How Augmented Reality is Used For E-Commerce
Many people associate augmented reality with the gaming industry, but when it comes to this technology, it’s not all fun and games. There are countless ways to use augmented reality, which is why this technology has been embraced by businesses in a wide variety of industries. Augmented reality has been used to enhance the educational experience for students in the classroom. In the automotive industry, manufacturers use it to increase the efficiency of the design and production process. In marketing, brands use augmented reality to grab consumers’ attention and make their advertisements stand out. Because of its popularity, experts predict that the augmented reality market will experience exponential growth over the next several years. In 2017, the value of the global augmented reality market was roughly $3.5 billion. But industry insiders predict that the value of this market will increase to nearly $200 billion by 2025. Much of this growth might be driven by the use of augmented reality in the e-commerce industry. A number of e-commerce brands have recently started to use augmented reality technology to sell to consumers. Now, this technology has the potential to completely disrupt the industry. WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY? Augmented reality is technology that allows users to superimpose various digital elements such as images, videos, and sounds on their real world environment. Unlike virtual reality, it does not transport users to a simulated environment. Instead, it allows users to blend the digital world and real world together. Users can immerse themselves completely into a simulated environment with virtual reality, but with augmented reality, they simply add to their existing world. Perhaps the most well-known example of augmented reality is the Pokemon Go smartphone app. This app was designed as a game where users had to locate, capture, and battle Pokemon characters. Augmented reality technology was used to make it appear that the Pokemon characters were actually in the player’s real world environment. Pokemon Go is one of many games that is powered by augmented reality technology. But now, this technology is also widely used outside of the gaming world, including in the e-commerce industry. HOW DO E-COMMERCE BUSINESSES USE AUGMENTED REALITY? E-commerce companies have come up with many different ways to use augmented reality technology to grow their businesses. Some of the most common ways in which augmented reality is used in e-commerce include: * Preview Placement * Virtual Try-Ons * Virtual Stores * Virtual Showrooms PREVIEW PLACEMENT It’s hard to shop online for certain items, such as home décor or furniture. This is because consumers can’t see the item in person, which makes it more difficult to visualize what the piece will look like in the consumer’s home. However, e-commerce companies can solve this problem with the use of augmented reality technology. How Augmented Reality is Used For E-Commerce [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-230.jpeg] IKEA, the international furniture and accessories retailer, created an app called IKEA Place that is powered by augmented reality technology. Consumers can use this app to project virtual true-to-scale 3D models of different IKEA goods. For example, if you want to see what a specific IKEA couch will look like in your living room, use the app to preview its placement in your home. This way, you can see if the size, color, and style are right for your home. Using augmented reality in this way makes it easier for consumers to shop for products online with confidence. They are less likely to purchase an item that won’t fit or look right since they have the option of previewing its placement prior to buying it. Plus, it saves consumers time after making a purchase. They will no longer need to rearrange the furniture in their home to see how their new purchase looks in different locations. Instead, they can figure all of this out before completing their purchase. VIRTUAL TRY-ONS If consumers shop in brick-and-mortar stores, they can try clothing and cosmetics on before deciding what to buy. In the past, they didn’t have the option of trying these items on when shopping online. But thanks to augmented reality technology, that’s no longer the case. Many retailers now use augmented reality technology to offer virtual try-ons for consumers shopping online. One example is Sephora, a global cosmetics and skincare retailer that developed an augmented reality app solely for this purpose. Using the Sephora Virtual Artist app, consumers can give themselves a virtual makeover. They can browse through different Sephora products and choose which ones to virtually try on. Then, the app will project the selected item onto the consumer’s face. This allows them to try out different shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, and other items before deciding what to purchase. Solstice Sunglasses also uses augmented reality to create a virtual try-on experience for consumers. On its website, the e-commerce company uses augmented reality to allow consumers to virtually try on different pairs of sunglasses and eyeglasses. These are just two examples of the many e-commerce companies that are currently using augmented reality technology for virtual try-ons. VIRTUAL STORES Building a virtual store is one of the more ambitious applications of augmented reality technology, but it has been done before. Airwalk was one of the first companies to launch a virtual store powered by augmented reality technology. The brand created its virtual store to promote the launch of limited edition sneakers, which were popular among skaters and surfers. To access the store, consumers had to visit certain locations such as Washington Square Park and Venice Beach. Then, consumers could use their smartphones to visit the Airwalk app and project a virtual store onto their surroundings. This gave consumers the unique opportunity to shop in a virtual store and purchase the limited edition sneakers before anyone else. How Augmented Reality is Used For E-Commerce [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-231.jpeg] VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS The automotive industry often uses augmented reality technology to create virtual showrooms for their consumers. Using augmented reality technology in this manner gives consumers the opportunity to explore the interior and exterior of a vehicle without visiting a dealership in person. Instead, they can project a digital version of the vehicle onto their real world environment and explore it from the comfort of their own home. Since today’s consumers prefer conducting research on vehicles from home, this is an important tool for every automotive manufacturer to have at its disposal. It’s become even more crucial during the pandemic, which has made consumers hesitant to visit an automotive dealership in-person. HOW CAN E-COMMERCE BUSINESSES BENEFIT FROM USING AUGMENTED REALITY? Every e-commerce business should constantly look for new ways to make the online shopping experience more user-friendly and exciting. Augmented reality has the power to drastically improve the online shopping experience, which is why e-commerce businesses should use it to reach new levels of success. According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of consumers believe that augmented reality improves the online shopping experience. Furthermore, over one-third of consumers surveyed said that augmented reality actually makes them shop online more often. In fact, nearly one-quarter of consumers surveyed said that they would not shop in brick-and-mortar stores as often if more e-commerce sites used augmented reality technology. Another survey found that 70% of consumers believe they would be more loyal to brands that incorporate augmented reality technology into the online shopping experience. This data indicates that consumers are eager for all e-commerce businesses to start using augmented reality technology. Based on these results, it’s clear that e-commerce businesses can use augmented reality to enhance the online shopping experience, improve customer retention rates, and increase sales. E-commerce businesses that fail to use augmented reality could lose customers to other competitors who choose to take advantage of this technology. How Augmented Reality is Used For E-Commerce [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-232.jpeg] WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS TO USING AUGMENTED REALITY IN E-COMMERCE? E-commerce businesses can definitely benefit from using augmented reality, but there are certain barriers that could prevent the widespread adoption of this technology. First, many e-commerce businesses are not aware of the many ways in which augmented reality can be used. This is a fairly new technology, so decision makers at these companies may not fully understand what it is or how it works. Some e-commerce businesses may be hesitant to use augmented reality technology because of its cost. E-commerce businesses must be willing to invest in order to incorporate this into their selling strategy. For example, a clothing retailer that wants to use augmented reality to create a virtual try-on experience must invest in building a website or app that supports this type of technology. The retailer must also invest in marketing this new feature to attract consumers. Many e-commerce businesses may be reluctant to use augmented reality because of the time and money that it takes to get it up and running. Finally, some e-commerce businesses may not think it’s necessary to use augmented reality because they view it as another trend that will eventually pass. However, this is not the case. As previously mentioned, the augmented reality market is expected to experience massive growth over the next few years. The longer e-commerce businesses wait, the further behind they could fall in the competition to attract customers. There’s no doubt that e-commerce businesses may face certain challenges when adopting augmented reality technology. But e-commerce businesses must be committed to overcoming these challenges in order to experience the many benefits of using augmented reality to sell to consumers. In the case of augmented reality for e-commerce, the benefits far outweigh the costs. [https://contentgm.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/content_uploads/App%5CDynamicModules%5CItem/44507/How-AR-is-used-for-e-commerce.png]
