Amazon Augmented Reality Player Transforms Programming Into an Interactive Experience
November 29, 2021
Amazon offers streaming content via its own platform, and like Netflix and other streaming giants, Amazon has its own list of original series titles, too. However, Amazon has taken the streaming service into an augmented realm with its Amazon Augmented Reality Player (AR Player). Those with an Apple or Android device can download the AR Player to experience the series The Wheel of Time in augmented reality. The AR Player lets users explore artifacts, landmarks and unique creatures from the series. Here’s how Amazon is using augmented reality to expand The Wheel of Time universe and invite fans into the unique realms of this show. ABOUT THE WHEEL OF TIME The Wheel of Time is a series of books by novelist Robert Jordan. Amazon adapted the books into a made-for-streaming series that is offered via Prime Video. The Amazon series follows Moiraine Damodred, a woman known as a channeler who has the ability to use The One Power, and her warder as they seek to find the reborn Dragon (or the male who can use The One Power). They end up at the land of Two Rivers, where it is determined that numerous individuals could be the Reborn Dragon. Jordan’s series comprises 14 books; the last three novels were actually the last novel that was broken into three different books. These installments were completed by a different author after Jordan died. However, book 14 titled “A Memory of Light” includes an epilogue written by Jordan. Amazon’s series currently only features one season with eight episodes. However, a second season has already been planned. EXPLORING THE WHEEL OF TIME UNIVERSE WITH AMAZON AUGMENTED REALITY Fans of the show might have binge watched the series in a few nights or maybe even in a single day. Those who aren’t yet ready to leave the fantasy world of The Wheel of Time can explore Two Rivers and other places in the book via augmented reality. Amazon’s AR Player lets fans of the show get up close with sites like the White Tower. They also can use a portal to visit the cave of the Women’s Circle in Two Rivers. Augmented reality also lets fans examine artifacts from the show like an angreal. To learn more about the dark Trollocs and Fades (the eyeless half-humans), fans of the show can use augmented reality to bring them to life and stand next to them. See how large and towering these creatures are compared to simple humans. Exploring the show in augmented reality is free, and the app can be downloaded via both Google Play (for Android) and the App Store (for Apple). While Amazon’s AR Player is now focused on The Wheel of Time, the company could pivot content, too! In fact, a past iteration of the app featured augmented reality experiences via Amazon’s famous boxes. Amazon Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/How-Else-Does-Amazon-Let-Users-Explore-Augmented-Reality.jpg] HOW ELSE DOES AMAZON LET USERS EXPLORE AUGMENTED REALITY? While Amazon’s Augmented Reality (AR) Player lets fans of their hit show explore the world of The Wheel of Time, Amazon also offers other augmented reality tools for other platforms. Shopping on Amazon involves some guessing on the part of the consumer when ordering furniture or other products. To help buyers better understand certain purchases before they add it to their cart and make their purchase, Amazon offers preview experiences powered by augmented reality. The feature AR View is offered via the Amazon App, which can be downloaded via both Google Play and the App Store. Using the AR View, shoppers can preview furniture and other products by dropping them into the environment. Preview a couch in the living room or place an end table by a bed. The furniture appears to scale, so buyers can better understand how an item will fit into a room and see how it looks. Buyers also can swap in different products to decide what they like best. Like many preview experiences, AR View helps buyers simplify the buying decision by allowing buyers to see before they purchase an item. HAS NETFLIX JUMPED INTO AUGMENTED REALITY? Amazon Video augmented The Wheel of Time via the app Amazon AR Player, but what about rival streaming services like Hulu or Netflix? Are all streaming services embracing augmented reality experiences to give fans unique interactions with favorite programming? Netflix released an augmented reality hologram experience before premiering The Midnight Sky featuring George Clooney. The experience lets users take video and send them to friends and family as augmented reality hologram messages. Users also could view Clooney’s hologram message in their own rooms or environment as an augmented reality experience. Hulu also launched an augmented reality experience for the second season of “Light as a Feather.” However, the experience was only available at VideoCon and required a headset. Users, though, could try to find clues about the mystery of the show and had to interact with avatars of the show’s characters. Amazon Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/The-Rise-of-Accessible-Augmented-Reality-Experiences.jpg] THE RISE OF ACCESSIBLE AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCES Netflix and Amazon both launched augmented reality experiences tied to one of their own offerings and made these experiences available to the public. The accessible augmented reality experience is becoming more mainstream and popular among consumer brands. Fast food mainstays like McDonalds and Pizza Hut have deployed augmented reality on food packaging. McDonald’s released augmented reality content via its Happy Meal boxes. Pizza Hut lets consumers play a game of augmented reality Pac-Man on top of its pizza boxes. Even wine labels now include augmented reality experiences. Just use the phone’s camera to capture the label within an app, and an adventure springs to life. Sip on a glass of Chardonnay and learn about the brand’s history or play a game. These interactive experiences don’t just help entertain the consumer, but they also help brands and companies engage with the consumer. Augmented reality marketing and experiences are another way to hold the consumer’s attention and keep them focused and interested in the brand. If the consumer can use augmented reality to preview products or just to stay entertained, they will—hopefully—stay engaged with the company’s app or site. Using augmented reality preview experiences also could encourage consumers to explore other products and maybe lead them to something that they didn’t even know the company offered. Amazon’s preview experience could be used to drop in a couch, but what if consumers find a matching chair or end table? Maybe they want to see how those items look in the room, too. If they love the entire look, perhaps they buy the set. Before augmented reality experiences, customers really had to guess about online purchases. Would that loveseat really match the chair? How would that vase look on the table? Buying many products online could have been a hit or miss situation. Buyers really couldn’t know how shoes would look on their feet or if a pair of eyeglasses would flatter their face shape. With augmented reality, though, consumers can try on those shoes via graphics. They can even see how those eyeglasses look on their face. Augmented reality has become a magic mirror and a virtual dressing room in the online marketplace. Consumers may turn to these experiences more often as they begin to realize that more companies are making them accessible. AUGMENTED REALITY MARKETS ENTERTAINMENT In the case of The Wheel of Time, Amazon’s use of augmented reality is very much for entertainment purposes. Yet, the augmented realm also is a very astute marketing move. Fans of the show can explore unique worlds within Amazon’s app. They can even drop fictional creatures into their environment to size them up. Yet, the augmented reality experience is an experiential marketing campaign for the series. Those who haven’t seen the show might open up the app and explore the features. Then they may decide to tune into the show. Augmented reality experiences can be used to provide immersive entertainment for the consumer, but they also can be used to introduce consumers to new products or, in the case of Amazon, new shows. The Wheel of Time augmented reality experience can entertain current fans or even be the introduction that prompts someone to tune into the show. AUGMENTING AMAZON While Amazon offers an augmented reality app that provides entertaining content that ties into its shows (and previously its boxes), the company also provides an augmented reality preview experience that allows consumers to see an item in their space before purchasing. What’s next for Amazon and augmented reality? Amazon already offers its Echo Frames that connect to Alexa. However, could Amazon be the company that launches a consumer-driven pair of augmented reality glasses? Meta worked with Ray-Ban to release Stories smart glasses that include the photo and video capabilities. Stories also let the wearer listen to their favorite songs. Meta also is quite interested in augmented and virtual reality and in developing the metaverse. Many tech publications have been anticipating and waiting for some type of augmented reality glasses from Apple. However, nothing has been announced from the company. The public is currently waiting for which tech company might drop augmented reality glasses for the consumer. While no one knows who will augment reality through the lenses of augmented reality glasses, consumers who are plugged into Prime Video might keep an eye on Amazon’s AR Player to see what Amazon will augment next.
