A-Virtual-Tour-of-the-Vehicles-Interior-and-Exterior.jpg] TAKE A VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE VEHICLE’S INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR Once inside your virtual showroom, follow these steps to take a virtual tour of any vehicle: * Choose the make, model, and year of the vehicle you want to explore. * View high-resolution, realistic, 360-degree interior and exterior images of every vehicle in our inventory. The images are presented in a large-screen format to make it feel as if you are actually next to or inside of the vehicle rather than viewing it from your mobile device. * Move your mobile device around to explore different parts of the vehicle. The images will move along with the motions of your mobile device, which is part of what makes it such a truly immersive experience. You don’t need a virtual reality headset to enjoy this experience. All you need is your mobile device. LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH VEHICLE IN THE SHOWROOM There may not be an automotive sales representative inside your virtual showroom, but you can still learn everything you need to know about a vehicle within the RelayCars app. Use the app to learn more about each vehicle inside the showroom, including its trim detail, drivetrain, and other features. SAVE AND COMPARE YOUR FAVORITE VEHICLES If you find a vehicle you love, save it to your personal collection so you can quickly pull it up again in the future. The next time you step into your virtual showroom, you won’t have to start a new search to find the vehicle you had your eye on. All you need to do is visit your collection of saved vehicles to see it again. This feature allows you to keep track of which vehicles you like the most. Car shoppers can use this feature to compare different makes and models, narrow down their options, and choose the right vehicle for their lifestyle. Augmented Reality Auto Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Step-Into-A-Virtual-Showroom-From-Your-Computer.jpg] STEP INTO A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM FROM YOUR COMPUTER Now you have the option of exploring the RelayCars virtual showroom from a mobile device, tablet, or computer. This provides a more flexible experience and allows car shoppers and enthusiasts to visit their virtual showroom from whatever device is most convenient to them. ACCESS ALL OF YOUR FAVORITE FEATURES FROM THE RELAYCARS APP You can access all of your favorite features inside your virtual reality showroom regardless of whether you are visiting it from a mobile device or computer. The same extensive inventory of vehicles, customization options, views, and immersive experience. The same virtual reality automotive showroom–just on a different device. Ready to experience the new car shopping experience? Visit https://vr.relaycars.com.
Augmented Reality for Car Shopping
June 28, 2021
Augmented reality and virtual reality are elevating the online experience and amplifying the mundane habits that were once not so exciting or even maybe a hit-or-miss experience. Like trying to find the perfect paint hue for a wall, the ideal lipstick for a complexion…or even the perfect car. Now all of these shopping experiences are augmented with excitement…thanks to augmented reality. Yes, consumers can shop for a new vehicle by previewing it anywhere. Drop a 3D augmented reality into the garden. Plop it on the table. Augmented reality for car shopping is easy to use and so much fun! Here’s how consumers can use augmented reality for car shopping, immerse in technology…and enjoy the augmented journey! ALL ABOUT AUGMENTED REALITY Some consumers might be unfamiliar with augmented reality. This technology is considered part of extended reality (or XR) along with virtual reality. However, while virtual reality is viewed in a virtual realm with or without a headset, augmented reality projects graphic elements over a real-life environment. Augmented reality is present in everyday life, and it’s included in newer cars via features like the backup camera. The camera projects the scene behind the car while graphic gridlines detail the turning radius of the vehicle. The grid is augmented reality. GPS devices may also use augmented reality. According to Statista, the mobile global augmented reality market hit nearly $9 billion in 2021.The site also reported that 410,000 augmented reality glasses were sold in 2021. However, glasses aren’t a necessary tool for augmented reality. Unlike many virtual reality games and platforms where headsets may be a requirement for stepping into the virtual space, augmented reality sometimes only requires a camera. How does it work? Many apps and augmented reality tools use the camera from a device like a smartphone or tablet to show the real environment and project a graphic element into that space. So while an expensive headset isn’t a necessity, some type of device is needed to enjoy augmented reality experiences. However, smartphones have now become the standard phone for many users; in fact, Pew Research reported back in 2018 that 95 percent of teens have access to one. This means that for many consumers augmented reality is quite accessible. And owning a phone can open up a unique and extremely entertaining way to shop online and preview many different products from the comfort of home. Augmented Reality for Car Shopping [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Navigating-Augmented-Reality.jpg] NAVIGATING AUGMENTED REALITY For consumers new to using augmented reality, the technology is fairly simple to navigate and explore. When using the technology to simplify shopping online, augmented reality experiences are usually downloaded either via the business’ web site or app. Not every store or business offers augmented reality experiences but many do. One of the easiest ways to find out if a business uses augmented reality for shopping is to search in either the App Store or Google Play. Just type in ‘augmented reality,’ and scroll through the options. Need a cheat sheet on augmented reality shopping experiences? Here’s a list of some stores/businesses that offer augmented reality apps or online experiences as well as a few details about those offerings: IKEA Use augmented reality to preview furniture or other products in a room. The app is called IKEA place and is available on both the App Store and Google Play! WARBY PARKER Try on those frames in augmented reality using Warby Parker’s app. This is available on Apple’s App Store (for iPhone X and newer models). SEPHORA Sephora’s Virtual Artist experience recognizes your face and lets users try on different products…virtually. Or maybe, more accurately, augmentedly! Unfortunately, this app feature might not be available across the globe. ULTA Ulta’s GlamLAB also lets users preview shade. And, yes, this feature works…at least in the U.S. Have fun trying out tons of products…including cheek tints, lipsticks, eyeshadow, eyeliner and even foundation. This is a great way to shop for cosmetics at home without the fear of buying the wrong shade. Thinking about that goth black lipstick? Shoppers can get an idea if that dark hue will flatter. SHERWIN-WILLIAMS ColorSnap Visualizer lets shoppers preview paint hues right on their own walls. Try out a rainbow of hues to find the one that looks best in any room. This experience can get addicting, though. Shoppers might try out all different hues, because, really, who doesn’t want to see what their walls will look like when painted neon green? RELAYCARS Yes, augmented reality can help shoppers preview different car models, too! Download RelayCars’ augmented reality app via the App Store or Google Play and drop different cars into any place! Augmented Reality for Car Shopping [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Use-Augmented-Reality-When-Shopping-for-a-Car.jpg] HOW TO USE AUGMENTED REALITY WHEN SHOPPING FOR A CAR Using augmented reality to try on makeup products or even paint hues on walls seems pretty self-explanatory. Using augmented reality, though, when trying to find that perfect vehicle might sound foreign to some shoppers. So how do you use augmented reality apps like RelayCars during the car shopping experience? Augmented reality can be incredibly helpful for shoppers who want to look at different cars without going to a dealership. The benefit that augmented reality has over virtual reality is that it allows users to place items onto or into a real environment. When shopping for cosmetics, this means that the shopper can apply a lipstick hue onto their image even at home. Car shopping with augmented reality allows the shopper to explore the car at home…or anywhere. With RelayCars and other augmented reality experiences, users place or drop the vehicle into a location. This can be the living room, garage, basement or maybe even the backyard. The camera shows the real environment but drops in the 3D image of the chosen vehicle. However, this vehicle can appear nearly full-size (depending on the app or the technology). Augmented reality images allow the user to hold their phone or device to view the image in their space and then walk around this seemingly holographic image, exploring the interior and exterior of the vehicle. RelayCars even lets users swap out paint hues. The ability to explore the vehicle—even digitally—might be able to help shoppers gain a better perspective of the vehicle and whether or not it’s a good choice for their lifestyle. While augmented reality doesn’t allow shoppers to physically touch or interact with the vehicle, the technology does let users get a close up view of their favorite models. From there, shoppers can visit dealerships to see if their favorite vehicle is in stock and check out the price of the vehicle as well as other info. Augmented reality also has an interesting edge over virtual reality apps for car shopping. With the augmented reality app, users can place the car in their garage or in their driveway. This can help the buyer really visualize the car as their own. Maybe the deciding factor over two vehicles comes down to how they look parked in the driveway! With virtual reality, though, previewing the car usually takes place in a virtual showroom. WILL AUGMENTED REALITY BE A MUST-HAVE TOOL FOR CAR SHOPPERS? Not all shoppers might be proficient in using augmented reality or virtual reality, but both types of technology are seemingly easy to navigate for shoppers willing to explore extended reality. Automotive News highlighted how some automotive companies are using Snapchat to deliver augmented reality experiences. Shane Dwyer, the head of automotive for Snap Inc., was interviewed for the story and envisioned the possibilities for this technology for car shopping.Interesting to note that Snapchat Spectacles allow Snapchat ‘creators’ to create unique augmented reality content. Augmented reality experiences could become more prominent if/when more buyers head online for their purchases. Maybe these experiences are deployed via social media sites like Snapchat or on the stores’ or business’ website or apps. When car shopping during Covid, consumers might have been forced online as dealerships might have been closed in their area. The hunt for a new car might have required shoppers to click through photo galleries to gather info about their favorite models. Or shoppers could have utilized sites like RelayCars to preview vehicles in augmented reality or virtual reality. Covid also might have helped more buyers understand the comfortable convenience of online tools. Why waste gas visiting dealerships when you can go online and research cars in virtual and augmented reality? Plus, virtual or augmented reality showrooms don’t require a sales force. For buyers, this means that they can shop at their leisure. Without pressure. Will augmented reality for car shopping be the future? Possibly. Of course, the preference could simply depend on the individual buyer. And popularity of extended reality experiences also might impact the tools offered by companies and dealerships. If buyers embrace the augmented and virtual experiences, then companies and dealerships might wish to increase these offerings. Whether or not more dealerships or auto makers jump on augmented reality, sites like RelayCars will continue to offer these unique tools and experiences to shoppers. And, as COO, Evox Images Gina Callari points out in an article for WardsAuto, “As consumers continue to expect this elevated, online shopping experience, standard images or basic videos are no longer going to cut it.”