Top 7 Augmented Reality Statistics for 2020 [+ Use Cases]
Augmented reality is changing rapidly, and during the Covid pandemic this technology helped businesses adapt from an in-office setup to a work-from-home virtual connectivity. This rise in virtual employment led to the demand for replicating an office at home. But it wasn’t just workers who had to embrace the virtual world. Schools across the country closed, too. Socializing went virtual. When we look at the top augmented reality statistics of 2020, we have to zero in on the role of Covid.Because Covid changed everything this year. Classrooms moved to living rooms or bedrooms. Those without desks at home likely had parents out hunting the stores for workspaces. The need for computers, tablets or laptops surged, too. Social lives changed. For children and for adults. There were no more group meet-ups. Even the dating world had to adapt. After all, how do you date during a pandemic? Especially when bars and other entertainment venues were likely shut or had limited capacity. No one knew who could possibly be a Covid carrier. And this hesitancy, this fear, also likely shaped the way the world moved…or didn’t move. Virtual interactions were safe, though. And, in the need for a reminder of old experiences, people had to find other options that didn’t involve in-person interactions. While virtual tours and other interactive experiences have been around for a while, Covid might have increased their popularity. So what were the top augmented reality trends of 2020? We’ll break down statistics for social, education and the workplace, too. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image.jpeg] AUGMENTING OUR SOCIAL WORLD IN 2020 Augmented reality includes graphic overlays against a real life image, and augmented reality helped make our social world a bit more interesting when few of us could get out of the home. And many of us still may be only socializing with our nearest and dearest—think social pods! During Covid, many Americans augmented their social world. Or embraced virtual experiences. AUGMENTED REALITY GAMING Bored? Many of us were…and many still may be bored out of our minds. Life became pretty monotonous if we didn’t brainstorm new ways to have fun. Video gaming was likely a popular escape. Augmented reality video games could be played with friends, and many kids probably used gaming as a way to stay connected. A study even looked at AR gaming’s effect on both physical and mental health. The study included more than 2,000 participants, and the results were interesting. The study concluded that, “AR games have the potential to promote physical and mental-health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Used by populations under isolation and distress, such games can potentially improve physical and mental health by providing virtual socialization, sustained exercise, temporal routine, and mental structure….” However, the study also noted that more research is needed. While exact game downloads during Covid might not be available, stats taken from Sensor Tower Blog reveal that Pokemon GO has done quite well during 2020: * $1 billion (during 2020) * Player spending increased 11 percent over 2019 These stats were published in early November, so stats for the full year weren’t even available. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has some impressive stats as well; Niantic and WB Games revealed the game’s magical first year statistics as reported by Pocket Gamer: * 10 million downloads on Google Play * Players consumed 850 potions in the game * Players sent 150 million gifts to their friends * Players walked a total of 400 million kilometers * Players took all the glory winning 275 Wizarding Challenges! While many gamers are likely still dealing with limited social interactions, and, therefore, living in the virtual (or augmented) space, 2021 might see those AR gamers head outdoors to play their favorite games. That is, if they have a handheld device! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image-1.jpeg] VIRTUALLY AUGMENTING OUR CULTURAL EXPERIENCES Forget museum visits. Exploring the vast spaces of artwork, science discoveries and history were likely not possible during the pandemic, although some areas didn’t have tight restrictions. Virtual museum tours also were an option (and still are an option). There were many videos on YouTube offering virtual tours of historic locations. Museums, though, were hit with a devastating blow during Covid. According to the United Nations: * 90 percent of museums around the world closed during Covid * 13 percent faced the reality that their doors would shut permanently. In a report titled “Museums, Museum Professionals and Covid 19,” the International Council of Museums reported: * 94.7 percent of museums were closed across the globe * Only 1.1 percent remained open * 92.6 percent of museums in North America were closed * 84 percent reported that staff were working from home * Only 26.1 percent had staff whose full-time job was dedicated to “digital activities.” These activities included virtual tours. * 55.7 percent reported that they had staff for “digital activities,” but that focus wasn’t their full-time job. * As for budgeting for online or digital activities (including communication), more than 35 percent reported that they didn’t know how much of their budget was allocated for this purpose, while more than 23 percent said only between one percent and five percent of the budget was reserved for digital. * More than 33 percent of museums reported they didn’t have online collections * More than 43 percent reported that their online collections remained the same during Covid as before. * Almost 18 percent reported that they offered more online collections after the lockdown * A little more than 4 percent reported that online collections only began after lockdowns * More than 18 percent also reported that offered more live events after lockdown * More than 16 percent reported that they expanded online exhibitions after lockdown [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image-2.jpeg] AUGMENTING OUR COMMUNICATION: WORK, SCHOOL & BEYOND Our social communication dovetails into our work and school communication, too. Why? Many were used to socializing with coworkers on a daily basis. Children socialized with friends at school, during extracurricular activities like sports and in their neighborhoods. Of course, before Covid, most of us took socializing with friends, family and co-workers for granted. During the worst of the pandemic—and perhaps even now—many Americans are still limiting their social face-to-face interactions. The mask is the norm. So is social distancing. What kept students, teachers, co-workers, friends and families communicating during this crazy time? What helped replicate face-to-face interactions without the worry of spreading a virus? The screen! Most importantly, and most prominently, digital conferencing platforms like Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Marco Polo and so many more! The choices of platforms were plentiful, but so were all the fun options. Who wanted to look like they were actually at home? That was too boring! Instead, many embraced augmented reality. All those cool background choices like the beach? And those quirky crazy filters? Yes, that was augmented reality in your day-to-day communications. How much did American use these platforms during Covid? Here’s some stats from Statista: * In March, Skype had more than 59 million daily users * Zoom had more than 27 million downloads in March Back in May, Ipsos surveyed more than 1,000 adults (over age 18) for the Mozilla Foundation and offered even more data related to our videoconferencing habits related to lockdown: * Almost 60 percent use these virtual conferencing either for their job or just to socialize * Almost ¾ of young adults (defined as 18-34) use these platforms * 85 percent reported that they will use videoconferencing after the lockdowns * 54 percent expressed concerns about their home being on view (privacy issues) * Zoom was the favorite platform (66 percent!) Those who were unpartnered or who didn’t feel comfortable quarantining with a partner might have had to rely on virtual dates, too. If those meet-ups happened via platforms like Zoom or Skype, maybe couples had unique backgrounds to make those dates a bit more adventurous. Set the mood with a beach or maybe a romantic forest! Or choose something quirky? Virtual dates were a reality in 2020, and augmented reality likely played a part, too. A NEW YEAR: AUGMENTED REALITY IN 2021 In March, lockdowns began in many parts of the U.S. Since that time, many have remained working from home and using teleconferencing platforms to stay in touch with colleagues, managers, friends, relatives and, of course, teachers. Students may have started back to in-person learning only to head back home, some might have never returned to school. Others may be enjoying life in the classroom again. Others might be using even more augmented reality in the classroom…or at home for the classroom. Covid threw our lives into a completely different world. Looking ahead, will augmented reality continue to be a part of our lives? Or will we once again go back to the face-to-face normal? Ipsos’ survey revealed that most people would continue using virtual platforms. And some businesses could embrace work-from-home as the standard. While the pivot to a virtual workplace may have been strange for many, it did perhaps start to feel normal. Could businesses keep workers at the home office? Perhaps. Augmented reality gaming has been around for years; Pokemon GO has been popular since its release several years ago. The rise of AR gaming during the pandemic may actually have had benefits, too. When socialization wasn’t an option, the augmented world allowed gamers to experience something different. Maybe they mixed potions, found Pokemon, built augmented worlds or ran from zombies. But they could socialize. And get moving. Museums will once again open up. Although when that happens may be the big question mark. Some may be open now…depending on the area and the restrictions. Looking ahead, though, there will be a day when the old normal becomes the new normal once again. But what that looks like is really the greatest unknown of the post-pandemic future. Who knows what trends will stay, what ones will be left in the dust and what new technology could emerge.
Why Does Virtual Reality Make Some People Feel Sick?