7 Trends Shaping the Future of the Automotive Industry
November 29, 2021
Modern vehicles were first built in Germany in the late 1800s. However, the Ford Model T, which was introduced in 1908, was the first mass-produced vehicle that people could actually afford to buy. This is why Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor Company, is often referred to as the father of the automotive industry. The automotive industry has come a long way since the days of the Ford Model T. Throughout the decades, the industry has evolved in response to changes in consumer demand, innovative technologies, and safety and environmental concerns. But many experts believe that the biggest changes are yet to come. Automotive experts believe that the industry will go through a transformation period over the next decade. What will inspire these changes and what should consumers expect? Here are the 7 trends that are set to shape the future of the automotive industry: Future of the Automotive Industry [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Autonomous-Vehicles.jpg] AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES In the past, a self-driving vehicle seemed like something you would see in a futuristic science fiction movie. But now, many experts believe that autonomous vehicles will have a major impact on the future of the automotive industry. There are five different levels of autonomous driving. The lower levels are vehicles that still require a human driver even though they are designed with some autonomous features. There are many vehicles available today that fall into the category of level 1 or 2 automation. For example, Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist system controls the vehicle’s steering and braking, but requires a human driver to have their hands on the steering wheel at all times. In the future, though, experts believe that the roads will be filled with level five autonomous vehicles, which do not require a human driver. The thought of self-driving vehicles may sound frightening, but the introduction of these vehicles could actually improve road safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 94% of all traffic accidents are caused by human error. In the future, autonomous vehicles could prevent these accidents, which could save thousands of lives per year. CONNECTIVITY In the automotive industry, the term “connectivity” refers to a vehicle’s ability to connect with the outside world. The three different types of car connectivity are: * Car2Car: This refers to a car’s ability to send and receive data from other cars located nearby. * Car2X: This refers to a vehicle’s ability to send and receive data from infrastructure such as traffic lights. * Passengers: This refers to the passengers’ ability to connect with the outside world while traveling in a connected vehicle. Experts predict that all three types of connectivity will be incorporated into the design of future vehicles, which would drastically transform the driving experience. For example, in a fully connected vehicle, passengers would be able to connect to the internet to communicate, work, shop, or pass the time on their favorite websites. Meanwhile, their vehicle would be able to connect with other vehicles and traffic infrastructure to collect important data about upcoming traffic, weather, or road hazards. The vehicle may discover that there is a car accident ahead that has slowed down traffic. Based on this information, the vehicle may decide to take another route to ensure the passengers can get to their final destination as quickly as possible. These are just two examples of how connectivity could significantly improve the driving experience in the future. Future of the Automotive Industry [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Electric-Vehicles.jpg] ELECTRIC VEHICLES Electric vehicles already exist in today’s world. In fact, there are about 1.8 million electric vehicles registered in the United States. So far, the electric vehicle market has only experienced slow growth. However, experts predict that electric vehicles will dominate the automotive industry over the next decade. There are a number of reasons why experts believe this will happen. First, experts predict that more governmental bodies around the world will pass legislation encouraging or requiring consumers to purchase electric vehicles. In California, for example, Governor Newsom signed an executive order that phases out the sale of gas-powered vehicles in the state. Experts believe that legislation like this will pass in many other areas around the world in the future. This would leave consumers with no other choice but to purchase electric vehicles. Experts also believe that electric vehicles will grow in popularity as charging stations become more available around the world. Many consumers are hesitant to go electric because they fear they won’t be able to find a charging station when they need to give their battery a boost. But now, these charging stations are popping up everywhere, which means consumers won’t need to worry about being inconvenienced by owning an electric vehicle. If these predictions come true, the growth of the electric vehicle segment of the market will have a major impact on the future of the automotive industry. SHIFT TO ONLINE The vast majority of consumers are comfortable shopping for items online. However, until recently, the concept of buying a car online rather than at a dealership was practically unheard of. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. During the pandemic, dealerships were forced to temporarily close their showrooms. Even when the showrooms re-opened, many consumers felt it was safer to shop online for vehicles rather than visit dealerships in person. This resulted in an explosion of online vehicle sales. In fact, 30% of all new car sales were completed online in 2020. Experts believe that this trend will not die off once the pandemic is over. Instead, they believe that it will redefine how consumers shop for vehicles and how automotive companies sell to consumers in the future. Automotive manufacturers and dealerships must be willing to invest in the right tools to shift to online sales. They must also find ways to connect with and assist consumers as they move through the car buying process online. It may be challenging to make these changes at first, but in the long run, the automotive industry could benefit greatly from this trend. Future of the Automotive Industry [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Shared-Mobility.jpg] SHARED MOBILITY In today’s uncertain world, many consumers are hesitant to make large purchases, including vehicles. These consumers are beginning to demand more flexibility from the automotive industry. Experts believe that the industry will respond in the years ahead by embracing shared mobility. Vehicle-sharing is already available in a number of big cities in the U.S. Car-sharing companies offer consumers the chance to pick up a vehicle at a convenient location and use it for a short period of time. This allows consumers to enjoy the perks of having access to a vehicle without having to incur the costs of car ownership. In other words, consumers can use a vehicle whenever they need it without having to make a large financial investment or worry about maintenance, repairs, or insurance. In the future, experts believe that this car-sharing model will grow in popularity and expand to other areas in the U.S. This could drastically change the automotive industry. If car-sharing becomes more popular, vehicle sales may decline in the future. A rise in car-sharing could also change how automotive manufacturers design, produce, market, and sell their vehicles. SHORTER MODEL CYCLES The term “model cycle” refers to the length of time that a specific vehicle model is produced before it is redesigned. Right now, model cycles are typically between five to eight years. This means most automotive manufacturers redesign a model after it has been sold for five to eight years. However, this could change over the next decade. Experts believe that the model cycle in the automotive industry will shrink to one year. Instead of updating designs every five to eight years, automotive manufacturers will need to release new designs every year. Why? According to experts, vehicles of the future will be autonomous and connected, which means they will be designed with incredibly sophisticated technologies. These advanced technologies will need to be updated far more frequently than the technologies used in vehicles today. In order to issue these updates, automotive manufacturers will need to drastically shorten their model cycles to one year. NEW ENTRANTS Toyota, Ford, Honda, and several other manufacturers have dominated the automotive industry for decades. However, they may face some new competition in the future. Experts predict that the changes in the automotive industry will make it easier for other companies to enter the market and compete with today’s major players. These experts believe that some of the competitors may come from the tech industry. Companies from this sector may enter the autonomous driving vehicle segment of the market. Automotive consumers may view new competitors as edgy, innovative, and exciting, which could make it difficult for larger, established brands to compete with them. Established manufacturers may also face competition from Chinese car manufacturers, which have experienced an impressive growth in annual sales over the last few years. New entrants could shake up the automotive industry and force established players to rapidly innovate in order to retain their customers. Based on these predictions, the automotive industry may look very different in a decade. These trends could completely disrupt the industry and bring surprising changes for consumers and manufacturers alike.
Augmented Reality Wine Labels Uncork Adventures, Mysteries and More
November 26, 2021
A bottle of wine might be the perfect complement to the evening’s dinner or even dessert. Perhaps uncorking that bottle is simply a relaxing way to unwind while watching a movie, snuggling by the fireplace or while enjoying an evening with friends. Before popping that cork, take a good look at that wine bottle because its label could be hiding a few fun secrets. Augmented reality wine bottles are a new trend among wineries. These labels can be embedded with different stories, mysteries and adventures to transform a simple bottle into a uniquely entertaining and, perhaps, intoxicatingly creative experience. Augmented Reality Wine Labels [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/The-Wine-Bottle-is-now-the-Entertainment.jpg] THE WINE BOTTLE IS NOW THE ENTERTAINMENT While a glass or two of wine might accompany dinner or a social night of fun, modern wine labels are now becoming part of the social experience. Who needs game nights when the bottle becomes the evening’s entertainment! Augmented wine labels can be crafted with almost any experience. The winery can create an adventure that highlights its personal history, a mascot or just something out of the ordinary. But how do these labels work? Augmented reality wine labels come to life with a smartphone or a tablet. Like most augmented reality experiences, the phone’s camera operates the experience. The wine label will usually be linked to an app. To immerse in augmented reality, an affiliated app needs to be downloaded. Currently, multiple wineries offer their own interactive augmented reality apps, several brands also are associated with the Living Wine Label app, and more than 500 brands are linked to the app Winerytale. Among those offering their own apps include Phantom Wine, Rabble Wine Company, CHAR NO. 3, Sonoma County Sustainable Wine, Mensa Wine, Zilzie Wines, and Campo Viejo. App selection may vary per Google Play or the App Store. When enjoying a glass of a winery’s vintage, use the app to interact with the bottle’s label. This will open up the augmented reality experience. LIVING WINE LABEL The Living Wine Label app features custom augmented reality experiences for many different brands. Participating brands with the Living Wine Label app include: 19 Crimes, Gentleman’s Collection, Embrazen, Beringer Bros., The Walking Dead, (Dr. Henry John) Lindeman’s, Matua, Château St. Jean, and Beringer Main & Vine. Each brand offers its own unique experience. For example, labels from 19 Crimes let users participate in a trial (actually, they have to defend themselves on trial!) and they can find out more about those numerous crimes. There’s also an appearance by Snoop Dogg! Popping open Lindeman’s? Use the label to unlock tips from Dr. Henry John Lindeman. He gives sage advice about being a gentleman. Embrazen wine labels open up the stories of ‘Embrazen’ women. Hear about their accomplishments and how they left their mark. The Rabble label features a comet destroying Florence. When using the winery’s augmented reality app, this moment in time comes to life. WINERYTALE Perhaps the largest augmented reality app available is Winerytale, which hosts experiences for more than 500 brands, including Adams County Winery, AK Wines Blank Canvas, Clyde Park Vineyard, First Drop Wines, Inkwell Wines, Moose and Goose Winery and many, many more. Wine aficionados who are looking for an interactive experience via a label might try this app first. Again, hundreds of brands (and wineries) offer experiences via Winerytale. PHANTOM WINES Phantom Wines offers an augmented reality experience via their label that actually involves different stories. Users can scan the label (via the Phantom Wines app) and then dare to experience the tales of the phantom. ARE ALL WINE LABELS INTERACTIVE? While many brands are using augmented reality to add more depth to their vintages in the form of stories and entertainment, not every winery, label or brand offers augmented reality. However, the label might be the best clue as to any hidden adventures. Labels could note that there are augmented reality experiences that can be unlocked and how to enjoy these experiences. SIP AND ENJOY ADVENTURES Interactive augmented reality wine labels can integrate into the social experience. Those hosting parties, dinners or other events with friends may encourage guests to download the label app and play games or other experiences. However, these interactive labels also could just be fun entertainment at home. Sip some wine, open the app, scan the label and check out cool adventures. Brands and wineries are getting in on the social experience…beyond just the uncorking and sipping of their vintages. Not only do augmented reality experiences serve as a source