How Augmented Reality is Helping with Surgical Precision
June 18, 2021
Augmented reality (otherwise known simply as AR) has to do with the art of superimposing computer-generated content over what we see in the real world. AR is possible through integrating digital information with our own real world environment occurring in real time. A majority of AR content can be viewed through the average smartphone. VR is becoming more and more accessible (not to mention affordable) for new industries to adopt it. VR can be applied beyond the video game and virtual realm, branching off into industries to create a more educational and engaging experience in areas like self-help, marketing, medicine, dentistry, as well as nurse training. Augmented reality is proving to be particularly useful in medical education and imaging. Popular AR solutions that are already available include AccuVein, ARnatomy, VA-ST, and VIPAR. WHERE DID AUGMENTED REALITY COME FROM? AR was first developed, to a certain extent, by someone in the film industry — a cinematographer named Morton Heilig… in 1957. Heilig invented a contraption called the Sensorama, a device that delivered visuals, sounds, vibrations, and, yes, even smells to the user. This first iteration of AR was not computer controlled, however the Sensorama remains the first example of an individual making an attempt to add sensory data to a virtual experience. In 1968, a man named Ivan Sutherland (an American computer scientist) invented a head-mounted display that could be used as a sort of window into a virtual world. However, this invention stumbled upon a primary problem in antiquated versions of VR and AR technology: these inventions were impractical for popular and wide use. Then, in 1975 Myron Krueger (a computer artist) developed the very first virtual reality interface, an invention called Videoplace. Videoplace gave its users the ability to manipulate (and even interact with) virtual objects in real-time. The very first properly functioning AR system is believed to be developed in 1992 at USAF Armstrong’s Research Lab — by Louis Rosenberg. Virtual Fixtures was a complex robotic system that Rosenberg designed in order to make up for lack of high-speed 3D graphics processing power that was available back in those times. Virtual Fixtures enabled the overlay of sensory information onto a common workspace, which was done in order to boost productivity. Of course, more recently, advancements like ARToolkit (an Adobe Flash design tool), Google Glass, and Mocrosoft HoloLens have helped make augmented reality a household name… and this technology is finally ready to reach the masses! How Augmented Reality is Helping with Surgical Precision [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/AR-and-the-Medical-Industry.jpg] AR AND THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY As far as the medical industry goes, AR is being used in conjunction with smart glasses that can superimpose real-time data sent from a dental scanner, which gives dental practitioners the ability to build more precise crowns and caps. Nurses are now utilizing AR-enabled, tablet-based simulations that expose trainees to a variety of different patient scenarios. As a result, nurses are better able to connect with patients and are better prepared to handle daily work situations. AR can also help enhance CT and MRI visualization by superimposing stereoscopic projections, which can be used over the course of an actual surgical procedure. This information helps medical professionals better perform surgeries that require extremely precise navigation, especially when it comes to a very particular organ. AR can also be used during pre-operative planning, enhancing accuracy when it comes to locating tumors and surrounding structures, especially in instances where the anatomy of the vascular or nervous system ends up complicating a tumor removal procedure. AR AND THE VHA The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has partnered with Verizon, Medivis, and Microsoft in order to develop Project Convergence, which is an initiative to provide veterans with 5G medical campuses in the United States as well as sophisticated surgical visualization tools — campuses which will be the first of their kind. The initiative itself is led by the VA’s National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation. The way it works is by fusing together the following: * Verizon’s 5G technology * An FDA-approved use case in Medivis’ surgical augmented reality clinical visualization software (SurgicalAR) * Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset with Azure cloud service So what do all these awesome ingredients add up to? This initiative aims to improve healthcare delivery at VA facilities, and, ultimately, in the broader healthcare community at large. How Augmented Reality is Helping with Surgical Precision [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/More-on-Medivis.jpg] MORE ON MEDIVIS Medivis has developed a SurgicalAR platform that is truly groundbreaking, integrating augmented reality, artificial intelligence, as well as computer vision in order to help advance medical procedures like surgical planning. SurgicalAR leverages the Microsoft HoloLens 2 AR headset, which provides a holographic visualization for physicians, allowing for far better precision, helping drive effective real-time decision making. SurgicalAR is being used both in and out of the operating room as we speak. Neurosurgeon Osamah Choudhry and radiologist Christopher Morley are the pioneering physicians behind Medivis and SurgicalAR. The pair began laying their groundwork for SurgicalAR when they were still senior residents at NYU Medical Center. From the very beginning, these two doctors recognized the essential need for 3D technology and that this sort of technology could vastly improve surgical precision by providing surgeons with more comprehensive and immersive views of imaging. Today’s most commonly used imaging tools happen to be 2D currently. Surgical teams have struggled in the past to understand critical 3D anatomy while scrolling through 2D magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) slices. Not only that, they’ve also struggled to mentally re-create what they’ve been able to see through a microscope. The obvious question for Dr. Choudhry and his colleagues was: Why use 2D imaging when solving a 3D problem? This problem put Dr. Choudhry and Dr. Morley on the correct path that led to the development of SurgicalAR, not to mention the use of AR (as well as AI) to create extremely exact 3D holographic images, images that are much more helpful for surgeons who need to perform their jobs and procedures with the utmost precision. Medivis has undergone a meteoric rise to prominence when it comes to the world of surgical visualization and that rise has partly been fueled by amazing partnerships with world-class technology companies — which includes Dell Technologies, NVIDIA, and other notable names. “The way we work is that we take our imaging and we reconstruct it using our software technology,” Dr. Choudhry explained in a recent case study by Dell Technologies. “And because the reconstruction is very compute-intensive, we do it using a Dell Precision 7750 workstation with an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 GPU. That system uses parallel processing capabilities that allow the holographic rendering to be created in real time.” How Augmented Reality is Helping with Surgical Precision [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Gotta-Be-the-Glasses.jpg] IT’S GOTTA BE THE GLASSES Wait, we feel like we’re missing one important part of the SurgicalAR solution. Oh yeah, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 AR headset. Dell Precision workstation sends the data to the HoloLens, which helps the user visualize content in immersive 3D powered by the Verizon 5G network. But can AR be used beyond the operating room? With this new SurgicalAR solution, doctors will be better able to plan and prepare for surgeries of various types and complexities, not to mention view and orient themselves to the patient’s internal anatomy virtually. AR will only help the medical field create a more and more immersive learning environment for existing and training doctors, not to mention nurses and other professional clinicians. AR is proving to be especially beneficial and important for VA hospitals, which provide a training ground for over 70% of doctors in the United States. The SurgicalAR solution is scheduled to be deployed at VA sites in: * Palo Alto * Portland * Puget Sound * Philadelphia * Orlando However, the larger vision of this incentive is to bring these sorts of surgical precision improvements powered by AR to VA facilities and other healthcare service providers across the country and ultimately the globe. So, it’s clear that AR and VR are being used for far more purposes than simply creating an awesome video game or a convincing online/virtual experience. AR and VR have the capacity to touch and change a variety of industries and their applications are becoming more and more practical. Soon, even children will be able to use AR and VR technology with ease just as they do a smartphone. The medical industry itself is fertile ground for exploring the true uses and benefits that humankind stands to gain from augmented reality technology, especially when it comes to complicated operations and procedures like surgeries. Now that AR is being applied by the masses, it will continue to change the way we interact with our world and each other.