For some, it is surprising that virtual reality ends up making some people sick. After all, virtual experiences between friends are meant to be fun and a way to escape from reality. Yet, the sickness caused is very real for those who suffer. The impact on a person can range from a mild headache to a total blackout. The problem is, most people don’t know if they’ll be affected until they try. Only those with related conditions impacted by lights or rapid visual movements are likely to have any awareness of the potential of feeling unwell from virtual reality games or experiences. Motion sickness is commonly known about throughout the world, particularly in regards to boats and cars. Seasickness is often largely triggered by the rocking motion of the boat and not much can be done to help the person feel ‘balanced’ (although some say that looking at the horizon can help). Almost all car drivers will at some point in life experience someone being sick in their car from motion sickness, while not the end of the world, it can be embarrassing for the person and also a cleaning nightmare for the owner. The simple truth is that some people are more sensitive to motion and balance changes than others. There are sometimes fixes, but for those that suffer, this sensation can completely ruin a boat trip or virtual reality experience that was intended to be some fun times with family and friends. So, here we look at what causes this phenomenon and some ways that it can be reduced in order for everyone to be able to enjoy the wonders that virtual reality has to offer. VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES CAN INDUCE REAL VOMIT EXPERIENCES It is known by manufacturers that certain conditions can be triggered by virtual reality headsets. For example, the makers of the Oculus Rift headset clearly state: “Some people (about 1 in 4000) may have severe dizziness, seizures, eye or muscle twitching or blackouts” This is regardless of whether a person has had a previous issue, although that would certainly increase the likelihood that they could be one of the ones affected. One person in four thousand doesn’t sound like a lot, but let’s put that into perspective: Approximate population of the USA: 331,000,000 1/4000 of that population means that in the USA alone 82,750 people could be affected by virtual reality devices. In many cases, this is triggered by either the sensation of movement that isn’t matching what the body is sensing or by light flashes or patterns that trigger a feeling of nausea, dizziness, seizures, or even total blackouts. Fortunately, for most without serious issues such as epilepsy, many would only experience temporary discomfort from the virtual experience. But, the risk of something serious occurring increases if people play for extended periods, so be sure to take breaks! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-148.jpeg] WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY MOTION SICKNESS? Motion sickness is caused by the sensation of movement, normally when using transport such as boats, cars, trains, etc. However, in virtual reality, the user isn’t moving. So, how can virtual reality possibly trigger motion sickness? Well, virtual reality is quite a unique experience for the body. Our bodies and brains crave balance, and in general, that’s exactly what happens with our senses working in synergy. In the normal world, our senses work together and provide feedback on what is happening. However, in a virtual world, what is happening is often quite different from what our senses tell us. We could be in a boat or on a rollercoaster in the virtual world but are simply standing in the living world in the real world. It has been suggested that the cause of sickness is because the brain interprets the ‘incorrect signals’ from the body (as the real world senses don’t match virtual world effects) as intoxication. It possibly assumes that a person ate something poisonous or that the body is ill in some way, resulting in the feeling of nausea. Others have also suggested that lags in response times between a real-world action and it happening virtually could be the reason. The truth, however, is that no one really knows yet but that it is a real problem for those who suffer the effects. Many believe that it is this crossover of senses that lead to people feeling sick. Our balance is telling us that we are stationary, but our eyesight and hearing are telling us that we are moving differently in the virtual adventure. It confuses the brain for some people and causes different reactions, of which nausea is a common effect. This is often referred to as simulator sickness or cybersickness. Wearing the headset can cause other discomforts, with rapid flashing lights and high-speed games, people can suffer from headaches, sore eyes, blurred vision, and other aspects that can also contribute to the feeling of nausea. Anyone experiencing these feelings should take a break. While the symptom might be ‘ignorable’ to some degree, it could also be an early indication that a person is sensitive to virtual reality and it isn’t worth risking a seizure or blackout just to finish a level in a game. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-149.jpeg] HOW TO PLAY VIRTUAL REALITY GAMES WITHOUT FEELING SICK While not perfect or instant cures, there are many ways to reduce the effects of virtual reality sickness. The idea is to try and get the body to adjust to the virtual experiences, without the person pushing their limits and causing further or more serious issues. Consider trying games with other supporting devices. Driving games with a car seat that moves in response to the game or other interaction assists like virtual gloves can help senses connect more with the virtual world. Another approach is to try playing while sitting down. Some games even have an option for this. The benefit is multifold, as firstly the user’s brain has the comfort of knowing that they are seated, the game can match what they are feeling in the real world, and of course, they can’t fall over easily and hurt themselves. Finally, a breeze often helps those on boats and who get sick in cars. One of the first responses to motion sickness is to open a window or get up on deck. The breeze really can help a person feel better and is easily created at home with a fan. Of course, users can combine all of the above solutions as well. Start with games that are sitting compatible, have a fan near the game area (don’t make the breeze too strong), and maybe include some other devices that stimulate the senses and distract the brain from the real world sensory inputs. Preparation can also play a factor in how people feel. If playing a game after a night of drinking, even the most hardcore virtual reality gamers could end find themselves feeling a little green. So, once someone knows that they are sensitive, they should consider: Stay energized with snacks or a meal before gaming Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water Try motion sickness medication Stop playing if symptoms start to get worse [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-150.jpeg] CAN VIRTUAL REALITY PROVIDERS HELP FIX THE ISSUE? Virtual reality is mostly used for gaming and training at the moment. While some other uses are developing in industries, such as designing automobiles for manufacturing or virtual car showrooms, a lot of the virtual reality industry’s revenue is earned from education and entertainment. Regardless of the source of income, most of these uses are not ‘required’. They are not a necessity where users are likely to be willing to endure feeling sick to use virtual reality, unlike using a car or ferry as a part of traveling somewhere. Because of this, it is important that producers of virtual reality headsets also have a focus on making it usable by as many people as possible, if not everyone. As lag has been highlighted as an important factor in causing nausea, manufactures can look to increase refresh rates as much as possible. This would help to reduce the lag in games and also to provide a smoother and more realistic experience. This could also be combined with devices that allow the user to experience the ‘real’ sensory feelings of the virtual world. Devices such as treadmills that allow people to walk and run in the real world to control the virtual world. These devices could also tilt or adjust to fit the landscape. Sensory suits may also help, but the full effect of all of this is yet to be tested much, due to the present high costs of such devices. So, for those that suffer, at least for now, mixed reality or augmented reality headsets could be the best solution. Allowing fun virtual elements in the real world, and thus, overcoming a lot of the sensory conflicts caused by full virtual reality experiences.
The New York Times & Facebook Announce Augmented Reality Driven Partnership
People often associate augmented reality technology with the gaming industry, but the truth is that this technology is used in many other industries as well. Augmented reality has been embraced by businesses in various industries, including healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, and retail. Now, it seems media companies may also be ready to use this technology to enhance the consumer experience and grow their businesses. The New York Times recently announced a multi-year partnership with Facebook to create “augmented reality driven reporting.” The two companies will work together to develop a series of augmented reality filters and effects that will be available to users on Instagram. The goal of this project is to help Instagram users connect with and gain a deeper understanding of The New York Times’ journalism. A HISTORY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NEW YORK TIMES AND FACEBOOK The fact that The New York Times and Facebook are working together may come as a surprise to some, given the rocky relationship that the two companies have had over the years. In 2017, Facebook launched Instant Articles, a feature designed to help media companies create fast, interactive stories that could be published directly on the social media website. The New York Times was one of countless other media companies to participate in the launch of this new feature. But it was also one of the first companies to pull out after coming to the conclusion that it was a one-sided deal that did not benefit the publisher. This isn’t the only time that Facebook and The New York Times haven’t seen eye-to-eye. The former CEO of The New York Times, Mark Thompson, lashed out at Facebook in 2018. Thompson criticized Facebook’s policies that characterized certain news stories as political or partisan content. The CEO argued that this policy failed to recognize the difference between politics and reporting on politics, which in his opinion, was harmful to journalism as a whole. Facebook may not have been responsive to these criticisms at the time, but recently, the company has taken a new interest in forging strong relationships with media companies. Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company was committed to doing a better job of supporting journalism. This partnership with The New York Times marks a step in the right direction if the company still wants to achieve this goal. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-100.jpeg] HOW WILL THE AUGMENTED REALITY PROJECT COME TO LIFE? Launching this augmented reality project has truly been a team effort for Facebook and The New York Times. The publisher’s in-house advertising agency, T Brand, has incorporated augmented reality technology into promotional campaigns in the past. But The New York Times did not turn to the T Brand team for assistance with this project. Instead, The New York Times created an Augmented Reality Lab within the company’s research and development unit to bring this project to life. The Augmented Reality Lab is operated by more than a dozen employees of The New York Times. The team at the Augmented Reality Lab are responsible for developing the filters and effects that will be used on Instagram. The filters and effects will be created using Spark AR Studio, which is a platform for developers that is owned and operated by Facebook. The teams from Facebook and The New York Times will collaborate throughout every step of the development process. Facebook will be working closely with the Augmented Reality Lab team to help them understand the best ways to utilize Spark AR Studio technology. In return, the Augmented Reality Lab team will provide Facebook with feedback on what features to add to Spark AR Studio and how to improve the overall user experience. Even though this project is a partnership, The New York Times has made it very clear that its staff will remain in full control of the editorial content featured on Instagram. This means Facebook will not have a hand in creating the content that is paired with these augmented reality effects and filters. Furthermore, The New York Times will have full control over the design of the effects and filters. In addition to allowing The New York Times to use its Spark AR Studio technology, Facebook will also be providing financial support to this project. However, the terms of the agreement have not been made public, so the amount of money that Facebook is investing into this project is unclear. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-101.jpeg] HOW WILL THE AUGMENTED REALITY PARTNERSHIP AFFECT THE USER EXPERIENCE? The augmented reality effects and filters developed by The New York Times will create a more exciting and engaging user experience for consumers. The full catalog of augmented reality effects and filters will be available on the @NYTimes Instagram page. To see the complete collection of effects and filters, users will simply need to visit the “effects” tab on the @NYTimes account page. By tapping on an effect or filter, users will be able to read small snippets of information about current events. The small snippets of information will be superimposed over backdrops created using augmented reality technology. For example, a user who visits the @NYTimes Instagram account may see that the first story found on the “effects” tab is related to air pollution. If the user taps on this story, they will be able to read small snippets of information regarding how the levels of air pollution have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. These snippets will be superimposed over an augmented reality backdrop that shows polluted air in a major city. In addition to simply viewing the effects and filters in this manner, users can also overlay the effects and filters onto their own images and videos to share with their followers. This gives users the opportunity to create their own unique content using The New York Times’ augmented reality technology. Plus, it is an easy way for users to share information on newsworthy topics with their followers. Neither The New York Times nor Facebook has discussed how many effects and filters will be created as part of this partnership. But The New York Times has revealed that the first group of effects and filters that will be available will be related to air pollution, the California wildfires, and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS PARTNERSHIP? The New York Times could benefit from this partnership with Facebook in a number of ways. First, The New York Times hopes that this will make journalism—and staying on top of current events in general—more exciting and appealing to consumers who otherwise would not be exposed to these topics. Encouraging users to create their own unique content and share it with their followers is a great way to introduce The New York Times to new consumers on Instagram. The publisher also hopes that the augmented reality effects and filters will help consumers connect with news stories in a more meaningful way. The technology has the power to transport consumers to another world and allow them to see what the story is about for themselves. They won’t have to visualize the devastating effects of the California wildfires, for example. Instead, the technology will help them see it with their own eyes in a way that photographs and video footage simply cannot. As a result, these news stories may have more of an impact on users. The partnership also solidifies The New York Times’ position as one of the most innovative companies in the news industry. Throughout the years, The New York Times has experimented with virtual and augmented reality on a smaller scale. But this project sends a clear message to competitors that The New York Times is not afraid to go big or go home when it comes to incorporating new technologies into their marketing strategies. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-102.jpeg] WHY IS THE NEW YORK TIMES AND FACEBOOK AUGMENTED REALITY PARTNERSHIP IMPORTANT? As previously mentioned, The New York Times has dabbled in the use of augmented reality technology in the past. But this augmented reality partnership with Facebook is noteworthy for three reasons. First, this partnership represents a massive expansion of the use of augmented reality technology in the media industry. Expanding the use of this technology in the media industry could introduce countless consumers to augmented reality for the very first time. This could drive substantial growth in the global augmented reality market in the years ahead. Second, The New York Times only used augmented reality technology on its own website in the past. This project marks the first time that The New York Times will publish content enhanced by augmented reality technology on other websites. By publishing this enhanced content on Instagram, The New York Times could transform the way that social media users consume news stories and other content. Finally, the partnership could help bring the tech industry and publishing industry closer together. If this partnership is successful, other media companies may be more inclined to work with tech companies to incorporate innovative technologies into the products and services offered to consumers. It’s too early to evaluate the success of this project, but The New York Times remains hopeful. In fact, the publisher stated that they hope to be able to create countless other filters for the Instagram platform in the future. But regardless of the outcome, this project is yet another example of how companies are using augmented reality to create a more positive consumer experience and grow their business.
The New York Times & Facebook Announce Augmented Reality Driven Partnership
People often associate augmented reality technology with the gaming industry, but the truth is that this technology is used in many other industries as well. Augmented reality has been embraced by businesses in various industries, including healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, and retail. Now, it seems media companies may also be ready to use this technology to enhance the consumer experience and grow their businesses. The New York Times recently announced a multi-year partnership with Facebook to create “augmented reality driven reporting.” The two companies will work together to develop a series of augmented reality filters and effects that will be available to users on Instagram. The goal of this project is to help Instagram users connect with and gain a deeper understanding of The New York Times’ journalism. A HISTORY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NEW YORK TIMES AND FACEBOOK The fact that The New York Times and Facebook are working together may come as a surprise to some, given the rocky relationship that the two companies have had over the years. In 2017, Facebook launched Instant Articles, a feature designed to help media companies create fast, interactive stories that could be published directly on the social media website. The New York Times was one of countless other media companies to participate in the launch of this new feature. But it was also one of the first companies to pull out after coming to the conclusion that it was a one-sided deal that did not benefit the publisher. This isn’t the only time that Facebook and The New York Times haven’t seen eye-to-eye. The former CEO of The New York Times, Mark Thompson, lashed out at Facebook in 2018. Thompson criticized Facebook’s policies that characterized certain news stories as political or partisan content. The CEO argued that this policy failed to recognize the difference between politics and reporting on politics, which in his opinion, was harmful to journalism as a whole. Facebook may not have been responsive to these criticisms at the time, but recently, the company has taken a new interest in forging strong relationships with media companies. Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company was committed to doing a better job of supporting journalism. This partnership with The New York Times marks a step in the right direction if the company still wants to achieve this goal. The New York Times & Facebook Announce Augmented Reality Driven Partnership [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-242.jpeg] HOW WILL THE AUGMENTED REALITY PROJECT COME TO LIFE? Launching this augmented reality project has truly been a team effort for Facebook and The New York Times. The publisher’s in-house advertising agency, T Brand, has incorporated augmented reality technology into promotional campaigns in the past. But The New York Times did not turn to the T Brand team for assistance with this project. Instead, The New York Times created an Augmented Reality Lab within the company’s research and development unit to bring this project to life. The Augmented Reality Lab is operated by more than a dozen employees of The New York Times. The team at the Augmented Reality Lab are responsible for developing the filters and effects that will be used on Instagram. The filters and effects will be created using Spark AR Studio, which is a platform for developers that is owned and operated by Facebook. The teams from Facebook and The New York Times will collaborate throughout every step of the development process. Facebook will be working closely with the Augmented Reality Lab team to help them understand the best ways to utilize Spark AR Studio technology. In return, the Augmented Reality Lab team will provide Facebook with feedback on what features to add to Spark AR Studio and how to improve the overall user experience. Even though this project is a partnership, The New York Times has made it very clear that its staff will remain in full control of the editorial content featured on Instagram. This means Facebook will not have a hand in creating the content that is paired with these augmented reality effects and filters. Furthermore, The New York Times will have full control over the design of the effects and filters. In addition to allowing The New York Times to use its Spark AR Studio technology, Facebook will also be providing financial support to this project. However, the terms of the agreement have not been made public, so the amount of money that Facebook is investing into this project is unclear. The New York Times & Facebook Announce Augmented Reality Driven Partnership [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-243.jpeg] HOW WILL THE AUGMENTED REALITY PARTNERSHIP AFFECT THE USER EXPERIENCE? The augmented reality effects and filters developed by The New York Times will create a more exciting and engaging user experience for consumers. The full catalog of augmented reality effects and filters will be available on the @NYTimes Instagram page. To see the complete collection of effects and filters, users will simply need to visit the “effects” tab on the @NYTimes account page. By tapping on an effect or filter, users will be able to read small snippets of information about current events. The small snippets of information will be superimposed over backdrops created using augmented reality technology. For example, a user who visits the @NYTimes Instagram account may see that the first story found on the “effects” tab is related to air pollution. If the user taps on this story, they will be able to read small snippets of information regarding how the levels of air pollution have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. These snippets will be superimposed over an augmented reality backdrop that shows polluted air in a major city. In addition to simply viewing the effects and filters in this manner, users can also overlay the effects and filters onto their own images and videos to share with their followers. This gives users the opportunity to create their own unique content using The New York Times’ augmented reality technology. Plus, it is an easy way for users to share information on newsworthy topics with their followers. Neither The New York Times nor Facebook has discussed how many effects and filters will be created as part of this partnership. But The New York Times has revealed that the first group of effects and filters that will be available will be related to air pollution, the California wildfires, and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS PARTNERSHIP? The New York Times could benefit from this partnership with Facebook in a number of ways. First, The New York Times hopes that this will make journalism—and staying on top of current events in general—more exciting and appealing to consumers who otherwise would not be exposed to these topics. Encouraging users to create their own unique content and share it with their followers is a great way to introduce The New York Times to new consumers on Instagram. The publisher also hopes that the augmented reality effects and filters will help consumers connect with news stories in a more meaningful way. The technology has the power to transport consumers to another world and allow them to see what the story is about for themselves. They won’t have to visualize the devastating effects of the California wildfires, for example. Instead, the technology will help them see it with their own eyes in a way that photographs and video footage simply cannot. As a result, these news stories may have more of an impact on users. The partnership also solidifies The New York Times’ position as one of the most innovative companies in the news industry. Throughout the years, The New York Times has experimented with virtual and augmented reality on a smaller scale. But this project sends a clear message to competitors that The New York Times is not afraid to go big or go home when it comes to incorporating new technologies into their marketing strategies. The New York Times & Facebook Announce Augmented Reality Driven Partnership [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-244.jpeg] WHY IS THE NEW YORK TIMES AND FACEBOOK AUGMENTED REALITY PARTNERSHIP IMPORTANT? As previously mentioned, The New York Times has dabbled in the use of augmented reality technology in the past. But this augmented reality partnership with Facebook is noteworthy for three reasons. First, this partnership represents a massive expansion of the use of augmented reality technology in the media industry. Expanding the use of this technology in the media industry could introduce countless consumers to augmented reality for the very first time. This could drive substantial growth in the global augmented reality market in the years ahead. Second, The New York Times only used augmented reality technology on its own website in the past. This project marks the first time that The New York Times will publish content enhanced by augmented reality technology on other websites. By publishing this enhanced content on Instagram, The New York Times could transform the way that social media users consume news stories and other content. Finally, the partnership could help bring the tech industry and publishing industry closer together. If this partnership is successful, other media companies may be more inclined to work with tech companies to incorporate innovative technologies into the products and services offered to consumers. It’s too early to evaluate the success of this project, but The New York Times remains hopeful. In fact, the publisher stated that they hope to be able to create countless other filters for the Instagram platform in the future. But regardless of the outcome, this project is yet another example of how companies are using augmented reality to create a more positive consumer experience and grow their business.