of entertainment, but they encourage individuals to interact with the brand, to learn more and maybe to explore other products. Augmented Reality Wine Labels [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Will-Labels-and-Other-Products-Augment-Reality.jpg] WILL LABELS AND OTHER PRODUCTS AUGMENT REALITY? The concept of an interactive wine label could possibly reach over into other products. Cereal boxes and packaging may already include QR codes that bring up websites to play games or enjoy other experiences. Could more augmented reality experiences be featured in packaging? Will cans of soft drink link to apps to open augmented reality experiences? Actually, interactive soft drink cans already existed! Pepsi Max cans opened up soccer experiences when the cans were scanned by smartphones; the promotional packaging was tied to the World Cup (back in 2016). And Coke transformed its cans into a jukebox in partnership with Spotify! Coke fans could enjoy free music from Spotify using the Blippar app. The demand for augmented reality may push other industries to include these types of experiences. And augmented reality or other types of interactive experience could greatly benefit the brand. Metal Packaging Europe reported that for Pepsi Max, the user engagement was nearly three minutes (per user!) and there were millions of interactions! AUGMENTED REALITY RESTAURANTS Restaurants also included augmented reality into packaging. For example, Pizza Hut boxes will be printed with a Pac-Man game design. When users scan the QR code on the box, an augmented reality Pac-Man game comes alive! Yes, the pizza box becomes an arcade! McDonald’s has released many augmented reality experiences around the globe. In Canada, the #BringHalloweenHome campaign lets users knock on a yellow door to open up experiences and, of course, a McDelivery offer. The campaign was launched during the pandemic as more people were ordering delivery services. Happy Meal packaging also opened up augmented reality experiences. The boxes featured characters from Dreamworks movies like How to Train Your Dragon 2. The experiences included interactive games with the characters. AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCES ALL AROUND! Consumers should keep their eyes peeled for new augmented reality experiences affiliated with products or even restaurant packaging. These experiences could be hiding on labels, boxes or cans. To find them, look closely at packaging! Brands aren’t shy about including details! Augmented reality has become a reality in many consumer experiences. This interactive technology has the ability to change the way consumers shop…and even how they drive. Many brands and stores offer interactive try-on features. These are popular for cosmetics brands and stores that want to provide a way for online shoppers to preview colors and products when they can’t try them in the store. Even hunting for the perfect palette of paint colors for the home can now be demystified thanks to augmented reality. Brands like Sherwin-Williams and Home Depot provide homeowners with an augmented reality paint color preview. The colors literally appear on the wall! This can be incredibly helpful for homeowners who don’t know what this might look best in a room. Or if the paint shade will clash with the color themes of the room. Sometimes paint looks different in the can than it does on the wall; augmented reality helps decipher those colors! Augmented reality also changes the drive to work, the store or anywhere! Navigation features in cars often feature augmented reality. Gridlines that are overlaid on top of the rear backdrop from reverse cameras are a type of augmented reality. So are GPS apps that show the real world and add in directional arrows or other digitized graphic data. Even shopping for a car can include augmented reality. For example, RelayCars lets car buyers preview a car in both 3D imagery and augmented reality. With RelayCars, different car models can be dropped in the real world environment. Preview a car in the backyard. Or maybe just the garage. Augmented reality is yet another way brands, companies and stores can offer up unique ways to provide an immersive customer experience. With augmented reality wine labels and other packaging, games, mystery stories and other entertainment can be included in the product. In this way, the product takes on a new life. Not only can customers enjoy pizza or wine, they can open up games and play on top of packaging. Or explore the details of the brand. Augmented reality can take the mystery out of a purchase…and this is definitely a good thing for consumers on the fence about a paint color, lipstick tint or even a pair of eyeglasses. Augmented reality packing and experiences are nothing new. But could more brands include these hidden experiences within the packaging? Consumers might want to keep their eyes on those labels…because augmented reality might be lurking!
Augmented Reality in the Real Estate Market
November 24, 2021
Augmented reality technology has exploded in popularity over the last several years. In 2021, the augmented and virtual reality market was valued at over $30 billion. But experts predict that it will increase to nearly $300 billion in just a few short years. This exponential growth will be driven by many factors, including the use of augmented reality in health care, education, retail, and of course, real estate. Real estate agents, builders, investors, developers, buyers, and sellers have all embraced augmented reality technology. Now, it is completely transforming the real estate industry as a whole. So how is augmented reality used in the real estate industry? What are the benefits of augmented reality in real estate? Here’s what you need to know: HOW IS AUGMENTED REALITY USED IN REAL ESTATE? Augmented reality is used in a number of different ways in the real estate industry. Some of its many uses include: * Virtual Staging * Building Models * Construction Assistance * Sales Support * Listing Information VIRTUAL STAGING Staging a home refers to the process of adding furniture, decor, and other items to make it more appealing to potential buyers. According to industry experts, staging can help a home sell faster and for more money, which is why real estate agents often recommend it. Staging a home with real furniture and decor can cost thousands of items. But now there’s another option: virtual staging powered by augmented reality technology. Real estate agents can now use augmented reality software to add digital models of furniture and decor to empty homes. This ensures the listing photos of the home look like they are pulled directly from a high-end furniture catalogue. However, the home won’t actually have any furniture in it, so buyers can still walk through the empty space and imagine what their own pieces would look like in it. BUILDING MODELS Real estate agents are often tasked with selling homes that haven’t been built yet. For example, they may be hired to sell a house that is still under construction but nowhere near completion. Selling a home before it’s finished is difficult. It requires finding a buyer who is able to visualize what the home will look like once construction is complete. This can be a challenge, but augmented reality technology can make it easier. Now, real estate agents can use augmented reality software to build digital models of the home. This way, they can show potential buyers exactly what the home will look like inside and out once it’s finished. Buyers won’t need to use their imagination–they can tour digital models to see every detail of the finished product. Augmented Reality in the Real Estate [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Construction-Assistance.jpg] CONSTRUCTION ASSISTANCE Augmented reality can help builders, contractors, and others during the construction of new homes and buildings. For example, it’s important for construction workers to know where underground utilities and pipes are located before they begin building on a property. If they hit a natural gas line while digging into the ground, for instance, they could get seriously injured. In the past, construction workers had to wait for someone to come to the property to mark the locations of these pipes and utilities. But now, they can use augmented reality technology to keep track of which areas to avoid. This technology can project digital models of the layout of the underground pipes and utilities directly onto the real world environment. This helps construction teams visualize these elements that would otherwise remain hidden underground. SALES SUPPORT Real estate agents typically work with a sales support team that helps them with administrative and marketing tasks. These sales support teams are responsible for completing many tasks, including gathering specs, finalizing floor plans, writing listing descriptions, and more. Now, they can use augmented reality technology to complete many of these tasks. For instance, a sales support team can use an augmented reality app to quickly measure the dimensions of each room in a home that is about to be listed. All they need is their smartphone to complete this task in a matter of minutes. This allows them to get the measurements they need to add to the online listing without having to waste time using a tape measure. Augmented Reality in the Real Estate [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Listing-Information.jpg] LISTING INFORMATION Augmented reality technology can also make it easier for potential buyers to access information about homes on the market. For example, there are apps that allow you to pull up a home’s listing simply by pointing your smartphone camera at it. Once you point your camera at the home, the app will quickly identify the listing and pull up relevant information, including the square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and price. This information will be projected onto the user’s real world environment thanks to the power of augmented reality technology. Because of apps like these, potential buyers don’t need to contact a real estate agent or spend hours conducting their own research to get the information they need about a home for sale. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING AUGMENTED REALITY IN REAL ESTATE? There are many benefits to using augmented reality in the real estate industry, including: * Saves time. Many players in the real estate industry, including agents, potential buyers, sellers, builders, and more, can save time by using augmented reality apps. For example, a potential buyer can use augmented reality to pull up a listing in a few seconds rather than wait for a real estate agent to call them back with information. * Saves money. Certain applications of augmented reality, including virtual staging, can help sellers and real estate agents save money. * Easier to sell properties. Being able to see digital models of what an unfinished home will look like can make it easier for real estate agents to sell these properties. * Connect with a broader audience. This technology also allows real estate agents to connect with potential buyers in other cities, states, or countries who would otherwise not be interested in a property they couldn’t see in person. WHAT ARE THE BEST AUGMENTED REALITY REAL ESTATE APPS? There are dozens of real estate apps that are powered by augmented reality technology. Some of the most popular augmented reality real estate apps include: * RealAR * AirMeasure * Street Peak * Curate by Sotheby’s Augmented Reality in the Real Estate [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/RealAR.jpg] REALAR RealAR is an augmented reality real estate app that allows you to take a virtual tour of a property using only your smartphone. It essentially converts a two-dimensional floor plan into a three-dimensional digital model, which makes it easier for potential buyers to visualize the layout of a space before deciding whether it’s right for them. Using this app is simple. All you need to do is take a photo of a two-dimensional floor plan or upload a PDF version of the floor plan. In a matter of minutes, the app will work its magic to convert your floor plan into a walkable digital model that you can tour. AIRMEASURE AirMeasure is not specifically designed for the real estate industry, but it is used by many real estate professionals. This app serves as a digital ruler. In other words, it allows you to measure spaces using only your phone. No ruler or tape measure required. To begin, simply open the app and point your smartphone camera at the space you want to measure. The app will ask you to mark your starting point and ending point. Then, the app will automatically measure the distance between the two marked points. This app measures far more than just straight, perfect lines. You can measure all types of spaces with this app, which makes it perfect for real estate professionals who need to upload specs to a new listing right away. STREET PEAK Streek Peak is an app that was developed by Realtor.com, which is one of the most popular real estate listings websites. This app, which is only available on Android devices, uses geolocation data and augmented reality technology to quickly provide listing information to interested buyers. For example, if you see a home with a for sale sign, you can open the Street Peak app to pull up information about the listing. Just point your smartphone camera at the for sale sign and let the app do the rest. You can get more information about the homes around you by panning your phone around the neighborhood. The app will generate price bubbles that will appear above each home around you. This makes it easier for you to compare homes and see how much the average home is worth in the area. Augmented Reality in the Real Estate [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Curate-by-Sotheby.jpg] CURATE BY SOTHEBY’S The Curate by Sotheby’s app makes virtually staging a home easier than ever before. But it’s not designed for real estate agents who are trying to prepare a home for sale. Instead, it is designed for buyers who want to visualize what a specific home would look like with their furniture in it. Buyers can use this app to virtually place different pieces of furniture and home decor items inside an empty space. The best part? This app comes in handy post-purchase, too. Once the buyer moves in, they can use Curate by Sotheby’s to make smart and stylish interior design decisions. As you can see, augmented reality is changing the way people buy and sell properties. Thanks to augmented reality technology, it’s easier than ever before to complete real estate transactions.