The Army’s Augmented Reality
June 15, 2021
Augmented and virtual reality platforms are often used to simulate real life experiences for training employees. Virtual reality platforms are also used in the medical field to help doctors safely expose patients suffering from anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder to experiences that make them anxious (this is called exposure therapy). Now the military is about to use extended reality to provide data and visual enhancements to troops. The Army’s augmented reality may be the future of military tech. In March, the Army announced a more than $20 billion augmented reality (known as “Integrated Visual Augmentation System” or IVAS) deal with Microsoft for augmented reality headsets that would include night vision and cameras among other features. CNBC reported that the new headset is similar to Hololens in that it overlays data on top of the actual environment; however, the IVAS also included (per a CNBC reporter’s demo in 2019) a compass, map, night imaging and could even include weapon data (e.g. aiming). The Army’s Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/The-Armys-Announcement.jpg] THE ARMY’S ANNOUNCEMENT Media reported that the Army made its official announcement on March 31, and a press release from the Army announcing the contract was posted to the site. According to the press release, the contract had been officially awarded to Microsoft on March 26, 2021. The press release also detailed capabilities of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System: “The IVAS aggregates multiple technologies into an architecture that allows the Soldier to Fight, Rehearse, and Train using a single platform. The suite of capabilities leverages existing high-resolution night, thermal, and Soldier-borne sensors integrated into a unified Heads Up Display to provide the improved situational awareness, target engagement, and informed decision-making necessary to achieve overmatch against current and future adversaries,” the Army stated in the press release. “The system also leverages augmented reality and machine learning to enable a life-like mixed reality training environment so the CCF can rehearse before engaging any adversaries.” WHAT ABOUT OTHER MILITARY BRANCHES? Will the Marines, Navy, Army Reserves or other branches of the military also utilize augmented reality? Currently, only the Army has announced plans for augmented reality. However, according to The Drive: “The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. special operations forces might also piggyback onto those orders in the future.” THE HISTORY OF IVAS Back in 2019, ArmyTimes reported on the Army’s and Marine’s exploration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS); The Times actually was able to use some of the devices. The details on the technology’s capabilities—even two years prior to the Microsoft announcement—could showcase the future of military technology. According to ArmyTimes, IVAS could show the location of teammates or squads (this is in real-time) and users could also mark enemy sites and other information using symbols. Essentially, the maps could include data that could alert squads and aid them. ArmyTimes explained that these symbols or marks even show up on the real environment (without the map). So data doesn’t just disappear. As the story was reported back in 2019, technology has likely changed…and the new headsets could be even savvier. What the final product looks like might only be known to the military, however. The Army’s Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/A-Look-at-Augmented-Reality-and-Training.jpg] A LOOK AT AUGMENTED REALITY AND TRAINING The development of IVAS for the Army could provide yet another tool for training, which could help soldiers better prepare for future scenarios. With augmented reality and virtual reality, training platforms are simulated to allow users to learn how to react and prepare…without, of course, putting anyone in danger. While the headsets for the Army could be used in different ways, augmented and virtual reality is often integrated by businesses as part of training platforms and perhaps even new employee onboarding. Virtual reality allows employees to enter a simulated environment with the aid of a headset that allows the employee or interviewee to experience aspects of the job or face tough situations…without the actual real-life stress of that situation. With virtual simulations, employees can learn how to handle a robbery or maybe just a tough customer. While a face-to-face real experience could leave an employee tongue-tied or maybe even flustered, virtual reality allows them to face these same issues in a safe environment. Screw-ups can mean that maybe the employee needs to rehearse and go over the situation again. For employers, these simulations could mean the difference between a really frustrated customer and a tense situation to a more relaxed interaction and a happy customer. A mistake in virtual reality isn’t the end of the world…or the end of the job. It could simply mean the employee needs more training or more practice. Augmented reality also has aided businesses during mechanical training. For example, augmented reality platforms can allow instructions to appear on top of machines or other equipment to help techs or others on the job. These tech platforms also could help reduce downtime. If a new employee has to learn how to fix new equipment, having the instructions via augmented reality means that they don’t have to hunt down a manual. They can simply do the job. Even automotive mechanics are using augmented reality glasses! Mercedes-Benz technicians are assisted with augmented reality glasses that can connect with a support team. The glasses can show the remote team what the tech sees to provide help to the tech during repairs. Once again, this saves the tech time flipping through a manual or halting repairs to call remote experts. The glasses seamlessly connect the service tech and the remote experts. The Army’s Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Augmented-Reality-for-Everyday.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY FOR EVERYDAY While the military and businesses embrace augmented reality, this technology is used by individuals every day. Whether they know it or not. Augmented reality can help keep drivers from backing into an obstacle and it may help navigation, too. Backup cameras don’t just show what’s behind the car, but they also show how that car will turn. Grid lines show the turning radius, and this can help a driver eyeball the best angle for backing out of a tight spot. Front cameras offer the same capabilities. Those small cameras could help drivers from nicking their bumpers or scratching another car while navigating tight parking lots. Some vehicles also include smart rearview mirrors that aid visual acuity at night. Instead of seeing the reflection in the mirror, smart rear view mirrors access the rear camera to show a well lit and clear image of the back of the vehicle. Even GPS systems could infuse augmented reality. Some systems include graphic overlays on top of the image of the real road or street view. Some may include arrows to indicate when to turn. In addition, some newer vehicles also could include navigation data that also shows augmented reality data that highlights bikers, speed and other information to help keep drivers safer on the road. AN AUGMENTED FUTURE REALITY Virtual and augmented reality may be upgrading jobs, training and even everyday activities like driving. As this technology is adopted by more industries, it may become an accepted norm. Not only will individuals find this technology as part of job training in some industries, but it also follows drivers on the road in many vehicles. Even online shopping experiences are upgraded with augmented (or virtual) reality features. Augmented reality can let consumers preview different products –including paint colors on their walls. Augmented reality, though, also can help individuals get fit. Apps like Zombies, Run! lets users run away from augmented zombies. Yes, the zombies appear in the environment…and this may help challenge runners or even fast walkers to pick up that pace. Ghost Pacer also can help runners beat their time and challenge their limits with augmented reality competitors. Augmented reality also can help individuals find out data about the world. Use apps to better understand the stars in the sky. Or even peek through the other side of the Earth and find more about what exists on the other side. In the future, augmented and virtual reality could be a part of the job interview process. Or maybe telehealth. Could doctors see patients virtually…in virtual reality? Maybe virtual conferences are held in virtual reality, too. Forget online conference platforms! Maybe, in the future, meetings will be held in virtual boardrooms with every employee appearing as their own personal avatar. Education could get augmented or go completely virtual, too. As Covid forced many schools to hold classes virtual, the idea of learning from home isn’t so foreign to many families any longer. Perhaps the future includes real virtual learning environments. Students don a headset and sit in a virtual classroom. Or maybe the teacher is augmented into the student’s environment. Even drives could be augmented to include friends and family, as avatars of companions may appear in the passenger seat during a long journey to keep the driver company (Nissan’s Invisible to Visible is working on this!). Augmented reality and virtual reality also could augment the world in ways we could only dream…because who knows what the future holds.