Training Employees for Automotive Assembly Using Augmented Reality Apps
Although the use of virtual reality and augmented reality training isn’t restricted to the vehicle assembly line, it is a good example of how these technologies are changing our approaches to learning real-world skills. In the past, education would often follow a standard pattern of studying the theory and then applying the practical use on the job or under supervised scenarios. While this has, to some degree, worked for decades, there is a better way. With automotive augmented reality training, there is no need for these learning processes to be separated. It can be a smooth transition from learning the theory, to seeing how it works, and practicing. All of this is also done in a safe virtual environment, reducing risks and costs for employers. A lot of new employees (and their supervisors) can experience high levels of stress when the ‘on the job’ training starts. This is mainly due to the possibility that something serious could go wrong, halting production, or even causing an injury. With Augmented reality, the training can begin in the virtual world, and that training support can even be overlaid onto the real world. This helps to increase confidence and avoid issues. It allows new staff to practice to their heart’s content until they feel confident enough to take on the job for real. In this article, we take a look at the many areas augmented and virtual training can improve for automotive processes. HOW CAN AUGMENTED REALITY BE USED IN TRAINING FOR THE ASSEMBLY LINE? Virtual reality and augmented reality allow staff to practice and fully develop complex skill sets in the safety of a harmless virtual environment. This makes it a useful way of training staff for almost any job but is particularly effective for automotive production training. Many major car manufacturers have already jumped on this training approach, including famous brands like Volkswagen and Audi. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-55.jpeg] CASE STUDY BMW wanted to improve its training program, and so contacted Capgemini. The aim was to get people trained up faster and to a high standard, but without needing additional staff commitments or delays in other areas. The solution was an AR training app that “provided employees with access to individual, hands-on dashboard assembly practice before being put into the assembly line”. It resulted in impressive benefits, such as reducing costs, reducing training times, improving staff job satisfaction, and more. The app was also created to be easily updated and expandable, allowing for more BMW training programs to be developed. DEEPENING UNDERSTANDINGS Learning from books is all very well and good, but augmented reality can almost literally bring learning to life. The 2D diagrams and explanations in books are helpful, but with augmented reality, people can see the ‘real’ objects and interact with them in a quite natural way. Being able to move, pull apart, or even ‘explode’ and object into its individual parts can give a much deeper understanding of it. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-56.jpeg] If advanced enough, augmented reality apps can also allow students what happens when things are not aligned properly, or if parts of the process are skipped. This not only shows them how things work but why every part of the process is important. Being able to see how everything fits together and works is more of a fun and interactive experience, which in turn leads to better knowledge retention in many students/employees. SAFETY The main and most obvious impact on safety is the ability for trainees to be able to practice potentially dangerous tasks in a safe virtual environment. This makes the transition to ‘on the job’ practice less daunting and reduces risk significantly. VXCHNGE points out that “The factory floor has always been a complex and potentially hazardous environment, but AR technology could provide a new level of visibility.” This is good for employers and staff, as fewer injuries result in less time off work and less expense on legal claims or compensation. Fewer claims can also result in lowered insurance premiums. However, virtual training can also help to improve safety in other ways, such as practicing the procedures of worst-case scenarios. This enables staff to be prepared, without the need to shut down a facility or machine to practice the process. COST REDUCTIONS We mentioned above that a safer environment could result in reduced premiums, but there are also plenty of other cost savings. New staff can practice as much as they need, without taking up more time or focus from supporting staff members, as AR apps handle the training process. Staff working with objects or materials do not need raw materials and resources to train. Materials normally required to train staff will largely no longer be needed, such as engine parts or panels that would be required to practice on. The equipment is also not taken out of service for practice purposes, or the company doesn’t need additional equipment to be held aside purely for practice. As staff get to practice virtually as they need, and can even get augmented support on the job, mistakes are reduced. Fewer mistakes lead to fewer production issues and lowered training costs. TRAINING EFFICIENCY Whether augmented or virtual reality is used, this immersive training approach improves training consistency and retention. Once the apps are developed, the training is standardized. However, the experiences within the training are also highly personal, as each person can learn from their own mistakes and practice whatever they need to focus on. It has been proven that virtual reality training programs lead to higher knowledge retention levels. The University of Maryland studied this in regards to virtual reality learning and found above a 90% retention rate, which is far higher than most traditional training approaches. This was put into content by pixovr.com who summed up the findings in the statement: “At 90+ percent recall, VR training would score in the A-range, while desktop computer training, at a shade below 79 percent, would be stuck back in the C’s” This is because learning is more engaging, interactive, and literally ‘hands-on’. However, should a staff member start to forget or feel unsure about something, with augmented reality training available, it is easy for them to brush up on their skills without needing to interrupt other staff members. What’s more, training programs and ‘refreshers’ can easily be created and updated, allowing for the latest knowledge to be on hand and easily accessible. It can also be interactive, with staff from anywhere training with other staff members. This can be useful for collaboration or international business training programs. All of this helps to create a consistently educated and trained workforce, increasing confidence, and lowering stress levels. Gamification of training can even make it fun, more rewarding, and far less stressful than learning on a live assembly line. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-57.jpeg] INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY Another positive aspect of augmented reality training is that it isn’t limited to only being in the classroom. Augmented reality can be continued to be used on live systems, or ongoing with the correct headset. It can add information and ‘advice’ to real-world equipment, used in the development of processes, and for assisting with new scenarios. Augmented reality, for example, could be used to not only plan the layout of an entire automotive factory or assembly line but to also actually test that the designs work and see how effective it would be once operational. All of this, before needing to spend anything on materials or machinery. The advanced high-level cameras used can also assist with the production process, highlighting where something could go or even if there is a malformation in a part that has just been produced. Collaboration can be from anywhere in the world, allowing effective discussions, planning, and practicing implementation virtually by any employees, regardless of where they work in the world. As far as making announcements is concerned, it can be as effective as mobile messaging, except that the recipients do not need to stop what they are doing and everyone wearing a device will get the message. Even maintenance can be notified and lesser skilled or new employees guided through the process step-by-step virtually, ensuring machinery keeps running to optimum efficiency. From providing tips and info to highlighting dangerous defects, augmented reality can improve efficiency significantly in both training and the live workplace. In effect, training can be a continuous augmented reality assisted process. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-58.jpeg] WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF VIRTUAL REALITY OR AUGMENTED REALITY FOR TRAINING? To summarize the aspects listed above and more benefits of virtual technology in training, the key takeaways are: * Courses are not only standardized (instead of relying on different staff), they are also highly focussed and interactive * Augmented reality and virtual reality incorporates numerous learning approaches, making them compatible and attention-grabbing for most people * Learning is more fun than with only using books, especially when augmented reality tasks are gamified * Training is often faster and yet also more beneficial to trainees * Trainees feel more comfortable and more confident, as they can practice activities as many times as they need * Retention of materials learned is increased * For some jobs, this can even lead to muscle memory retention, allowing staff to work almost instinctively after training and without being on the assembly line prior * Training can be undertaken as an individual or with other staff locally or from any other locations * Training is safer for all * Performance is tracked and feedback can be provided remotely, whether virtually or written * Costs are reduced by allowing skilled staff to continue working while allowing new staff to fully train in a virtual manner * Costs are continually reducing as more developers move into the field and hardware prices continue to become more mainstream affordable * Easily accessible via any compatible device, often including augmented reality headsets and even compatible mobile phones * There is no need to wait for a disaster, or to shut down machinery when worst-case situations can be rehearsed virtually The possibilities of augmented reality training apps for the automotive assembly line are still unfolding. However, it is clear that this approach is effective and that it is likely to be adopted in many other sections, including outside of this sector.