Bite Into Apple Augmented Reality Apps!
November 22, 2021
Apple has taken a juicy bite out of the augmented reality market. Apple’s App Store is home to thousands of augmented reality games and experiences. Curious about what to explore via augmented reality? Here are 15 apps to experience augmented reality…and many are free to download! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/JigSpace.png] JIGSPACE (ONLY FOR APPLE DEVICES) Jig includes augmented reality presentations to learn about different subjects! Learn immersively about history, space and more! The app is featured on Apple’s augmented reality page! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/CamToPlan.png] CAMTOPLAN (ONLY FOR APPLE DEVICES) Use augmented reality to measure spaces, including the dimensions of rooms! This allows homeowners to easily map out their home for improvement projects or just to get an idea about how a new couch or other piece of furniture might fit. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Laser-Mazer.jpg] LASER MAZER (AVAILABLE FOR DIFFERENT DEVICES) Find the way through augmented reality mazes and puzzles but don’t get zapped by a laser. This app was noted as IndieCade Europe’s Jury Prix winner. Laser Mazer is free to download and is appropriate for ages four and up! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/My-Very-Hungry-Caterpillar-AR.jpg] MY VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR AR (ONLY FOR APPLE DEVICES) For children who love the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar, bring the little friend to life in augmented reality. The colorful caterpillar will appear in the backyard, eating his way through foods and playing anywhere he is placed. Kids can put the caterpillar to bed each night. And then the fun can begin anew the next day. This app costs $3.99 and is suitable for children ages four and up. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Dinosaurs-Everywhere.jpg] DINOSAURS EVERYWHERE! (AVAILABLE FOR DIFFERENT DEVICES) Dinosaurs aren’t extinct thanks to augmented reality. Check out life-size dinosaurs roaming around real space. The app can be used with the phone or via a headset. And, yes, it’s free! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Stack-AR-1024x538.png] STACK AR Play a stacking game on any surface in augmented reality. This is the standard type stacking game. See how many pieces players can stack before the tower falls! It’s free to download, but the game does offer in-app purchases. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/CARROT-Weather-1024x538.png] CARROT WEATHER (ONLY VIA APPLE) This isn’t just any weather app. It’s a bit crazy and unpredictable. There are games. And users can apparently earn points when there is a fire or some other weather event. The voice of the AR app also isn’t exactly kind, and that’s the point! In fact, some users noted her as sadistic. And, for this reason, it’s suitable for ages 17 and up! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Giphy-World-1024x538.png] GIPHY WORLD: AR GIF STICKERS (ONLY VIA APPLE) Put GIFs and stickers anywhere. Then take a video of the creation! Get imaginative! The app is aimed for ages 12 and up. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Houzz-–-Home-Design-and-Remodel-1024x538.png] HOUZZ – HOME DESIGN AND REMODEL (ONLY VIA APPLE) This is an app for home design, remodeling and decorating. Check out different interior images. It also lets users shop and find professionals to help them for home projects. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Splitter-Critters.jpg] SPLITTER CRITTERS (ONLY VIA APPLE) This is an augmented reality game that requires players to divide up different environments, rearrange them and then help direct the game critters back into their spaceship. While there are no in-app purchases, the game costs $2.99 to download. But it can be played by ages four and up! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Mammoth-Mini-Golf-AR.jpg] MAMMOTH MINI GOLF AR (AVAILABLE VIA DIFFERENT DEVICES) Play mini golf in augmented reality! This is a fun game for mini golf enthusiasts, plus players don’t have to wait for a nice day to play. Just download the game and have fun anywhere…and the game appears in the real world environment. Mammoth Mini Golf AR is priced at $2.99. Kids ages four and up can play…and, of course, adults too! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/AR-Runner.jpg] AR RUNNER (ONLY VIA APPLE) Compete and get fit via augmented reality. AR Runner lets users go up against other competitors and hit checkpoints. The game allows runners to set records based on these checkpoints. AR Runner is free to download (there are in-app purchases, though). Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Egg-Inc.-1024x512.png] EGG, INC. (AVAILABLE VIA DIFFERENT DEVICES) Sell eggs, discover secrets in the eggs, hatch the eggs and build homes for hens. Users also have to find drivers! The goal is focused on creating the best (and most profitable) farm. The app is free and is suitable for anyone aged four and up! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Conduct-AR.jpg] CONDUCT AR! – TRAIN ACTION (ONLY FOR APPLE DEVICES) This game is based in the wild west. Users will act as a train conductor via augmented reality; they can solve puzzles and experience all the action right in front of them with the aid of augmented reality. The app is $4.99 and is for ages 9 and up! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/The-Machines-1024x538.png] THE MACHINES (ONLY FOR APPLE DEVICES) Battle in augmented reality! The goal is to destroy the enemy’s towers and entire base. Users can invite their friends and battle them! This game is for ages 12 and up and costs $1.99. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Augmented-Reality-Experiences.jpg] BUSINESS AND STORES THAT OFFER AUGMENTED REALITY EXPERIENCES While Apple’s App Store features a library of augmented reality games and experiences, companies and businesses also offer augmented reality experiences via their apps. These could be included within shopping apps or they may be separate app experiences. Augmented reality allows businesses and stores to provide consumers with a unique and immersive means to explore and try out products. Augmented reality helps take the guesswork out of hitting the ‘buy’ button. With augmented reality, users can swipe paint on their walls (virtually, of course), try on frames for glasses, and even preview makeup and hair colors, too. Some of the businesses and stores that offer augmented reality experiences include: Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Warby-Parker.png] WARBY PARKER Try on different frames to see which design flatters the individual! Use the phone’s camera as a mirror and then start previewing different frames. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Mary-Kay-MirrorMe.jpg] MARY KAY MIRRORME Mary Kay’s app lets customers preview different makeup products to find the colors and shades that look best. The app is an instant virtual makeover! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Ultas-GLAMlab.jpg] ULTA’S GLAMLAB Ulta offers its GLAMlab via the official store app. This augmented reality experience lets users try on all different brands of makeup. Plus, preview hair colors, too! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/IKEA-Place-1024x512.jpg] IKEA PLACE IKEA’s app uses augmented reality to let users place furniture in their space. See if a table or new couch fits the room…or flatters the design of the space. Preview many different IKEA products via the app. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Project-Color-The-Home-Depot-1024x614.jpg] PROJECT COLOR THE HOME DEPOT Find the perfect color for any room. And preview those paint hues on the wall! The app also lets users find exact paint colors from Pinterest and buy paint, too. Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Wayfair-1024x544.jpg] WAYFAIR Wayfair offers augmented reality experiences via iOS. Use the Wayfair app to preview items in a room or any home space. The app is free to download, and, yes, users can shop, too! Apple Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Use-Augmented-Reality-to-Preview-Vehicles.jpg] USERS CAN EVEN USE AUGMENTED REALITY TO PREVIEW VEHICLES! Home furnishing, makeup and eyeglasses aren’t the only consumer items that appear via augmented reality. Shoppers also can use apps like RelayCars to preview vehicles in augmented reality! RelayCars lets car shoppers view cars interactively via 3D imagery. But the app also lets users use augmented reality to drop the car into the real world environment. Augmented reality allows for users to walk around the vehicle or even just see what the car looks like in the garage or in the driveway. Augmented reality can be a valuable tool during the research phase of car buying. Unlike traditional photos, augmented reality displays a three-dimensional image of the vehicle that is to the scale of the real model. As users can actually interact with the image by walking around it and looking at different details of the vehicle, they can gain more knowledge about the design of the car. They also can use RelayCars to preview different models, too. Before augmented reality, car buyers would need to visit a dealership to see the vehicle up close. Or they had to rely on photos. Augmented reality allows buyers to size up different models to determine which one might be the best choice. Then they can do additional research on dealership sites or even Kelley Blue Book to find pricing, features or other details about the vehicle. Augmented reality tools like RelayCars can be used anytime and anywhere; the augmented reality showroom is never closed. These online tools also may mean that the buyer can spend less time on the dealership or focus on the pertinent business aspects of that dealership visit. Time can be used negotiating, going over financing and, hopefully, buying the car. AUGMENTED REALITY APPS FOR FUN AND FOR PURPOSE Those who have an Apple device can choose from a long list of augmented reality games and experiences. Augmented reality apps also can be used within store apps to help guide purchase decisions. While some of these apps come with a price tag, many are free. Augmented reality apps are often quite accessible. They don’t require a headset, and this technology can be enjoyed from anywhere. Looking to explore the world of augmented reality? Just search for ‘augmented reality’ or ‘AR’ via the App Store and start immersing into this augmented realm!