Get Playing with Google Search AR
June 11, 2021
Google’s augmented reality experiences bring anime characters like Hello Kitty, Evangelion, Ultraman and more into the user’s personal space. These anime additions join other augmented reality search animals that make finding info via the search engine a bit more entertaining. So what animals are available via Google’s augmented reality search? The full list might be a mystery, as Google hasn’t published a list of all the augmented reality wildlife. While The Verge sends readers to Android Police for an extensive list, we’re about to tackle an alphabetical list to find all (or hopefully…some!) of Google’s animals. Let’s get playing with Google Search AR! Will every animal be included? Is Google’s augmented reality search an AR Noah’s Ark of variety? You’re about to find out! AARDVARK The first animal to enter into Google’s search engine apparently does NOT bring up an augmented reality feature. So, no, users cannot place the aardvark on their bed. That aardvark also will not be able to work next to you at home. Aardvark’s are not AR-compatible. Bummer. AFRICAN ELEPHANT Not only are African Elephants lacking any kind of AR feature…but elephants (as a general search) also don’t pull up augmented reality or virtual reality. There might need to be a petition to AR the elephants. Imagine dropping one into the home! Thanks to augmented reality, everyone could have a pet elephant…in AR! ALPACA No fuzzy, fluffy augmented reality alpacas. Sorry. ANTEATER Google is now 0 of 2. Anteaters also are not, apparently, going to pop up in augmented reality or virtual reality. This could have been a really crazy augmented reality experience, too. Maybe the anteater could suck up some ants in AR. ANTELOPE The species native to Africa and Eurasia also is not going to gallop in the user’s backyard thanks to augmented reality. Antelopes also are not part of the AR experience. ARMADILLO Like most of the above animals that lack any augmented reality, there is a link that takes users to facts about this animal. However, yet again…no AR! BADGER Welcome to the B’s. Badgers do not include augmented reality features. BAT This is probably becoming monotonous to read. Bats also are not highlighted with augmented reality. BEAR HOORAY! Google allows users to bring a bear to life and view a brown bear in 3D! Augment the bear into your space. BEAVER The fact that the beaver isn’t given some type of fun experience is disappointing. The augmented reality beaver should be a reality! BLUE WHALE While the blue whale is the largest mammal in the world, users cannot augment this marine mammal into their environment. An augmented reality blue whale could have had so much potential. Get Playing with Google Search AR [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/AR-Animals.jpg] GOOGLE’S ARK OF AR ANIMALS ISN’T QUITE SO PACKED The list of animals obviously does not end at ‘blue whale.’ Not even close. There are more than eight million animals across the globe, and searching each one on Google would be incredibly time consuming. However, in searching some of the most common animals, there seem to be many missing from Google’s augmented reality ark. Elephants aren’t augmented. Bats can’t fly around the room. What animals can come alive in augmented reality via Google Search? It’s time to cheat. It’s time to consult that masterful list via Android Police. Check out the site’s roundup of all the animals it found that could be augmented via the search. Many of the known animals are dog and cat breeds, which means many of the more unusual animals around the world aren’t augmented…at least not that the site has discovered. While Android Police offers a pretty comprehensive list of about 50 animals, it did miss ‘bear.’ And also lions. According to Android Police, Google doesn’t offer a list of the animals. There is no way of knowing how many are out there! What’s unusual, though, is that even some of the more popular animals—like monkeys—aren’t augmented. The discovered animals also don’t include many species of reptiles, birds or even fish. These missing species could be a missed opportunity for a really unique augmented reality feature. Think about a snake slithering in the house via AR. A fish swimming in midair. Or an eagle flying. Searching for boa constrictor, anaconda and rattlesnake only brought up typical search results…in addition to a section with more info. This doesn’t mean that snakes aren’t included; there could be a snake among the many species. Finding it means searching for every snake. However, even searching for the generic term “snake” failed to bring up augmented reality. An augmented reality experience featuring birds would be unique. Would the birds fly or just perch? Google could get creative! Currently, searches for Bald Eagle, owl, hawks, parrots and dove also turn up no additional augmented reality features. Fish aren’t very exciting, so it shouldn’t be shocking to find them without much augmented reality. Goldfish, barracudas, and even piranha resulted in zero augmented or virtual reality experiences. However, the Great White Shark does have its own augmented reality feature! The Great White can swim right into the home. Or hang out on the porch. Whatever works! Other marine life—including squid, whales and crabs—can’t drop into your personal space! At least not yet. Who knows, though. Maybe a crustacean is lurking in augmented reality in the abyss of Google. Augmenting Anime [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Augmenting-Anime.jpg] AUGMENTING ANIME While many animals are not featured on Google’s augmented reality search list, favorite anime characters can pop in to say hello. Sanrio’s popular characters–including Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars—are among the many anime friends that can appear in the user’s space. The coolest character, however, might just be Pac-Man. While Google mentioned in an April 2021 blog that Pac-Man would be a featured augmented reality character in Search, the query yielded no yellow pellet-eating Pac-Man. However, searching for Pac-man did bring up the fun Google Doodle! THE POTENTIAL OF AUGMENTED REALITY SEARCH While many search queries failed to bring up an augmented reality experience, there might be a lot of room for Google to grow with this feature. With more than eight million animals, augmented reality could bring many more of them into the lives of the user. As augmented reality and virtual reality evolves, though, perhaps these experiences become more immersive. Could Google create more unique interactions with each animal? Maybe the augmented reality experience includes options for movement or, in the case of some species, even changing their fur or feather color. In birds, for example, males plumage is often more colorful. Dogs also could have different colorings. WHAT ABOUT VIRTUAL REALITY SEARCH? Currently, search results via Google can include a 3D augmented reality experience for different animals and characters. But could Google or another platform create a virtual reality search? With the ever-evolving technology, search platforms could one day feature virtual reality. Maybe all users will wear glasses or a headset and search queries will pop up before our eyes. Searches might become interactive. Perhaps searching for a zebra takes the user on an adventure into the Serengeti. While virtual reality searches aren’t a reality, many apps are infused with virtual and/or augmented reality to elevate the user experience. For example, IKEA features an augmented reality experience that lets users preview furniture. Sephora and Ulta offer a virtual try-on experience. Even paint can be previewed in augmented reality. Whether a user owns an Android device or an Apple, each company offers many different augmented reality apps in their stores. And there are augmented reality apps for many favorite hobbies or interests. SkyView Lite uses the phone’s camera to view the night sky; the app then shows the constellations drawn into the stars. Augmented reality and virtual reality apps also can help shoppers looking for a new car. RelayCars offers both an augmented reality and virtual reality app that lets users preview different makes and models of cars. The virtual reality showroom doesn’t require a headset; users simply enter a virtual 3D showroom where they can rotate their favorite vehicle to view it from different vantage points, change paint colors and even look inside. The augmented reality app lets users drop a car into the real world environment. Users can see how that new car might look in the driveway. Or in the garage. Wineries even offer apps where customers can explore the wine label in augmented reality. Experiences can be tailored to the unique needs of each vineyard. Some might include mysteries! Even kids can use augmented reality apps to help understand the world around them. There are apps that help identify different flora and fauna. And apps that let children (and adults) explore the solar system in any space (augment the planets). Some apps like GeoGebra Augmented Reality augment math concepts. Google even offers unique augmented reality experiences beyond the Search bar. There’s Floom, which lets users create a portal to the other side of the planet. Another experience lets users augment social distancing. There’s even an app in the works that will augment a user’s photos! Unfortunately, these experiences can only be enjoyed by Android users. Search, however, can be used by anyone. While sites like Google Police have found many augmented reality animals on Search, there may be many more to explore. Bored? Search for an animal, and you might find a new augmented reality friend.
Facebook’s World of Augmented Reality
May 24, 2021
Facebook is no stranger to virtual or augmented reality. The company owns Oculus, which makes virtual reality headsets that are used for virtual reality gaming as well as other VR experiences. The Verge reported that about 20 percent of Facebook’s employees are contributing to virtual reality tech for the company and that about 10,000 work in the Virtual Reality Labs for the company. Facebook also has topped many lists of virtual reality leaders. However, Facebook’s world of augmented reality also is expanding. Facebook’s Reality Labs include innovations in the augmented reality sector. Facebook is hoping to introduce new augmented reality glasses but it also may be working on an augmented reality bracelet, too. FACEBOOK’S WEARABLE TECH In March 2021, Facebook posted a video and an article looking at the possibility of wearable wrist technology that incorporates augmented reality. The company explained that it’s busy working on augmented reality glasses and envisioned a future of human computer interactions (or HCI). The company further explained: “Two of the most critical elements are contextually-aware AI that understands your commands and actions as well as the context and environment around you, and technology to let you communicate with the system effortlessly….” The technology for HCI would need to involve deep understanding on the part of AI to understand or inference “…about what information you might need or things you might want to do in various contexts, based on an understanding of you and your surroundings, and will present you with a tailored set of choices.” However, the company believes that this technology won’t become a reality in the near future. What could possibly be on the horizon for augmented reality is wearable tech like a bracelet. Facebook originally conceived their envisioned tech as glasses, however the company felt that the technology would be more suitable for the wrist, as a type of bracelet. The technology could be used anywhere, but privacy also was an important concern. In addition, the company explained that the tech would need to be easy to use, but smart or, as Facebook notes “intuitive.” The ideal way that Facebook conceived that such technology could exist was in the form of a bracelet. The technology could be worn easily and could interact. So why was a bracelet the best choice? It’s close