Augmented Reality in Automotive Safety Features to Drive the Future
Augmented reality is jumping into the driver’s seat and positioned to dominate the auto industry. Currently, virtual reality is used to showcase vehicle features in e-showrooms throughout the internet, and the technology allows consumers to take virtual test drives of new cars. Augmented reality safety features will be the future of the automotive industry, with new makes/models displaying smart capabilities that detect potential threats to keep drivers safer on the road…and in parking lots, too. The concept of virtual or augmented reality is understood by many to be a world or space that is separate from reality and our world. While this definition is true as it relates to virtual showrooms (to view cars) or virtual test drives, not all VR is inherently unreal. SAFETY FEATURES THAT ALREADY INTEGRATE AUGMENTED REALITY Augmented reality’s future in the automotive industry is becoming more prominent; in fact, AR is already in many of our cars—whether we realize it or not. Here are some of the common safety features in current automobiles that already integrate augmented reality. AUTOMATIC STOP Today’s new makes/models may feature automatic stop capabilities when a threat (like a person, animal or other car) is detected while the car is in reverse. This feature is a form of virtual reality. The car is programmed to automatically react to the threat of a presence. The result is fewer accidents and injuries. The car, however, and its virtual intelligence is in charge…not the human behind the wheel. SPEED LIMIT SENSORS Yes, all cars have the ability to track your speed; speedometers are nothing new. What is new are speed sensors that actually pick up the speed limit in every area you are driving. Changing speed limits are not uncommon, especially as drivers pass into new cities or municipalities. Speed limit sensors will notify drivers of the speed limit in that area, and this feature ensures that, hopefully, drivers slow down to obey the changing speed regulations. LANE GUIDANCE Some cars have integrated lane guidance capabilities into their safety features. This allows drivers to understand their lane navigation. This feature may be even more beneficial during night driving, when lane visibility may be more limited. SMART REAR VIEW MIRRORS Night driving also can be difficult because visibility through the rearview mirror may be poor. New vehicles now include ‘smart’ rearview mirrors that are programmed to access the back-up camera; this feature provides drivers with a clear view of the road (and automobiles) behind them. REAR AND FRONT CAMERAS Accidents can happen on the road or in the parking lot (pulling in too close to a post). AR technology now can limit the potential for little (or big) fender benders and accidents nearly everywhere. Cameras located around the car are connected to sensors throughout the body of the vehicle. When a threat is detected that could result in an accident, the car will beep or, in the case of a vehicle programmed to do so, stop completely. Screens within the dashboard also allow drivers to visualize their turning radius and see all areas of their surrounding environment, further limiting the potential for an accident. SMART DISPLAYS In most modern vehicles, a smart display is a standard feature. This, too, is yet another form of automotive safety AR. The display alerts drivers of their mileage, fuel levels, oil life, tire pressure and any other safety issue that could affect the car or the driving experience. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-14.jpeg] THE FUTURE OF AUGMENTED REALITY SAFETY FEATURES Augmented reality is integrated into many modern vehicles, but there is much potential for growth for this technology sector. Here is a look at what the future may hold for augmented reality in the automotive industry: NISSAN’S INVISIBLE-TO-VISIBLE TECHNOLOGY Nissan addresses the future of augmented reality safety features and the new advances on the horizon for the automotive industry.So what’s next in augmented reality? Nissan discusses invisible-to-visible technology, which is a form of AR “that merges the real world and virtual world to make information visible which the driver would not otherwise see.” This new technology allows for drivers to see what is around the corner and “potential hazards around a building….” Drivers could see someone behind a building and anticipate that the individual may cross their path. Or perhaps there is another car or some other potential threat. Nissan’s new tech gets even cooler and more space age, though. The augmented reality lets family and friends join a ride virtually. Yes, their avatars can appear in the car like real (or unreal) passengers. This may give a lonely driver some sense of companionship, letting them drive more relaxed and engage in conversation during the drive. AR TO TEST SAFETY FEATURES Augmented reality isn’t just found in the vehicles; manufacturers also are using this technology to test safety features, too. Volvo and Varjo (a company that makes VR headsets) partnered to create the first “mixed reality headset” used to drive a car—the Varjo XR-1 headset. This headset will be used to help engineers “to develop and evaluate active safety solutions more easily.” Safety experts then wear the headsets “…testing virtual active safety systems imposed via augmented reality on the real-life environment.” AR TO HELP TECHNICIANS MAKE REPAIRS Porsche has utilized augmented reality to help technicians make repairs. The technology called “Tech Live Look” partners smart glasses with a software platform that aids service technicians in repairs. The glasses include an LED light to shine a light on tough to see spaces and magnify areas that require finer details (like small screws). Porsche rolled out the technology in 2018. APPLE’S AUGMENTED REALITY WINDSHIELD Automotive manufacturers aren’t the only players embracing AR. Apple is getting in on the AR action, too, and filed a patent for an augmented reality windshield. The windshield may integrate Apple’s own technology like FaceTime and iPhone capabilities. With the prevalence of video calls during Covid, the patent paves the way for in-car video conferencing. In an article for Future Car, it was noted that the author of the patent indicated (within the patent explanation) that the windshield “…could facilitate video calls and other forms of communication while waiting to reach one’s destination.” If the patent allows for an iPhone to connect to the windshield, this also could provide drivers with a larger map view when using the phone’s GPS features. BMW’S AUGMENTED REALITY APP In 2017, BMW introduced its augmented reality app that lets consumers explore its cars via a phone or other device. The app let potential buyers explore all points of the car. Change the color, swap out the wheel rims, or pop open the trunk. The app was a fully immersive experience and helped car buyers check out different models from the manufacturer. While the app itself wasn’t related to safety features, there is the potential for manufacturers to create an app that allows consumers to explore the vehicle’s safety components. As car buying becomes a more virtual experience, these apps will need to evolve to include technological components that allow consumers to explore all features—including those that ensure safety. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-15.jpeg] SELF-DRIVING CARS The VR-operated self-driving car is perhaps the future of the industry and the future of automotive safety. These cars will require no one to sit in the driver’s seat, will navigate autonomously and may provide the most comprehensive safety features. When the computer is in the driver’s seat, this means that cameras and sensors will be required throughout the car to minimize the risk of an accident. The very idea, though, of not sitting in the driver’s seat and letting a computer take over the vehicle might make some feel uneasy. There is, after all, so much room for technological error. However, for these vehicles to truly take over the industry, safety must be the highest priority. For this reason, these cars of the future will likely feature safety features and driving capabilities beyond our imagination. When we think about the driving experience, every decision is vital to safety. The driver must know how soon to signal a turn, when to safely pass, how fast to accelerate, when to slow down for traffic, etc. Then there are the intricacies of parking; understanding the turning radius and the proximity of other vehicles is vital. A self-driving car must encompass complete technological intellect and bypass any instance of perceived human error. The reaction of the car must be immediate in every single driving situation. One wrong blip of a program could cause an accident. Perfection, it seems, will be the only way self-driving cars will take control on the road. Eventually, the intricacies of their programming will be perfect, and the future of driving may be that only the cars navigate the roads…and humans remain in the passenger seat. The implication for our daily lives would be huge; commuting could allow us to work from the car (instead of navigating it). The driving experience could be more relaxed and leave us less stressed. Parents will no longer have to threaten to turn the car around, because screaming kids won’t be affecting attention to the road. The future of augmented reality in the automotive industry is far-reaching. Many manufacturers have already introduced augmented reality into their practices and integrated the technology into the vehicles. AR is used to help mechanics make repairs (in the case of Porsche), and has helped Volvo test out safety features. Apple may soon integrate smart windshields that allow video conferencing while commuting. However, the real future—the impending future—of AR is the self-driving car. When this car is perfected, it will offer maximum safety for passengers…but it will also force humans to relinquish the driver’s seat. Are we ready for a road of computer-operated cars? The future may decide this for us! Augmented Reality in Automotive [https://contentgm.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/content_uploads/App%5CDynamicModules%5CItem/48583/Ar-Safety.png]