10 Best Augmented Reality Shopping Apps
November 19, 2021
In the past, augmented reality experiences were not available to everyday consumers. But that’s all changed as a result of developer tools such as Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore, which have made it easier than ever before to develop augmented reality apps for Android and iOS devices. Thanks to these tools, there are countless augmented reality apps available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. There are a wide range of augmented reality apps, including games, maps, puzzles, and educational tools. However, many augmented reality apps are designed to make shopping online easier for consumers. Here are the 10 best augmented reality shopping apps: Augmented Reality Shopping [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/IKEA-Place.jpg] IKEA PLACE IKEA was one of the first retailers to launch an augmented reality shopping app. The app, IKEA Place, simplifies the process of shopping for furniture and home decor online. How does it work? Say you are shopping for a new IKEA sofa for your living room. Use the IKEA Place app to browse the retailer’s extensive inventory. If you find a sofa you like, tap on it to launch the augmented reality feature, which will use your smartphone’s camera to scan your living room. Then, the app will project a three-dimensional, true-to-scale digital model of the selected sofa onto your real world environment. This gives you a chance to see whether the sofa will fit in your living room and how it will look with the rest of your furniture. You won’t need to worry about whether you measured the space correctly or chose the right color to complement your decor. Now you can see exactly what every piece of furniture or home decor item will look like in your home before you decide what to purchase. ZEEKIT Zeekit is an augmented reality app that allows consumers to see what clothing items will look like on their bodies while shopping online. In other words, Zeekit allows consumers to virtually try on clothing items using their smartphone or tablet. There are two ways to use this app. If you want to see how specific clothing items will look on your body, you can upload a photo of yourself to the app. Then, the app will use augmented reality technology to project the clothing onto your body in the photo. If you don’t want to upload a photo of yourself, you have the option of seeing how clothing will look like on a fit model with your exact measurements instead. A number of clothing retailers, including Zara, Rebecca Minkoff, and Amazon, have all used Zeekit to make online shopping easier for consumers. SEPHORA Before augmented reality, shopping online for cosmetics was challenging. But now, consumers can shop online for cosmetics with confidence using augmented reality tools such as Sephora’s Virtual Artist app. How does it work? If a shopper sees a cosmetic item they like, they can tap on “Try This Shade” to launch the Virtual Artist in-app feature. This will automatically open the shopper’s front-facing smartphone camera. Then, the app will use augmented reality technology to project the cosmetic onto the shopper so they can see exactly what it would look like on their face. For example, shoppers can use this feature to see what different shades of lipstick would look like on their lips. This feature allows online shoppers to virtually try on thousands of different cosmetic products without ever stepping foot in a Sephora store. Augmented Reality Shopping [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/LOreal.jpg] L’OREAL Like Sephora, L’Oreal uses augmented reality to provide a virtual cosmetic try-on experience for consumers. But in addition to cosmetics, L’Oreal also allows consumers to virtually try on different shades of hair coloring from its Garnier brand. However, shoppers cannot use this feature online. They can only use this feature if they are in a store that sells Garnier hair coloring products. To use this feature, shoppers need to download the Google Lens augmented reality app. Then, shoppers can point their smartphone camera at a box of Garnier hair coloring. The app will scan the product and automatically generate a three-dimensional, realistic model of the hair color. The shopper can then use their smartphone’s front-facing camera to see how they would look with the selected hair color. WARBY PARKER Warby Parker is another retailer that has used augmented reality technology to make online shopping more convenient for consumers. If you’re interested in purchasing a pair of Warby Parker glasses, download the brand’s app to browse their inventory. If you find a pair you like, you can use the in-app augmented reality tool to see what the glasses would look like on your face. You can virtually try on as many pairs of glasses on the Warby Parker app as you would like. The app even allows you to snap a photo of yourself virtually wearing the glasses so you can share it with your friends and family. This way, you can ask for their opinion before deciding which pair of glasses you should purchase. Augmented Reality Shopping [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Nike.jpg] NIKE In 2020, Nike added a new augmented reality feature to its app called “Nike Fit.” This in-app feature is used to help shoppers figure out what size shoe they should purchase. To use this feature, simply launch the Nike app and point your smartphone camera at your feet. The app will activate the Nike Fit feature, which uses augmented reality, machine learning, and artificial intelligence technologies to measure the size of your feet. The app is capable of measuring each foot within 2 mm of accuracy. After the app has scanned your feet, it will tell you what size shoe is right for you. This recommendation may vary depending on the shoe you are interested in purchasing. For example, if a specific style runs smaller than others, the app may recommend a slightly larger size. HOME DEPOT Home Depot launched an in-app augmented reality feature in late 2019. This feature gives online shoppers the chance to see how a specific item would look in their home. To use this feature, download the Home Depot app and start shopping for the items you need. If you find an appliance, home decor item, or piece of furniture you like, click on the product details page to see more. Then, tap on “See it in your home with 3D augmented reality.” This will pull up the app’s augmented reality tool, which will project a three-dimensional, true-to-scale digital model of the selected item onto your real world environment. You can use this feature to see how various items, including refrigerators, chandeliers, desks, rugs, and more would look in your home. DIAMOND HEDGE The Diamond Hedge augmented reality app helps shoppers find the perfect diamond engagement ring without ever stepping foot inside a jewelry store. All you need to do is open the Diamond Hedge app and point your smartphone’s camera at your hand. Then, select the diamond and setting you would like to virtually try on. The app will then automatically project a model of your selections onto your ring finger. Once your virtual ring is on your finger, you can use your other hand to adjust the size and shape of the diamond. For example, tap on “carat” to adjust the size of the diamond in the virtual ring. If you find a ring you like, snap a photo and share it with your loved ones via the app. SHERWIN WILLIAMS The Sherwin Williams ColorSnap Visualizer app is designed with an augmented reality feature called “Instant Paint.” You can use this feature to see what any shade of Sherwin Williams paint would look like on the walls in your home. All you need to do is either upload a photo of your home or point your smartphone’s camera at your walls. Then, select a shade of Sherwin Williams paint and tap on the wall you would like to virtually paint. The app will immediately apply the selected paint color onto your walls. If you like the way it looks, snap a photo so you can share it with your loved ones. You can also choose to save the paint color so you don’t forget which shade you fell in love with once you get to the store. Augmented Reality Shopping [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/RelayCars-1.jpg] RELAYCARS If you’re thinking about buying a new car, you may want to download the RelayCars virtual showroom app. This app allows you to explore thousands of different vehicles using just your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Inside the virtual showroom, you can walk around the outside of a vehicle, sit in the driver’s seat and examine the interior, and see what the vehicle would look like in different colors. Basically, the RelayCars app provides an authentic dealership showroom experience at your fingertips, so you can skip the trip to the dealership. Use the innovative RelayCars app to learn about different vehicles, compare your options, and make a purchase decision. You won’t need to go to a dealership until you are ready to make a purchase, which drastically simplifies and shortens the entire car buying process. These are some of the many augmented reality shopping apps that are available for download on smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices. Thanks to augmented reality technology, consumers can use these apps to shop online with confidence.
Here’s How Teachers Can Use Augmented Reality in the Classroom!