to the hands, which gives the wearer an easy way to interact with the device. The bracelet would include electromyography (EMG), which “…uses sensors to translate electrical motor nerve signals that travel through the wrist to the hand into digital commands that you can use to control the functions of a device.” According to Facebook, these “neural interfaces” would allow the individual to control the technology; so, in many aspects, this would be the opposite of the idea of AI taking over. So how would the bracelet be used? Hrvoje Benko, the research director for Facebook’s Research Labs (FRL), explained on the company’s web site that the wearable could interact with augmented reality glasses. “We believe our wristband wearables may offer a path to ultra-low-friction, always-available input for AR glasses, but they’re not a complete solution on their own — just as the mouse is one piece of the graphical user interface,” said Benko on Facebook’s tech site. “They need to be assisted with intent prediction and user modeling that adapts to you and your particular context in real time.” And the tech could be predictive. The device could understand that what you’ve done in the past would be done in the present, too. Daily patterns could translate into aiding this predictive technology. If you call your mother at noon everyday, the device could start to understand that this is a daily task worth a prompt. Suddenly, the user could be asked if you want to talk to your mother. On Facebook’s site, Tanja Jonker, Research Science Manager for FRL, talks about the tech predicting daily runs (if this is a habit)…and having the tech ask if it should stream the running playlist. Touch also may be a part of this wristband. One of the details that might be important is ‘haptic feedback,’ or physical signals to the user. Facebook explains that this could be used via separate pulses for important emails versus emails that aren’t such a high priority. Several wristband prototypes are being built that, according to Facebook, will help them delve deeper into the world of wristband haptics. The two prototypes currently include the Bellowband and the Tasbi (which was named for an acronym meaning Tactile and Squeeze Bracelet Interface). During development and research of all this technology, Facebook noted that it also was investigating all the privacy, security and safety issues and implications of the possible technology. “We think deeply about how our technologies can positively and negatively impact society, so we drive our research and development in a highly principled fashion,” said Sean Keller, FRL Research Science Director, via a story on Facebook’s site. “with transparency and intellectual honesty at the very core of what we do and what we build.” So when would the wristband or bracelet debut? The story is still unfolding, but the technology is obviously very much underway. Technology Review wrote a story about the wristband and noted that the bracelet has an appearance of “…a clunky iPod on a strap”. The writer wasn’t yet able to test it out. Still, this technology—and likely the look of it, too—is still in the prototype stage. That clunky appearance could evolve into something sleeker. As Facebook hasn’t formally announced any sale date or any date that the device could enter the market, anything is possible for the wristband. FACEBOOK’S SPARK AR Facebook also offers Spark AR, which allows users to create their own effects or augmented reality experiences that can be used on both Facebook and Instagram. Interested individuals need to take a Spark AR class, however, to learn how to use the technology. However, Spark AR is seemingly accessible for anyone with an interest. There is an entire curriculum for Spark AR that begins with the course “Introduction to Augmented Reality.” FAcebook also offers a community where creators can share their knowledge. The Spark AR Forum is a hub where creators or interested individuals can ask questions or post on topics related to augmented reality. For Spark AR, users will need a Facebook account. Facebook’s World of Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Facebooks-Smart-Glasses.jpg] WHAT ABOUT FACEBOOK’S SMART GLASSES? The internet has been buzzing about different augmented and virtual reality products from different tech players. However, Facebook’s upcoming smart glasses may be the public’s introduction into what is to come for the company. The glasses will be in partnership with Luxottica, the company that owns sunglasses brands including Maui Jim and Ray Ban. Facebook x Ray-Ban smart glasses will not include augmented reality, however. The teaser video that was posted via YouTube offered little about the new glasses. Consumers don’t even know if these glasses will be in Ray-Ban’s signature Aviator or Wayfarer model, although the Wayfarer would probably be a great choice because of the model’s substantial frame. Consumers can be on the lookout for these new glasses, which should arrive sometime this year. Exactly when the glasses will drop, however, and how much the glasses will cost has yet to be announced. Facebook’s World of Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Future-is-Augmented-and-Virtual.jpg] THE FUTURE IS AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL Facebook is one of several companies working on new augmented and virtual reality products and/or experiences. Google has released several new augmented reality experiences—one which helps consumers socially distance themselves. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook talked to Kara Swisher via her podcast about augmented reality. For many in the tech sector, the biggest project in the works is the autonomous car. Many of the tech titans are in the midst of developing some type of self-driving vehicle. Currently, robotaxis are being tested in several cities. Amazon is testing its Zoox robotaxi in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Foster City, Calif. Waymo is already offering robotaxi services in Chandler, Ariz. Waymo is a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. (aka Google’s parent company). Is Facebook building a car, too? According to a story published by CNBC, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, stated at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017 that the company was “…the only company in Silicon Valley not building a car.” Anything can change in the world of technology, however. In the meantime, Facebook may be changing how consumers interact on a daily basis. By creating a wearable device that can work with a pair of glasses, calls, emails and other activities could be predicted with our wrists. The technology could possibly have implications beyond just glasses, too. Again, as technology evolves, the devices evolve, becoming more complex, insightful and adaptive to our habits and our lives. There is no exact timeline for many of these developing technologies. While robotaxis are servicing one city in the United States, there may be some time before they become adopted into all cities as a mainstream form of transportation. Like the robotaxi, Facebook’s wearable band may be the beginning of more complex technology. Who knows maybe in the future a wristband could interact with the car. Perhaps augmented reality wristbands interact with our home, too. While the future is a question mark when it comes to technology, augmented reality and virtual reality may become a big part of our future world.
You Can Now Play Pac-Man on the Side of a Pizza Hut Box Through Augmented Reality
May 5, 2021
“Why on earth would someone want to put Pac-Man on the side of a pizza box?” Well, why not? Now the classic Pac Man arcade game experience is available on the sides of Pizza Hut delivery and to-go boxes for consumers to play as they eat pizza and pizza-related creations. This modern twist on a cherished video game has been whipped up by Pizza Hut as a nostalgia promotion in an effort to move more products. PIZZA HUT BY THE NUMBERS Pizza Hut itself is coming off a year of somewhat suspended numbers with Pizza Hut International scraping together 13% growth in the fourth quarter of 2020. Dominos reported a 14% growth in the third quarter of 2020, which might not seem like much of a difference, but those little percentage points tend to equal big dollars in the eyes of the pizza makers. When a business starts to hit a plateau or even a decline, it’s time to shake things up, and new creations will start to come out of high priced think tanks which incorporate the latest product and technological innovations. Since necessity is the mother of invention, it’s times such as these when consumers start to see attractions like Pac-Man-playable pizza boxes. Sure, this sort of innovation isn’t going to win the Nobel prize or any such humanitarian award, but it’s a testament to how amazing, immersive, and omnipresent AR technology is starting to become. Pizza Hut Box Through Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Pizza-Hut-History.jpg] PIZZA HUT HISTORY Pizza Hut is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. and is one of the world’s largest restaurant companies. Pizza Hut has turned itself into a household name over the years as an American fast-food pizza chain, ultimately growing to the point of becoming an international franchise. Founded in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas by Frank and Dan Carney, Pizza Hut offers its titular delicacy in addition to other Italian-American dishes, including: * Bread Sticks * Pasta * Salads * Chicken Wings * Desserts Unlike high-priced artisanal pizza shops, Pizza Hut prices their product to move, and their business model has stood the test of time. As of April 25, 2021, there are 6,672 Pizza Hut locations in the United States alone and 17,639 restaurants worldwide, both numbers down due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pizza Hut is now positioning itself to get back to some semblance of regular growth after a challenging 2020. Even after its slight 2020 downfall, Pizza Hut remains the world’s largest pizza chain — if we’re speaking in terms of number of locations. Domino’s has the crown when it comes to pizzas sold with 7.04 billion in sales in 2019. Even during a global pandemic, people across the globe turned to Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesar’s and other pizza delivery shops to keep them fed while they sheltered in place. NOSTALGIA MARKETING Putting an 80s arcade game on the side of a pizza box is an interesting piece of “Nostalgia Marketing” that is sure to get folks to purchase more pizzas by the box, but why do companies and organizations rely on nostalgia in the first place? There’s a reason why there is an app you can download on your phone that makes your smartphone operate like a rotary phone. The entertainment industry capitalizes on nostalgia with shows like Stranger Things and Mad Men. There is a ton of currency in helping people bridge the gap between the present and the past. Big box brands and Fortune 500 companies around the world pay big bucks to ad agencies (names like Ogilvy, Deloitte, Epsilon, and McCann) to tug at consumer heartstrings in order to get them to empty their pockets and often purchase something they may or may not want or need. Coming off a rough year (to say the least), many businesses are now pivoting away from COVID-19-heavy rhetoric and messaging and favoring normalcy and getting back to connecting with consumers on some sort of regular and real level. Pizza Hut Box Through Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Arcade-and-Video-Game-Nostalgia.jpg] ARCADE AND VIDEO GAME NOSTALGIA Nostalgia products are on the rise in our current ever-evolving climate, which might seem like an ironic thing. Old school Nintendo products are being picked up on Ebay at a rapid clip — and the same goes for other vintage video game consoles. Any respectable gamer will likely not only have the latest Playstation or Xbox device, but they’ll also have their Super Nintendo, NES, Sega Genesis, Dreamcast, and other consoles which have long been out of production. Said