Elon Musk: August 28th Update to Further Detail Neuralink’s Brain Computer Interface
Many of us already use some sort kind of suite of synced devices, but would you connect a computer with your brain? Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) could potentially revolutionize the tech and healthcare fields if scientists are able to successfully merge “man with machine.” This innovative new field is being pioneered by Elon Musk’s company Neuralink, which is planning to launch a groundbreaking event that will change the way we view brain activity. Although more details will be released as the date approaches, Musk is preparing to show actively firing neurons on display in real time. Read on to learn more about how Neuralink and BCI technology is gearing up to transform the medical and biotech industries. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image.jpeg] WHAT IS BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACE? Brain-Computer Interface devices use one of two measurement systems to collect and analyze data generated by the human brain. BCI interprets the brain’s information by analyzing each data point as a spike or field potential. This emerging industry is expected to reach a value of more than $1.7 billion in the next two years. Although it’s primarily focused on the healthcare sphere, BCI as a market has expanded into the education, military, and gaming industries. Brain-Computer Interface was initially developed in the 1970s at the University of California, and this discovery led to the expression BCI systems we currently use in medicine. This technology was created to learn more about how to restore hearing, sight, and movement in afflicted patients. Since the 1990s, BCI has been used in the development of neuroprosthetic devices. This was made possible by detecting incredibly small waves of energy in the brain, which are caused by the user essentially thinking certain thoughts. BCI integration, in its current state, is divided into three categories: Invasive Semi-Invasive Non-Invasive In an invasive BCI scenario, the device is implanted surgically directly into the brain. This provides the highest level of data reception – but it requires a heavy commitment as the surgery is critical and could result in lasting complications. A semi-invasive BCI device is implanted into the skull on top of the brain, rather than inside the brain. In the non-invasive procedures, the BCI device is connected to a person’s body using a specialized biometric implant and surface-spanning wires that are attached to the head. This technology collects electric brain activity via electrodes that are connected just under the user’s scalp. This part is connected to a separate pod-like device, which holds the “computer” aspect of the BCI system. Although this method produces notably weaker signals, it’s arguably the safest and most accessible option for most consumers. It’s also the most cost-effective choice, by far. A Brain-Computer Interface will generally measure neuronic data with Electroencephalography (EEG). BCI can also generate data by detecting changes associated with blood flow via Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). With this method of functional imagery, it’s possible to measure brain activity by hemodynamic responses that correlate with neuron activity. With the Brain-Computer Interface, scientists and researchers have developed a way to tap into a person’s visual cortex simply by measuring electric brainwaves. This revolutionary technology is also creating a new relationship between humans and artificial intelligence. By quantifying human brain activity using measurable data metrics and accurate sensory tech, we can communicate with machines more effectively. WHAT IS BCI USED FOR? Brain-Computer Interface technology has the potential to completely transform lives across a wide range of spheres, but it’s making a steep impact in the medical industry. Scientists and medical professionals can use BCI devices like Neuralink to read patient brain data, which is helping them determine new solutions for a variety of disorders and ailments. By quantifying brain signals, BCIs can accumulate this data and translate it into actionable commands. This information can then by used to carry out certain actions, which can assist people with neuromuscular disorders including: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Cerebral palsy Stroke Spinal cord injury Currently, BCI is being actively used to help medical professionals better understand the cause of these disorders while ideating solutions and treatments for active patients. By utilizing hypersensitive implanted wiring, BCI essentially translates neuron activity into interpretable data. This paints a clearer picture of the patient’s neurological activity for doctors and scientists. Additionally, this technology is being adapted to control external assistance devices for disabled users. Using electroencephalographic, intracortical, and electrocorticographic brain signals, researchers are creating more complex control mechanisms for tools like: Cursors Robotic arms Prosthetics Wheelchairs These developments have the potential to drastically improve the lives of disabled individuals. BCI is also helping researchers to better understand many different disorders, putting them one step closer to discovering groundbreaking solutions. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-1.jpeg] WHAT IS THE N1 SENSOR IMPLANT? Using individual wires that are thinner in diameter than a single hair, Neuralink is able to measure neuron activity in the brain. This allows an implanted device to read and translate this information into analyzable data. This real-time technology makes it possible to, in a sense, read someone’s thoughts through the measurement of tiny electric currents. Musk has stated that he expects the installment procedure to eventually become as commonplace as LASIK surgery. The micro-sized subdermal threads could eventually allow individuals who are paralyzed to use their phone or computer with the power of their brain with this quick procedure. This non-invasive BCI method will be accessible through an easy-to-use mobile app. This will allow users to view their neurological data, in real time, from the palm of their hand. In animal testing, this system produced positive results among mice and monkeys. With the favorable outcome of these trials, Musk expects to move on to human trials in the near future. During this testing stage, our N1 sensors will be placed into the subjects’ brains, which will include one in a somatosensory area and three in the motor area. If successful following human trials, this BCI implant system can make great strides toward effective treatment for paralyzed patients and individuals with debilitating neurological disorders. HOW WILL BCI AFFECT AI TECHNOLOGY? Artificial Intelligence is becoming a growing part of our day-to-day routines, from helping to control our cars to heating systems. But, it’s also being used by medical researchers and scientists to better understand the cortical processes that power our bodies essential functions like: Movement Speech Cognition Brain-Computer Interface is also making waves in the growth and discourse of reinforcement learning. This gives AI the ability to adapt based on the user’s thoughts, in real time. With the data generated by BCI, medical professionals can also learn more about neurological injuries. This discovery has assisted with the development of new neuroprosthetics devices and treatments for a variety of life-altering disorders and disabilities. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-2.jpeg] AUGUST 28TH UPDATE TO FURTHER DETAIL NEURALINK’S BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACE Brain-Computer Interface technology has come a long way since its inception in the 1970s, but innovators in this field are pushing the envelope in 2020. Neuralink’s new features, which will be unveiled on August 28th, are projected to include: The functionality of a surgical robot that will carry out the non-invasive implantation An example of the ultra-thin wire that will be used to connect the primary BCI device Thought leadership on wireless connectivity, which Neuralink hopes to apply in the near future to improve user freedom and flexibility These targeted functionalities were developed to make the connection between thought and digital interpretation more seamless, primarily by removing the need for additional devices. Earlier versions of BCI technology relied on the use of a keyboard or mouse to interpret commands between the user and the machine elements. In addition to improving Neuralink’s ease of use, this system helps to guard against advanced, boundless AI technology. By integrating a human element directly into the functions of the connected device, Musk has fine-tuned the updated Neuralink system to provide even more protection against the threat of unregulated AI. Ultimately, this company hopes to utilize technology to help those who suffer from neurological disorders. Programs like Neuralink can achieve this by helping patients to regain: Mobility Quality of life Day-to-day functioning Speech performance Neuralink is still pending human trials, but the August update will be the most advanced yet – bringing the brand one step closer to improving the lives of impacted patients. While BCI has been used throughout the medical industry for decades, the market was transformed when Musk dived into the industry in 2016. Since then, developers at Neuralink have been working to bridge the gap between humans and artificial intelligence. Once Brain-Computer Interface tech is sharpened through human trials, this revolutionary invention can allow humans to effectively communicate with – and potentially control – devices at the speed of thought. By truly translating the human element of organic brain activity, we can use machines to expand our knowledge exponentially in the healthcare realm and beyond.