November 17, 2021
Augmented reality is part of everyday life for many consumers. In the car, augmented reality is used in navigation systems like backup cameras and heads-up displays that show hazards, directional assistance and other driving data. Teens and children play augmented reality games (like Pokemon GO). Teachers also may be using augmented reality in the classroom. There are a number of apps and programs featuring augmented reality that can be used to help students immerse and explore their world and even tour different countries. While some teachers have already integrated this tech into their classroom, those who are new to augmented reality might choose to check out these apps and use them to add a more immersive element to their lesson plans. Augmented Reality in the Classroom [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Augmented-Reality-Apps-for-Science-Exploration.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY APPS FOR SCIENCE EXPLORATION Science teachers can use a variety of augmented reality apps to enhance specific units and topics. Augmented reality can help students understand human anatomy, explore outer space and even find data about the flora and fauna in their own backyard. Use these augmented reality apps for science exploration: BIG BANG AR Tilda Swinton and CERN scientists help explain the creation of the universe. Users can fully immerse in the experience thanks to mixed reality. Students can even explode a star! And they can even hold the Earth! The app is free to download, and this can be a unique way for students to better understand the Big Bang and the beginnings of the universe. However, some schools may have different opinions regarding the instruction about the beginnings of the Earth and universe, and this app might not appeal to all districts or schools. SEEK BY INATURALIST Seek lets students find out all about the plants, animals and insects that live in their backyard or even outside their school. Seek isn’t augmented reality in that the elements can be dropped into the real space. Instead, students use the camera function on their phone to discover their surroundings. Use the camera to highlight a specific plant or bug. Hold the camera on the object, and Seek will begin the identification process. Data about the plant, animal or insect will then appear over the captured image. This app can help students learn more about native plants and species in their area. In addition, Seek also includes different challenges, and these can let students (or users) score different badges. Teachers can use the app to encourage students to find different species or to simply explore their surroundings. PHYSICS LAB AR Use the power of augmented reality to conduct physics experiments. This app allows the phone to become a science lab. No materials are needed, and teachers also won’t have to deal with any cleanup. Safety also isn’t a concern, because the experiments are all virtual (or augmented!). Students can build their own circuits or even create their own universe. The app is designed for users ages four and up! HOLOLAB AR Hololab AR allows students to explore many different science topics via augmented reality. Subjects include: animals/ecology, aerodynamics, space, electricity and more. Hololab even includes an AI tutor named Scout that helps guide lessons. In addition, students also can enjoy games via the app. Hololab AR is appropriate for students four and up…and it’s free! SKYVIEW LITE Explore the solar system with SkyView Lite. Using the camera from the phone, users can identify the constellations in the sky and get more information about the universe. The constellations can even appear in any room or environment, too! Enable location data to get the most details from the app. The app can be used to help explore the solar system or to help students visualize constellations and other celestial bodies. SkyView doesn’t require a clear sky, and, again, the sky data for every region can appear in any environment. HISTORY AND ART Augmented reality also can be used to take students on virtual tours of historic sites and other countries…without a passport. Use augmented reality to take students on an immersive journey and explore destinations from their textbooks. CIVILISATIONS AR The BBC lets users explore different historic sites via augmented reality. Get up close with sculptures and different artifacts. Users can even look inside an Egyptian sarcophagus and explore artwork. GOOGLE ARTS AND CULTURE Google Arts and Culture lets users explore different sites, although not every experience features augmented reality. However, there also are numerous augmented reality tours of museums from across the globe. FOR LANGUAGE ARTS, CHECK OUT BOOKFUL! Even books can come to life thanks to augmented reality! Bookful: Kids’ Books and Games includes books with augmented reality features that allow children to enjoy the immersive excitement of the story. The app even features an augmented Elmo! Kids can explore all the characters and stories! While Bookful is free to download, the app does feature in-app purchases. Augmented Reality in the Classroom [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Augmented-Reality-for-Medical-Studies.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY FOR MEDICAL STUDIES While many augmented reality apps can be used by primary and secondary students, those in higher education who are immersed in courses for medical studies may also benefit from using augmented reality apps. LUKE AR Luke AR allows anatomy lessons to go anywhere. Drop in a life-size skeleton and learn all about the different body systems. Luke AR lets the user choose the different systems to view. Study anatomy from anywhere. The app is appropriate for ages 12 and up. COMPLETE ANATOMY ‘22 The app uses Gray’s Anatomy and it features an augmented reality mode. There are more than 1,500 videos, and Complete Anatomy even includes a dissection course. The app is free and for ages 12 and up; there are in-app purchase options included in the app. Dissection Master XR Dissect a cadaver in augmented reality. With this app, students can examine seven layers of the head and thorax. Download it for free! IS AUGMENTED REALITY THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL LEARNING? There could be many augmented reality apps that teachers can use to enhance the classroom experience and to help students immerse into instruction. Could these apps become even more prominent in the future? Is augmented reality the future of learning? Augmented reality apps include experiences that can help automotive students learn more about repairs, they can help medical students identify anatomy and they can even let students (or anyone!) explore the universe. These apps can be downloaded via phones and other devices. But tech giants may have another device available that could possibly—one day!—be incorporated into the classroom: augmented reality glasses! There currently is not a mainstream consumer-oriented augmented reality model of glasses. Yet, many companies are working on this technology. These wearables could open up the possibility of other augmented reality experiences, especially for classroom learning. While virtual reality goggles are bulky and expensive, augmented reality glasses could be a more affordable option. But no one knows what features these glasses would include. For now, the future of augmented reality glasses is mere speculation. Yet, years ago, we likely didn’t think that students would have one-to-one computing options. Now many students have their own laptop or Chromebook that they use for all their assignments. The idea of every student having a computer was once beyond comprehension because of the cost. As computers have become cheaper, now they are ubiquitous in learning. They are as commonplace as the textbook. When—and if!—augmented reality glasses become a consumer commodity, it might be quite some time for their price to fall to a range that makes them accommodating to schools. But like the computer, augmented reality glasses could be the future of learning. Maybe one day, students will wear augmented reality glasses and experience different lessons in an immersive environment. What if they see the solar system appear before their eyes. Or are able to take an augmented reality tour of the Great Pyramids of Giza. What if frog dissection is permanently replaced by an augmented reality experience? Perhaps young elementary school students get to read books that feature augmented reality elements. Who knows what tech company will launch the consumer augmented reality glasses or what they will look like. We could only speculate what features these glasses will include. Maybe they can download augmented reality apps, but maybe not. In the meantime, though, phones and tablets allow students and teachers to download and enjoy numerous augmented reality experiences that can enhance lessons…and fuel curiosity. Even if teachers don’t integrate these apps into the curriculum, students can still enhance their learning by exploring these unique apps. As technology constantly upgrades, so, too, will the app experience. Google Play and Apple’s App Store may add more augmented reality apps in the future, and students and teachers can keep their eyes open for new experiences. How can students and teachers find all the available apps? The best way to find augmented reality apps is to just search for a subject and AR…so Science AR or History AR. For all the augmented reality apps available, though, users can search for AR or augmented reality. Teachers also can look into any app offered by educational sites or companies. Some textbooks might offer apps that feature augmented reality, too! Explore and immerse yourself for a fully interactive learning experience!