gamer might even end up playing Mario Kart on that Super Nintendo in lieu of using their latest VR headset. WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT PAC-MAN? Pac-Man might inspire questions like: * How do you play Pac Man? * Is there a pattern to Pacman? * When was Pacman made? * Then, ultimately, Can I play Pac Man on my phone? Pac-Man itself took the world by storm in 1980 and remains widely played today — except in different iterations than kids, teens, and adults played in earlier decades. Instead of playing the game at an actual arcade, most people today have probably first played Pac-Man on a smartphone or on their computer. To this day, gamers learn to beat Pac Man through repeatable patterns and “Cherry Partners” that help the subject character eat all of the dots before getting caught by antagonistic monsters. At first, Pac Man could only be played in an arcade, then, later, on NES, Atari, and other consoles. Ultimately, Pac Man became available online (often free of charge), giving gamers the ability to play Pac Man anytime anywhere. PAC-MAN MEETS AR TECHNOLOGY… Now, with the help of AR technology, you don’t need your phone or your laptop to play Pac Man. You can grab a Pizza Hut pizza, maybe some wings and breadsticks, head to the park, have a nice picnic (either with a friend or solo), and play Pac Man to your little heart’s desire. If that’s not innovation, we don’t know what is. Pizza Hut isn’t the only organization that has Pac Man on the brain. In 2010, Google celebrated Pac Man’s 30th anniversary — by unveiling its first ever interactive doodle. Users were able to log in and play Pac Man straight from their home page, which has a lot of similarities to what Pizza Hut is doing right now — now that’s clever nostalgia marketing. Pizza Hut Box Through Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/AR-Technology-and-Applications.jpg] AR TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS What is AR technology and how is it used in the world today? Augmented reality has to do with the creation of an interactive experience having to do with a real-world environment. In augmented reality, objects residing in the real world can be enhanced via computer-generated perceptual information. AR is sometimes utilized across multiple sensory modalities. AR includes elements that are: * Visual * Auditory * Haptic * Somatosensory * Olfactory Augmented reality allows people to superimpose digital content (which can be either images, sounds, text, or some combination of the three) over real-life canvases. Video games have always been synonymous with AR. In 2016 augmented reality received a vast amount of exposure for the Pokémon Go launch, which gave gamers the ability to interact with their Pokémon which were superimposed onto the environment via a smartphone screen. AR is being used in the medical field to help with surgeries as well as the automotive industry and real estate industry with virtual showrooms and virtual open houses, not to mention helping provide enhanced training, even to skilled apprentices. AR is even being used for immersive therapy, which helps individuals with social anxiety get the treatment they need in an environment they are comfortable with and acclimated to. Even though in the past pizza restaurants have primarily focused on the dine-in experience, perhaps Pizza Hut is providing this attraction as a way to bring that same dine-in experience to those who have been enjoying pizza at home. Perhaps there will be a time again when people will flock to the red roofs of Pizza Hut to have a pie or two and play an arcade game (or three). Pizza Hut partnering with Pac Man to bring this limited edition product to market is only the beginning of AR/product collaboration, and AR is set to enhance even the most banal experiences for people all over the world. Sure, not everyone on the planet is going to be able to experience AR as it applies to the medical field, but anyone who has a spare $14.99 (and a craving for hand-tossed dough, marinara, mozzarella, and either veggies and/or meat) can experience for themselves just how far AR has come and get a glimpse at how far its grasp can possibly reach.
Can Augmented Reality Lessen Downtime?
May 3, 2021
Rockwell Automation created a short YouTube video about how augmented reality tools can help reduce downtime of machines and productivity. While the video is geared toward specific products, the company also released an extensive video webinar that was published via Auto.com delving deeper into the use of augmented reality to save time—especially machine downtime. Can augmented reality lessen downtime at work? The short answer is yes. Rockwell Automation gives four reasons in its video on how augmented reality is effective: * “AR doesn’t disrupt existing technology. AR exists in parallel to OT and IT technology, without disrupting existing infrastructure and investments.” * “AR requires a low technical hurdle. With the right tools, subject matter experts can create and refine effective AR content with little to no coding experience.” * “AR can utilize existing digital assets. Repurposed CAD and other digital files created during the design of physical equipment can enrich AR experiences.” * “AR is flexible and extensible. AR experiences can easily be updated to reflect changes to products and procedures. AR is less dependent on translation requirements.” If all this sounds quite like a technological explanation, that’s because it sort of is a technological explanation. The video from Rockwell Automation that was posted to Auto.com is a bit extensive—running for more than 40 minutes. However, it delves into the heart of why augmented reality might be a crucial adaptation for factories and businesses. DOWNTIME IS COSTLY! No video has to explicitly state that downtime is costly. Minutes lost to someone waiting for an answer on how to handle a problem, fix a machine or manage a task can waste billable business hours. Of course, if production is affected, that downtime also could hurt profits. So costly are these incidents that Garvey Conveyers hilariously—and perhaps truthfully—refers to the word downtime as a four letter word. In 2013, Industry Week and Stratus Technologies teamed up for the second Manufacturer IT Applications Study. Frank Hill, with Stratus, revealed the study results to Industry Week. Hill noted that the cost of a downtime incident clocks in at about $17,000, and there might be about seven incidents each year. One of the problems that Hill noted from the results is that while many manufacturers have “traditional backup” for their systems, this isn’t a time efficient solution. Restoring data could take days. Hill explained that companies “…need to make the right technology investments to keep their critical applications up and running.” The solution pointed to technology that was “always on.” How is Augmented Reality Beneficial [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/How-is-Augmented-Reality-Beneficial.jpg] HOW IS AUGMENTED REALITY BENEFICIAL? Hill didn’t specifically mention augmented reality from the study results, but Augmenta explains that augmented reality can help prevent downtime incidents and maximize time efficiency in repairs. Augmented reality technology can prevent incidents by notifying workers of issues before they may become a problem. Think about augmented reality in vehicles. The predictive technology can help pinpoint obstacles on the road and warn drivers about other issues. Machines aren’t so different. Perhaps augmented reality technology could alert an employee that a belt is in need of repair. As Augmenta noted, augmented reality can help employees stop a problem before it becomes a major issue. Repairs also can be aided with the help of augmented reality. Many automobile manufacturers use augmented reality glasses to aid technicians in repair. These glasses show problems and solutions in front of the technician’s eyes. There is no need to stop in the middle of repairs and check a reference guide. Some of these glasses even allow the technician to connect to additional support personnel—hands-free! In the manufacturing environment, augmented reality can keep techs focused on their tasks and save them time during repairs. Perhaps the technology even lets them connect to a help desk, too. In the past, fixing a machine could have required contacting numerous people by phone or consulting a manual. Now technology can simplify the process and save time. THE ADAPTABILITY OF AUGMENTED REALITY For manufacturers and other businesses, augmented reality also could be an adaptable technology. Companies can use existing files for an augmented reality experience, according to Rockwell. For example, the augmented reality program could include data files or information related to repairs or other details. These programs, as Rockwell also noted, can be changed and updated as needed. If something changes, the augmented reality experience can be updated to reflect the new information. Manufacturing Business Technology cites Lockheed Martin’s success with augmented reality. The company builds spaceships, so there is no room for any error. When Lockheed Martin implemented augmented reality for the Space division, the company saw “…a 35-50 percent reduction in overall technician time, a 90-99 percent reduction in the time it takes technicians to interpret drawings and text instructions and an 85 percent reduction in overall time for training.” Augmented reality allowed techs to see instructions and details overlaid on actual aircraft. The visual guidance provided likely meant that the techs didn’t have to reread text or consult with another technician. AUGMENTED REALITY AIDING AUTOMOTIVE In the automotive sector, augmented reality and virtual reality is used to simplify processes and aid in collaboration. Augmented reality also is being used to aid repairs in the industry. Motortrend reported in September that Mercedes Benz technicians are eyeing repairs with HoloLens 2 glasses. The goggles let techs show issues to other experts virtually. The expert can make notes about repairs—they can actually visually note issues on the car to point out the problem. Both the tech and the expert see the engine, and the technology will superimpose arrows or other notes to show issues. The technology doesn’t come cheap to dealers, however. Motortrend reported that the price of the augmented reality experience is $10,000 per dealer. Manufacturers also are using virtual reality as a means of collaborating remotely. Ford used virtual reality during the pandemic to allow executives to discuss design details. With virtual reality, executives could use laser pointers to note any details on the car (which was also a virtual model). Executives also could switch positions with each other to gain a different vantage point. AUGMENTED REALITY AND THE CONSUMER While augmented reality benefits companies and manufacturers by decreasing downtime and aiding in repairs, the technology also has many benefits to consumers. Augmented reality follows consumers each day they drive. Many new car models feature augmented reality within heads-up displays. The most basic form of augmented reality is the rear back-up cameras. The cameras show the real world view behind the car, but the technology also projects grid lines to show drivers their turning radius. Those superimposed gridlines are a hallmark of augmented reality. More advanced heads-up displays, however, are being introduced constantly in new car models. Mercedes Benz introduced the new MBUX Hyperscreen (MBUX stands for Mercedes Benz User Experience). The Hyperscreen is massive at 56 inches and includes voice recognition and augmented reality features. Augmented reality in the car might become even more detailed. While many cars include front and rear cameras or even heads-up displays that feature augmented reality elements (like arrows for navigation), Nissan is working on the ultimate in-car technology. Invisible-to-Visible (I2V) would feature avatars of friends or family to make the ride more enjoyable. However, drivers also could have a professional driver join them (as an avatar) for advice. I2V also would allow for the windows to project bright skies to create a joyful ambiance. Road obstacles and other hazards could be predicted with I2V, and the driver would be alerted ahead of time. Augmented Reality and Consumer Downtime [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Augmented-Reality-and-Consumer-Downtime.