A Shopper’s Guide to Augmented Reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality can transform our lives and simplify our daily habits. Through AR, customers increase their confidence in their product selection through: * Richer product information or interaction * The ability to personalize or configure unique product designs * The deeper emotional connection from immersive brand storytelling. Here are some industries that are leading the charge in using AR to transform the shopping experience: [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-3.jpeg] * Home Goods & Furniture: Customers can reliably visualize furniture in their room and change color, size and fit within a given space. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-4.jpeg] * Beauty and Makeup: Virtual makeup try-on is getting customers to imagine a new look or color on themselves [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image.png] * Automotive: Automotive retailers have a standard set of models, but the opportunity to customize and configure the models for each customer is vast. AR helps automotive customers configure and better understand each vehicle’s parts and features. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-1.png] * Shoes: Shoe companies are primarily using augmented shopping for personalization and virtual try-on. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-5.jpeg] * Clothing: Different retailers have used AR for “virtual try-on”. Zara has an in-store augmented experience. Gap allows customers to select a body type to “try on” clothing. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-2.png] Tilly’s created an augmented experience in their store window. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-4.png] The future of shopping begins now!
How Augmented Reality Changes Today’s Automotive Industry
The automotive industry has a history of embracing new technologies in order to enhance the driving experience for consumers. Over the years, automotive manufacturers have incorporated technology into their designs to provide consumers with emergency braking, collision detection, fuel efficiency, and in-car entertainment. But now there is another technology—augmented reality—that is preparing to completely disrupt the automotive industry. Augmented reality is technology that is used to overlay text, graphics, audio, and other digital elements on the user’s real world environment. In other words, it allows users to superimpose various digital elements onto the world around them to blend the real and virtual worlds together. A number of companies in the automotive industry are already starting to use augmented reality to give themselves a competitive edge. Here are some of the many ways that augmented reality technology is changing every aspect of today’s automotive industry. ENHANCING THE BUYING EXPERIENCE The use of augmented reality has the potential to completely transform the experience of buying a vehicle. To purchase a new vehicle, consumers typically have to visit a dealership to look at cars they are interested in. If the dealership does not have the exact car the consumer wants, they may visit other dealers to find what they are looking for. After all, vehicles are expensive, so consumers are hesitant to purchase one without seeing it in person. But with augmented reality, consumers may not need to visit a dealership to inspect a vehicle in person. Instead, they can project an image of the vehicle onto their real environment. Consumers can inspect the projection of a vehicle just like they would inspect a vehicle at a dealership. The only difference is they can conduct this inspection from the comfort of their own home. This means consumers could get the information they need about a vehicle on their own, so the entire purchase making decision could take place outside of the dealership. Augmented reality technology can also be used to enhance the buying experience at the dealership. For example, say a consumer visits a dealership looking for a specific vehicle. The dealership has the vehicle on their lot, but they don’t have the right color. Without augmented reality, this consumer might visit other dealerships to find the vehicle in the right color. But now, the dealership can use augmented reality to project an image of the vehicle in the right color so the consumer can see it in person. This could help dealerships convert more customers and make more sales even if their inventory is limited. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/HowAugmentedRealityChangesTodaysAutomotiveIndustry.jpg] CREATING A SAFER DRIVING EXPERIENCE Many automotive manufacturers are using augmented reality technology to keep drivers safe behind the wheel. Taking your eyes off of the road—even if it’s just for a few seconds—is incredibly dangerous. In fact, thousands of people are killed in distracted driving accidents in the U.S. every year. To address this problem, automotive manufacturers have started to use augmented reality to keep drivers focused on the road in front of them. Drivers will no longer need to take their eyes off of the road to read driving directions, check their speed, or see if it’s time to get gas. This information will be projected directly onto their windshield so they can see it at all times. For example, images of arrows, speed limit signs, and other graphics might be projected onto the driver’s windshield to guide them to their final destination. Drivers can receive step-by-step directions on how to get to where they are going without ever taking their eyes off of the road. This isn’t the only way that augmented reality is used to make the driving experience safer for consumers. Some manufacturers have designed vehicles that use augmented reality technology to project safety warnings onto the driver’s windshield. For example, say a driver is approaching a pedestrian. In this case, a brightly colored arrow might be projected onto the windshield to draw the driver’s attention to the pedestrian. Digital graphics can also be used to notify drivers of potholes, construction zones, and other safety hazards. Augmented reality technology is also used to help drivers safely park their vehicles. Drivers won’t need to use their best judgment to determine whether or not they can safely park their vehicle in a small or tight space. In some vehicles, drivers can now project an image of their vehicle onto the parking space to see whether or not it will fit. Other graphics, such as arrows and curved lines, are also used to help drivers safely pull in and out of parking spots. PROVIDING DRIVERS WITH A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT These days, every smartphone is designed with a virtual assistant that responds to simple voice commands. But the automotive industry might enhance the virtual assistant experience with the use of augmented reality technology. Last year, Nissan introduced its Invisible-to-Visible technology that combines a wealth of data from maps, sensors, and other sources and presents it to the driver using augmented reality. This augmented reality technology also gives drivers the option of interacting with a virtual co-driver who will sit in the passenger seat and communicate with the driver throughout their journey. The virtual co-driver will be able to provide drivers with all of the information gathered by the Invisible-to-Visible technology. For example, a driver can ask the virtual assistant what exit they should take to get to their final destination or if there are any accidents reported on the road ahead. Drivers can customize the appearance of their virtual co-driver. According to Nissan, consumers can create a co-driver that resembles their favorite cartoon character, a friend or family member, or someone else. By using augmented reality in this way, Nissan is making driving more convenient and enjoyable for drivers. SIMPLIFYING THE PRODUCTION PROCESS Automotive consumers aren’t the only ones who will benefit from the use of augmented reality technology. This technology is also being used to simplify the process of manufacturing new vehicles, which will benefit countless workers in the industry. There’s no question that manufacturing a vehicle is not easy. Each vehicle consists of thousands of components, which must be brought together and assembled by skilled workers in factories around the world. Building a vehicle is essentially like putting together the pieces of an incredibly complex puzzle—except there is no room for errors on the assembly line. Fortunately, some automotive manufacturers are beginning to incorporate augmented reality technology into the production process to make it easier than ever before to manufacture new vehicles. One manufacturer that is using augmented reality to simplify the production process is Volvo. Assembly line workers at Volvo can use Microsoft’s HoloLens, which are augmented reality smartglasses, to look up specific instructions or view technical drawings while putting together the different parts of a vehicle. Workers who take advantage of this technology won’t have to leave the assembly line in order to get the information they need. Instead, they can view the information right in front of them thanks to augmented reality technology. The smart glasses will project the step-by-step instructions, how-to videos, or technical drawings onto the user’s surroundings. Using augmented reality in this manner ensures that workers get the virtual guidance they need to perform their job duties. Furthermore, it also speeds up the production process since workers will no longer have to leave the assembly line for help or waste time on figuring out how to put something together. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/HowAugmentedRealityChangesTodaysAutomotiveIndustry-1.jpg] MAKING MAINTENANCE WORK MORE EFFICIENT Augmented reality is being used in a similar way to improve the efficiency of maintenance work in the automotive industry. At Mitsubishi, maintenance workers no longer need to dig through piles of user manuals to find the information they need to make a repair or address an issue with a vehicle. Instead, workers can use a pair of specially designed augmented reality glasses to project the user manual for a specific vehicle directly onto their surroundings. These glasses even allow maintenance workers to enter notes on the repairs that were made using just their voice. Together, these features drastically improve the efficiency of maintenance work at Mitsubishi. VISUALIZING NEW DESIGNS Hundreds—maybe even thousands—of changes are made to the design of a new vehicle before it is finalized. In the past, automotive companies were forced to create clay prototypes of new designs. If a change to the design was made, a new clay prototype was created. But now, augmented reality has made this design process far more efficient. Ford uses Microsoft’s HoloLens to create prototypes of new vehicles. The HoloLens allows designers to see how their change will look or fit on an existing vehicle. For example, if a designer wants to increase the size of a vehicle’s infotainment system, they can use the HoloLens to project an image of a larger infotainment system onto the existing vehicle’s interior. Using augmented reality to project design changes onto an existing vehicle gives designers the opportunity to identify issues that could arise with the change. For instance, the larger infotainment system may partially obstruct the driver’s vision. By projecting the image onto the existing vehicle, the designer can recognize and address this issue before moving further in the process. Thanks to this technology, designers at Ford can wait until they are sure that a change will work before ordering a more sophisticated prototype. From the design and production of a vehicle to the consumer driving experience, augmented reality is impacting nearly every aspect of the automotive industry. But this technology is still fairly new, which means it’s very likely that there will be more changes to come. It’s safe to assume that automotive companies will continue to find new and exciting ways to incorporate this technology into vehicles in order to stay competitive in the crowded automotive industry.