How Snapchat Uses Augmented Reality
November 15, 2021
Snapchat is an instant messaging app that was launched in 2011. The app initially focused on offering person-to-person instant messaging services. In fact, it was widely known for its disappearing message feature, which allowed users to send messages that would automatically disappear after they were viewed by the recipient. But since its initial launch, Snapchat has become much more than just an instant messaging app. It now gives its nearly 300 million users access to many other features, including branded content, stories, and video messaging. Snapchat has grown exponentially over the last decade, and experts believe that it will continue to experience growth in the future. This is partly due to the company’s investment in innovative technologies such as augmented reality. How does Snapchat use augmented reality technology? Here’s what you need to know: SNAPCHAT & AUGMENTED REALITY Snapchat has used augmented reality technology to introduce a number of new and exciting products and in-app features, including: * Snapchat Spectacles * Lenses * Lens Studio * Snap Camera How Snapchat Uses Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Snapchat-Spectacles.jpg] SNAPCHAT SPECTACLES The first pair of Spectacles, which are Snapchat’s line of smart glasses, was introduced in 2016. The first version of Snapchat’s smart glasses were not powered by augmented reality. Instead, these glasses were designed to record videos that would automatically be uploaded to the wearer’s Snapchat account. However, the company revealed that they planned on incorporating augmented reality technology into future versions of the product. Since 2016, Snapchat has released several other versions of Spectacles. In 2021, the company finally revealed the first pair of Spectacles powered by augmented reality technology. Unfortunately, Snapchat’s augmented reality glasses are not available to consumers. Instead, the company has offered them to a select group of popular Snapchat content creators. These glasses allow the wearer to overlay Snapchat’s popular lenses directly onto their real world environment. For example, someone who is wearing the glasses on the beach could project dolphins jumping out of the water onto their real world environment. No one would be able to see the digital projections besides the person wearing the glasses. This creates an immersive, unforgettable experience for the wearer. Experts believe that Snapchat will eventually release a pair of augmented reality glasses that will be available to consumers. However, the company still has a long way to go to perfect their design. For instance, the battery life on the newest version of Spectacles only lasts for about 30 minutes. Issues like these must be addressed before the product is sold to consumers. How Snapchat Uses Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Lenses.jpg] LENSES Snapchat’s “Lens” feature was introduced in 2015. This feature, which is powered by augmented reality technology, allows users to change the way they and the world around them look. You can use this feature to add three-dimensional effects, characters, objects, and other digital elements onto the messages you send or stories you post within the app. For example, if you want to send a silly selfie, use this feature to add a pair of dog ears to the top of your head. You can also change the world around you by projecting digital objects, images, and characters onto your real world environment. This is one of the most popular features on Snapchat. It’s not just popular among consumers, either. Advertisers love it, too. Many brands are using custom Snapchat Lenses to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. For instance, TULA, a skincare brand, used Snapchat’s Lenses to promote a new eye cream. The company created a custom Lens that showed users what they would look like if they used the eye cream as directed. Other brands, including Puma and Dior, have created custom Lenses that allow consumers to virtually try on products through the app. Consumers can see exactly what they would look like wearing a clothing item or accessory before deciding whether they should purchase it. This makes it easier for consumers to shop with confidence online. LENS STUDIO Lens Studio is a Snapchat application that allows anyone to build custom lenses for the Snapchat app. This application is designed for people of all skill levels, which means you don’t need to have tech experience to build your own lens. You can either design a lens from scratch within Lens Studio or import a custom lens you created in your favorite 2D or 3D software. If you choose the former option, you can build your own lens from the ground up or start with a template from Snapchat’s extensive library. Once you’re satisfied with your lens, publish it so the entire Snapchat community can use it. SNAP CAMERA Snap Camera is another Snapchat feature supported by augmented reality technology. Similar to Lenses, Snap Camera allows you to overlay digital elements onto yourself or your real world environment using the power of augmented reality technology. However, Snap Camera is designed solely for video chats rather than video or images sent via instant message. For example, say you need to attend a video conference with your co-workers. You can use Snap Camera to accessorize your outfit, put on a funny disguise, or change your background so your co-workers can’t see your messy bedroom. Unlike Snapchat, Snap Camera is not available on mobile devices. You must download Snap Camera on a desktop computer and connect it to your group chat or live stream to use it. WHO ARE SNAPCHAT’S COMPETITORS IN THE AUGMENTED REALITY MARKET? Snapchat isn’t the only tech company that is investing heavily in augmented reality technology. Many other companies have decided to go all in on developing augmented reality products. Some of Snapchat’s main competitors in the augmented reality market include: * Facebook * Apple * Google How Snapchat Uses Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Facebook.jpg] FACEBOOK Facebook has quickly become a major player in the augmented reality market. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear that the company is in the process of developing an augmented reality device, most likely smart glasses. There’s no telling when these glasses will be available, but they will compete directly with Snapchat’s Spectacles once they are released. For now, Facebook is working on releasing a pair of glasses without augmented reality capabilities. Facebook also has several in-app augmented reality features for consumers and brands. Brands that choose to advertise on Facebook can enhance their ads with augmented reality technology. Many brands, including Michael Kors, Samsung, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz, have already taken advantage of this feature. Facebook also launched Spark AR Studio, which is similar to Snapchat’s Lens Studio. Spark AR Studio allows users to create and share their own custom augmented reality experiences. Just like Lens Studio, Spark AR Studio is designed for users of all skill levels, which means anyone can build an augmented reality experience regardless of their tech-savviness. Once you are satisfied with your creation, you can publish it and share it with billions of other Facebook users. These are just several ways in which Facebook is using augmented reality technology to provide a better experience for consumers and advertisers. APPLE Apple is another tech company that has invested heavily in augmented reality technology. Like Facebook and Snapchat, Apple is also hard at work developing an augmented reality wearable for consumers. Apple has not released a lot of information about their plans to the public. But based on patent filings, experts believe that the company is in the process of developing an augmented reality and virtual reality headset. This headset will be similar in size and weight to the Oculus Quest, which is a virtual reality headset manufactured by Facebook. However, the Apple device is rumored to have both virtual and augmented reality capabilities. There’s also Apple’s ARKit, which makes it easier for developers to build augmented reality apps for consumers. Just like Lens Studio and Spark AR Studio, Apple’s ARKit is made for developers of all skill levels. You can use this toolkit to build an augmented reality app even if you have no prior experience. Thanks to this toolkit, there are countless augmented reality apps available for download in the Apple App Store. How Snapchat Uses Augmented Reality [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Google.jpg] GOOGLE Google has launched a number of augmented reality products over the last several years. One of these products is ARCore, which is similar to Apple’s ARKit. ARCore allows developers to build custom augmented reality apps and experiences that can be sold in the Google Play store. Google has also used augmented reality technology to enhance its famous Maps product. To use this feature, all you need to do is tap on “Live View” in Google Maps. Then, the app will use augmented reality technology to project digital arrows, road signs, and other objects onto your real world environment. This makes it easier for you to figure out where you need to go to get to your final destination. You can even use augmented reality when performing a Google search. Now, Google allows you to superimpose objects you see in the search results onto your real world environment. This gives you a chance to learn more about the objects you are searching for by looking at them up close. These are just some examples of the competition that Snapchat faces in the increasingly crowded augmented reality market. As the competition in this market continues to heat up, Snapchat and other tech companies will need to continue to find new and exciting ways to use augmented reality in order to stay ahead.
What’s The Best Soccer Mom Car?
November 15, 2021
Fall is soccer season, and, for many kids, the season is filled with weekend games and weekday practice sessions. Meanwhile, parents are tasked with hauling all that gear to and from the fields. If mom and dad act as a coach, the car might be filled with nets, balls, and other equipment for practices and games. Parents of athletes might be lugging extra equipment, a cooler filled with snacks and drinks, or extra clothes for their children to change into after practice. What is the best soccer mom car? While the choice of vehicle can vary depending on mom (or dad!), the car will need room for gear and other necessities. Here are a few picks for the best soccer mom car for practice, and tournaments and to hit the road for daily errands, too. Best Soccer Mom Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Volvo-Station-Wagons.jpg] VOLVO STATION WAGONS As a nod to the song from Everclear, a Volvo station wagon (or any Volvo) might just be the ideal and perhaps even stereotypical soccer mom car. Wagons offer enough room for the family and extra team members, too (for the carpool). Plus the back storage provides plenty of space for coolers and equipment. Opt for leather seats for easier clean up after games and practices. Best Soccer Mom Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Tesla-Model-3-SR.jpg] TESLA MODEL 3 SR+ Why Tesla? Players whose teams are competing at the select level may be visiting multiple tournaments per season. And, for parents, these tournaments may or may not be near the home. If the team schedule requires that parents drive hours out of the way for tournaments or for seasonal games, opt for a Tesla. The 2020 Tesla Model 3 SR+ boasts 140+ MPGe. In addition, other Tesla models also achieve more than 100 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). Electric vehicles are the most energy-efficient options, and they can be the best choice for soccer moms and dads who need to travel cross-country for the next soccer tournament. Best Soccer Mom Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Honda-Odyssey.jpg] HONDA ODYSSEY As one of the most popular minivans on the market, the Honda Odyssey is the perfect family vehicle for shuttling kids to and from school and sports games. For soccer players who need space for extra gear, the Odyssey also has plenty of cargo room for equipment. Moms or dads in charge of carpooling players to practice and games also have enough seating capacity for multiple players. In addition, the 2021 model features Magic Slide seats for easy access to the back row of seating. And seats fold down, too! Best Soccer Mom Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Toyota-RAV4.jpg] TOYOTA RAV4 Kelley Blue Book ranked the RAV4 as best safety-rated SUV for 2020. The RAV-4 is considered a small SUV, but it still offers plenty of cargo space for basic soccer gear…plus enough seating for five passengers. While this might not be ideal for those with large families, the RAV-4 could be ideal for those with smaller families or who just need to carpool a few players. Buyers also could opt for all-wheel drive for additional control and performance…and for those field parking possibilities! Best Soccer Mom Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Audi-e-tron-SUV.jpg] AUDI E-TRON SUV Families who want a full-size luxury SUV to trek to games and tourneys in style can opt for one of IIHS’s top safety picks. The Audi e-tron is an electric-powered SUV, which means that this SUV isn’t prone to the gas-guzzling tendencies often associated with larger SUV models. The e-tron can get more than 70 miles per gallon (equivalent). The e-tron has space for five passengers. However, the full-size e-tron also features four-wheel drive. Do parents necessarily want to off-road with the e-tron? Likely not. But can the car tackle obstacles? Yes, it can! Best Soccer Mom Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Best-Midsize-Sedans-for-Soccer-Moms.jpg] BEST MIDSIZE SEDANS FOR SOCCER MOMS Looking for a moderately priced mid-size sedan to get to and from all those games and tournaments? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated these 2021 models as Top Safety Pick+ winners in the midsize sedan category: * 2021 Honda Accord (4-door) * 2021-2022 Kia K5 (4-door) * 2021 Mazda 6 (4-door) * 2021 Nissan Altima (4-door) * 2021 Nissan Maxima (4-door) * 2021 Subaru Legacy (4-door) * 2021 Subaru Outback (4-door wagon) * 2021-2022 Toyota Camry (4-door) BUDGET-CONSCIOUS CHOICES Some moms might just want a car that is ideal for the travel between practices, games and home. The car might just be a convenient commuter option with space for gear and the family. Every family might have a different budget, and when finances are a bit more limited, used vehicles can be the best way to save money. Families need to figure out how much they can spend and their cargo/space needs, too. Soccer isn’t necessarily an equipment-laden sport, although for certain positions, there could be more gear. In addition, coaches may need space for practice nets, extra balls and cones for drills. SUVs and minivans may be the best choices for those who need a lot of cargo space. Used vehicles can be found for a range of prices; while low, low prices might be available (less than $5K), these budget options could be older or have high mileage. Parents who have a minimal budget also can find their safest model options by consulting the IIHS web site, which offers a tool for looking up the safety ratings. Best Soccer Mom Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Shopping-for-the-Best-Soccer-Mom-Car.jpg] SHOPPING FOR THE BEST SOCCER MOM CAR Every family has their own preferences for what defines the ideal vehicle for their needs. Some may want luxury, others might want electric (and luxury!). There are those who are shopping on a budget and some who just want a safe midsize sedan. If the search results are too plentiful or even too limited, RelayCars lets buyers get more specific in their criteria by adding specifications or even expanding their search radius (for more results). The toolbars help buyers find exactly what they want or even just modify their search to find more other options. Buyers could start out searching for a specific model, for example, but then they can opt to expand their search to include all SUV options or certain size sedans with specific features. RelayCars simplifies the car buying process and allows buyers to do all the research work from home. This allows them to spend less time at the dealership and be more purpose-driven. Visiting the dealership can be reserved for test drives and for completing the credit application and finalizing the deal. Buyers don’t have to wander around the lot or the showroom. They don’t have to spend hours waiting to be qualified for financing. The process can be much less stressful.