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY AND CONSUMER DOWNTIME Downtime in industry terms is related to manufacturing, and while augmented reality can lessen downtime for the manufacturing sector, it also could aid consumers, too. Shopping can be simplified with augmented reality and the technology also can heighten the user experience. Buying cosmetics or clothes can be a guessing game. Sizes vary, and colors don’t look the same on each person. Augmented reality try-on experiences allow consumers to preview their choices before they buy. This can save time for the consumer, but it also could decrease returns for the company. Even car shopping can be simplified with augmented or virtual reality. Online showrooms exist in virtual and augmented reality to help consumers find their ideal car. With augmented reality, users can drop their car of choice into their real-world environment. Virtual reality showrooms can be accessed online or by wearing a virtual reality headset. Both types of showrooms allow users to swap out paint hues and look inside the vehicles. Even home improvement can be simplified with augmented reality. Thinking about painting a bedroom a new hue? Preview the color choices with augmented reality! Some companies let users photograph their room and then superimpose new paint colors to try-on the paint! This can help homeowners decide what hue will complement their décor…and what hues to avoid completely! Downtime is money wasted, both for the consumer and a manufacturer. Augmented reality can have the same time and eliminate downtime. Augmented reality allows technicians to make repairs without pausing to consult a book or an expert. The technology also helps stop accidents before they happen; augmented reality can alert companies that a machine needs a repair or that a part might be failing. The same benefits apply to consumers, too—especially in the car. Augmented reality features in the car could provide additional safety benefits (like a backup camera), and the technology also helps simplify the drive (through graphic directions). Augmented reality also can help consumers while shopping for new clothes, cosmetics or even deciding on a new paint hue. Visualizing choices or instructive content can provide yet another aid to simplify decisions and processes…and save time!
Tim Cook: Augmented Reality is Critical to Apple’s future
April 30, 2021
Google launched several augmented reality experiences for Android users. There’s the new Floom, which lets users peek into the other side of the world via an augmented reality hole or portal that they dig/draw. Sodar lets users draw a perimeter around their bodies (in AR, of course). An augmented reality measuring app provides 3D overlays that measure volume, and an upcoming app can give photos (via Google) an augmented reality upgrade. Google has a host of other augmented reality products, too. Will Apple take a bigger byte out of augmented reality? ZDNET reported on an interview Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, did with Kara Swisher on her podcast. While Cook wouldn’t discuss any details in particular regarding what may or may not be in the pipeline, he did talk about how augmented reality could complement conversations—like his interview–with graphics. In a first quarter earnings call last year, Cook touched on augmented reality, too. “This is the reason I’m so excited about it,” said Cook via the call. “You rarely have a new technology where business and consumer both see it as key to them. So I think the answer is that’s the reason that I think it’s going to pervade your life.” But just how big of a bite will Apple take out of augmented reality? How invested is the company in this particular market segment? Companies—including Apple—don’t often disclose what’s in the works. Technology is a competitive market, and the tight lips likely ensure that all products under development remain incognito to those on the outside…including competitors. Innovation and innovative products are valuable, and Apple has enough experience to know just how valuable their products are to the consumer. Tech sites and publications often speculate about what could be next for Apple. The popular speculation is that Apple could release augmented reality glasses. Other sites have found patent applications from Apple that delve into a mixed reality windshield. While the future of Apple augmented reality products isn’t so clear, there are many ways Apple fans can utilize augmented reality. Apple isn’t a stranger to this technology, and the company has an augmented reality platform. In addition, the App Store is filled with many augmented reality apps that Apple users can explore. While Apple may indeed take a juicy bite out of augmented reality with innovative new products, there are still many augmented reality experiences to explore…and some of them are simply out of this world! Check out these five unusual augmented reality experiences available via the App Store: LightSpace For those who want an app that augments art, get ready to paint in neon lights! LightSpace is an augmented reality app that lets users paint via augmented reality. Apparently—per the description—the app went viral on TikTok. Users can create 3D GIFS! Backyard Apollo AR Place the Apollo Saturn V rocket in the backyard and get ready for launch. With augmented reality, users can see the rocket from different vantage points. solAR System Augmented Reality The app lets users drop the entire solar system anywhere and explore the planets. Zeroing in on a specific planet brings up additional data. Find My Car Can augmented reality help drivers find their car? Apparently, yes it can. The app also lets users set timers so they don’t end up running out the parking meter. Catch Santa AR Augmented reality for the holidays. Santa can drop into any environment. Who said Santa isn’t real? He’s on video with this augmented reality app! Through augmented reality technology, Santa is shown moving in the room and leaving gifts. APPLE & AUGMENTING LAMBORGHINI During Covid, Apple teamed up with Lamborghini to unveil the new Huracán EVO AWD Spyder via augmented reality. The experience required an Apple device with iOS 11. Users could drop the vehicle anywhere in their environment, walk around the car and check out its features. Macrumors reported that Apple’s QuickLook (AR) would be an option for all future Lamborghini vehicles. In the future, visitors to Lamborghini’s site may be able to drop all their cars into a room, a driveway or the garage. Augmented Reality is Critical to Apple [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Augmented-Reality-Glasses-on-the-Market.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES ON THE MARKET Augmented reality glasses seem to be the loud whisper related to Apple products featuring augmented reality. Many sites have been speculating about Apple releasing glasses, but no one really knows what they could look like…or if they will even become a reality. There are, however, several types of augmented reality glasses already on the market. They offer different designs and features…not to mention price points. Epson Moverio Smart Glasses pop up on the company’s business tab. They can be used by businesses for aiding technicians. They also could be used to provide captioning during movies and to provide unique experiences for exhibits and more. Wareable reported that Facebook will have its own smart glasses featuring augmented reality. Per the story, the glasses will be Ray-Bans. A YouTube video from Ray-Ban Films teased the new glasses. No details were leaked via the video, however. Will the glasses be aviators or Wayfarers? Vuzix Blade Upgraded Smart Glasses also feature augmented reality. While some augmented reality products are focused towards business use, the company notes that it can be for business or personal use. Augmented Reality is Critical to Apple [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Augmented-Reality-in-the-Future.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE FUTURE Smart glasses aren’t the only augmented reality infused products on the market, though. While rumors often swirl about Apple’s next big launch, there is one major product that many tech titans seem to be pursuing: autonomous cars! While products like smart glasses can be infused with augmented or virtual reality, the idea of a smart car that is self-driven is really space-age. Several companies are testing robotaxis that are self-driving, and this technology could be the future. But will augmented reality wire into these futuristic cars? Anything is possible. Nissan is developing technology that allows for avatars to join the ride. Invisible to Visible technology also would show drivers obstacles up ahead and even transform the windows to include pleasant skies on dreary days. Avatars with this technology wouldn’t exist in a virtual realm, instead they would sit in the actual car and would exist as a type of augmented reality. Our cars are already infused with augmented reality. Backup cameras, smart rearview mirrors and even GPS systems can project graphic overlays on top of the real world environment. These features might boost the driving experience and might even help reduce fender benders (in the case of backup cameras). Businesses use augmented reality to improve the user experience. Augmented reality can create virtual try-on experiences that let shoppers preview cosmetics, paint hues on walls or even drop furniture into a room. Some augmented reality experiences may even let users try a new hairstyle. Museums also could use augmented reality to create interactive exhibits for visitors. The Smithsonian’s Skin and Bone app can be downloaded onto a device and used to interact with exhibits in the Bone Hall. Users who can’t visit the museum can print out pictures of the exhibits and use the app at home. In the automotive industry, augmented reality is used to provide help to technicians during repairs and to help consumers preview new cars. Glasses show details during the repair and can even communicate with a team of experts in another location. RelayCars offers an augmented reality showroom that lets users drop different cars into their home or other space; they can walk around the vehicle, swap out paint hues and look inside. WHEN WILL APPLE RUMORS BECOME REALITY? The buzz about any possible new Apple products can be deafening. The talk of augmented reality glasses has been swirling for quite some time. Who knows if or even when any type of augmented reality glasses could launch. Tech companies, however, are always developing and innovating. Consumers crave new products, and the excitement over a new phone—whether Apple or Android—or other device shows just how popular new products are to the consumer. When a new phone launches, the old technology becomes old news…perhaps even obsolete. Cameras now deliver crisp and precise images. And many phones are now capable of showcasing augmented reality. In the early aughts, a flip phone was popular and considered high-tech; the cameras weren’t great, texting was a chore…and apps weren’t a thing. Now our handheld devices can launch augmented reality games, apps and experiences. The phones can show videos. Texting can be dictated. So what’s next in the world of augmented reality? From Apple…only the insiders of the company likely know. However, Facebook x Ray Ban is on the horizon. Those Wayfarers might be smart in ways we never knew possible. Will they feature augmented reality? According to a story by The Verge, not so much, as Facebook confirmed to the site that the glasses will not be an AR product. The wait is still on for the next cool pair of augmented reality glasses.
The Art of Augmented Reality
April 28, 2021
Tech platforms and the evolution of technology reverberate across industries. When the smartphone first hit the market, not everyone could invest in its sleek offerings. Yet, today the smartphone has become the norm, and many industries have created apps or other experiences to satiate the smartphone gusto within society. Now mobile devices like the smartphone have evolved to become a gateway to an augmented reality of the world. Marketing success requires evolution—digital evolution. And technology has evolved to create alternate realities—both augmented and virtual. Businesses have learned that the art of augmented reality creates heightened user experiences for the consumer. Museums and artists have also realized that the augmented and virtual worlds may be the gateway to unique forms of expression and a conduit to provide greater outreach to the masses. Covid might have been a game-changer for museums and other cultural institutions. As shelter-in-place mandates affected numerous countries, nonessential businesses likely shut their doors to foot traffic. Museums were not deemed essential. Art galleries and concert venues postponed or cancelled performances or special exhibits. The tourist industry halted. And those iconic museums and cultural institutions that were once prime destinations sat empty. As businesses struggled to survive in a world without foot traffic, these venues also were left trying to find ways to exist when many across the globe were stuck inside their homes. Online experiences might have been the ticket to survival. Businesses that could sell online likely pivoted to this platform. While tourists couldn’t travel, they likely still craved unique experiences. Travel, without the travel. Yet, how could museums hold tours or showcase exhibits without in-person traffic? Museums went virtual! Many included virtual tours online, and some allowed for individuals, groups and families to sign up for personal virtual tours. Cultural venues also might have offered classes online to give bored consumers a unique experience at home. Art of Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Augmenting-Art.jpg] AUGMENTING ART While virtual reality experiences integrated into online sites, there were still issues that museums faced regarding some exhibits. Not every exhibit could translate easily to a virtual tour, especially exhibits that were highly visual or that relied on technology for the full experience. Smithsonian Magazine highlighted how a few museums and artists were using augmented reality to allow art to be showcased at home. Jenny Holzer, whose exhibits include LED signs and light-up quotes featured on the sides of vans, made her You Be My Ally project accessible to anyone at home. An app allowed users to place quotes from the project on a wall…or anywhere they wanted to view it. Serpentine Galleries also embraced augmented reality for an exhibit that was originally meant to be experienced in virtual reality. Artist Cao Fei’s The Eternal Wave could be experienced in the gallery via augmented reality through an app called Acute Art. A small preview of the exhibit could be experienced anywhere. Cuseum allows individuals to bring famous works of art into their home via augmented reality. Museums that partner with Cuseum include The White House Historical Association, Timken Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Center for Creative Photography, Royal Tyrrell Museum, and the North Carolina Museum of Art. CNET reported that Smithsonian museums partnered with Verizon to create augmented reality experiences during Covid. To view the augmented reality exhibits and experiences, CNET explains that users just have to click the camera on their phone and scan the code via Verizon’s virtual museum webpage. Users can choose from multiple exhibits; check out a blue crab, extinct animals, view sculptures and more. After scanning the code of the exhibit of choice, on an iPhone the user will be prompted to open up Yahoo!, and then the augmented reality experience begins! The coolest part? Users can drop the exhibit anywhere in their real-world environment. Explore art and other exhibits from anywhere at home. AUGMENTED ART BEFORE COVID Augmented and virtual reality might have flourished during Covid, but museums and cultural venues were already integrating this technology long before the pandemic. Back in 2017, Smithsonian Magazine profiled five augmented reality experiences at museums: * At the National Museum of Singapore, an exhibit called Story of the Forest included an augmented reality component. Visitors to the museum could use the cameras on their phones to find different plants and animals throughout a massive mural (it’s composed of 69 different works of art) inThe William Farquhar Collection of Natural History. It was a bit like an artistic scavenger hunt. * The Bone Hall at the Smithsonian takes the bones that are exhibited and lets users superimpose skin using augmented reality. Dubbed the “Skin and Bones” exhibit, visitors download an app that lets them place skin on the bones…and see the skeletons (with skin!) move, too. The Skin & Bones app is still available, and, yes, it can be used at home. For individuals at home and unable to visit the real exhibit, the app allows users to print pictures of the bones and use the printed photo for the augmented reality experience. The app also includes information about the animal, videos about the scientists, and more. * The Heroes and Legends exhibit at Kennedy Space Center in Florida lets visitors see a hologram of Gene Cernan over the Gemini 9 capsule. The exhibit also includes narrations by Cernan. * The Jinsha Site Museum in Chengdu, China uses augmented reality to allow visitors to learn more about relics and see the relics in 3D. CGTN highlighted the exhibit and augmented reality experience and how augmented reality allows relics to be translated and explained for visitors to learn more about their significance. “This helps us better understand the reconstruction of the past, the way of life, how people in the past built structures, or the artifacts, how they appeared in this area,” Ramsi Shoocongdej, Associate Professor at Silpakorn University of Thailand, told CGTN. * The last exhibit highlighted by Smithsonian Magazine was England’s Historic Cities. How did augmented reality create memorable experiences in ancient sites across England? Visitors had access to virtual guides who happened to be historical figures. The experience also let visitors view data about different artifacts; each city offers its own unique experiences. In Carlisle, for example, the artifacts open up a story about a Roman Cavalry Officer’s wife. AUGMENTED REALITY TO CREATE ART Technology often bleeds into art, and as the camera allows visual artists to explore and express their creativity in photographs, tech platforms also are an artistic medium. Augmented and virtual reality can serve as surrealistic galleries accessible only through the lens of technology. Art is digital, virtual and augmented. Museums are exploring these media for allowing artists to draw inspiration and create unique works of art in realms beyond the physical. Design Boom reported that Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Snap, Inc. partnered with a group of artists to “create virtual monuments that reflect on history and representation across the city of L.A.” Currently, the exhibit that is part of LACMA x snapchat: monumental perspectives total five monuments that can be viewed via augmented reality using the Snapchat camera. Those interested in viewing the augmented reality exhibits can check them out at LACMA, Macarthur Park, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson Park, and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. LACMA’s augmented reality monuments could lead to other museums and galleries to explore augmented reality or virtual reality as a medium for the creation of art. Could paintings or sculptures soon be displayed in a separate realm? Perhaps virtual galleries infuse into the physical galleries of museums. Blank walls could become superimposed with unique artwork visible via a camera function or an app. Virtual reality experiences are nothing new, and artists may be exploring them as an art form more and more. Technology provides another mode to create and further express artistic ideas. While exhibits could infuse elements of augmented or virtual reality, they also could exist exclusively within these platforms. Art of Augmented Reality [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Museums-Go-Virtual.jpg] MUSEUMS GO VIRTUAL While augmented reality experiences have been utilized by many artists, galleries and museums, virtual reality has provided another doorway through which to access the arts and culture. Not everyone can afford a trip to France or Italy or elsewhere across the globe to visit historic art institutions and landmarks. Virtual reality has allowed museums and other cultural venues to create tours of exhibits that can be enjoyed from anywhere…even from the couch at home. These virtual tours were likely enjoyed often during shelter-from-home mandates during Covid. Yet, even now, as many parts of the world are reopening, virtual tours continue. For those on a limited budget, for those individuals who once felt that the world of arts and culture was closed to them, these virtual tours can serve as an all-access pass to works of art that everyone can experience. Perhaps these virtual and augmented reality experiences serve to equalize the accessibility of experiences that were once enjoyed by the privileged. And through this accessibility, perhaps the power of augmented and virtual reality allows the passion of art to reach a new audience and inspire a new generation of creators.