Where are the Augmented Reality Smart Glasses for Consumers?
November 12, 2021
Augmented reality smart glasses have been the high-tech carrot being dangled in front of tech-savvy consumers for so long that it’s seriously difficult to keep track anymore. There has been buzz in major tech media and by tech journalists about these glasses. Companies like Facebook have expressed their interest in this technology. And everyone who follows Apple news knows that the Apple glasses have been rumbling seemingly forever. Where are the augmented reality smart glasses for consumers!!!??? WANT SOME VIRTUAL REALITY GLASSES, INSTEAD? The topic of consumer-driven and consumer-focused augmented reality glasses is frustrating. While, yes, there are augmented reality glasses available, these aren’t really aimed at the general consumer. Instead they are enterprise-focused. Although the Vuzix Blade Upgraded could be an option…there’s more on those glasses later! Consumers could buy something similar, but the glasses everyone is waiting for are glasses that are fun and maybe offer cool features. Yet, no one has dropped these glasses. So what is a tech-hungry consumer to do? There’s always virtual reality. For those who want to immerse themselves in another realm, there are many virtual reality headsets on the market. These are a bit cumbersome, but they are really cool. Many are used for PC gaming; these headsets take the gaming experience to a new level. But consumers don’t have to use the headsets for games. There are other experiences, too. Interested in what’s available? Check out Steam and find experiences that are compatible with different headsets. Could tech companies completely brush over augmented reality and instead launch some virtual reality glasses? Who really knows for sure…but probably not. Companies like Facebook are very interested in augmented reality, and this technology has a lot of unique potential for the consumer market. Augmented Reality Smart Glasses [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Whats-the-Delay-on-Augmented-Reality-Smart-Glasses.jpg] WHAT’S THE DELAY ON AUGMENTED REALITY SMART GLASSES? Technology is a process. Designers and companies eying a product like augmented reality smart glasses likely want to get the product as close to perfect as possible. The last thing any major company wants is to drop a product that’s flawed, glitched or, even worse, has safety issues. Tech giants are going to iron out any known issues before dropping anything. And these glasses can’t be designed and programmed overnight. Capabilities of the glasses also could cause delays. Maybe the capabilities are still evolving. No one really knows. While there is buzz on these glasses, until a pair is actually announced, it’s all just talk…and speculation. ARE THERE ANY SMART GLASSES ON THE MARKET? While there aren’t really any consumer-driven augmented reality smart glasses, consumers can buy regular smart glasses. These obviously won’t feature any augmented reality graphics, but they could interact with smart home systems or even virtual assistants. Wareable News reports that those who are interested in the latest smart glasses can check out Ray-Ban Stories (a Facebook product); this was the much-hyped collaboration between Facebook and Ray-Ban. The initial tease of the product didn’t give much info about how the glasses would look and what they might feature. Now the much-awaited glasses are officially for sale via Ray-Ban. They come in three frame styles: Round, Wayfarer and Meteor. These glasses are priced just under $300 and let users take video or pictures, listen to music, take calls and even share via social media. They can include prescription lenses for those who need/want that option. Amazon also offers its own smart glasses, and these can interact with Alexa. Users can even control their smart-powered home with the glasses. As for the price, the frames cost $249. They also can be customized with prescription lenses. Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, launched the Snap Spectacles glasses. While these can include augmented reality features, they are not augmented reality glasses. In addition, the Spectacles aren’t available for the average consumer. Only top creators can purchase these cool glasses, and they can be used to help enhance social media content. WILL FACEBOOK OR APPLE LAUNCH THE AR SMART GLASSES FIRST? When Facebook officially launched its smart glasses with Ray-Ban, Reuters mentioned in an article about the launch that Facebook noted in the previous year that full augmented reality glasses were about five years to a decade away. Do consumers really have that long to wait for cool augmented reality glasses? Maybe or maybe not. If the individual has money to spend, the Vuzix Blade Upgraded could be an augmented reality in eyeglass form. While many consumers are waiting for slick, sleek and chic new glasses from Apple and Facebook, Vuzix does have a pair for purchase. However, these glasses might not be the designer-looking frames some consumers crave. While the style is a little modern and perhaps even space-age, the glasses feature very cool augmented reality capabilities. They also include voice control, speakers and an upgraded 8-megapixel camera. Wareable News explains that Zoom and even Netflix can be enjoyed via these glasses, and users also can stream music and even play games. However, the Vuzix Blade Upgraded is an investment at $799.99. Augmented Reality Smart Glasses [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Enjoying-Augmented-Reality.jpg] ENJOYING AUGMENTED REALITY…SANS GLASSES While not every consumer can afford the Vuzix Blade and as many wait patiently—or impatiently!—for Facebook, Apple, Google or one of the other major tech giants to unveil cool new augmented reality smart glasses, there are other ways to explore and enjoy augmented reality. Augmented reality is actually one of the more accessible technologies. While, yes, augmented reality glasses would be cool, users don’t need glasses to experience this technology. With virtual reality, a headset is generally required, but augmented reality just requires a smartphone or a tablet. Whether consumers have a new or newish iPhone or an Android device, they can explore many augmented reality games and experiences. Finding augmented reality via a phone or device is easy, just search for ‘augmented reality’ or even ‘AR’ in either the App Store or via Google Play. The results will be plentiful. And many of these apps are free! However, some may offer in-app purchases, but this is more of a concern for those with children. Phones typically offer a way to turn off or disable in-app purchases. There are many popular augmented reality games. Top augmented reality game titles include Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and Jurassic World Alive. There are even apps/games that use augmented reality to help users push their run or walk a little faster; try Zombies, Run! to race away from zombies and get in shape! Apps also include cool augmented reality experiences that let users explore their world. These apps are great for kids and adults alike. For example, Seek by iNature lets users capture a plant, animal or bug using their camera screen to find out the species and more details. This is a great app to use on hikes or exploring new areas. It might even help spot plants to avoid like Poison Ivy. Augmented reality technology also can be found throughout our daily habits. For example, many modern vehicle models include augmented reality in navigation systems. Check out the backup camera; it typically shows the rear view of the car with graphic grid lines that detail the turning radius. Those lines are augmented reality! GPS systems also use augmented reality. And newer luxury cars offer heads-up displays that show drive data in front of the driver. These displays show arrow prompts for upcoming turns, speed, upcoming hazards (like pointing out a bicyclist) and more. Augmented reality also can be used to shop for favorite products. Many businesses offer augmented reality try-on experiences to let customers preview products. Some cosmetics brands or stores offer augmented reality previews of lipstick, eyeshadow or other products. Sites like RelayCars even let consumers use augmented reality to preview cars. Select a model from the online inventory and drop the vehicle into the real environment. Consumers can view the car anywhere, including the driveway or garage. Using the phone they can walk around that car model and explore other details, too. AUGMENTED REALITY SMART GLASSES IN THE FUTURE So will those augmented reality smart glasses drop anytime in the near future? That depends on the company! No one knows what tech company will unveil these glasses for consumers first or when. The price also is a big question mark. If Facebook’s smart glasses with Ray-Ban cost almost $300, glasses that integrate augmented reality might be much more of an investment. But, again, this is only a best guess. Facebook might take five years or even almost a decade before they unveil a consumer-focused augmented reality pair of glasses. The company is very focused on this technology, but, again, so are other tech companies (including Apple). For now, though, consumers who have the means to invest a bit more money can try out Vuzix Blade Upgraded. But even those without a bigger budget can experience augmented reality. Even as many consumers wait for new glasses, this technology is still available at our fingertips. Search for free augmented reality apps and games via the App Store and Google Play. And explore all the different and unique iterations of augmented reality…for a nominal price (and, often…free!).