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What Type Of Augmented Reality Can Fit Your Need?

While some people are still ignorant of the augmented reality technology, some others have started hearing about it, but are still confused about how it works and all. After gaining some good deal of understanding, about this technology, as with any other, the big question in the mind of anyone is; how can I make use of this technology? What can I do with it? So, you might be wondering what type of augmented reality can fit your need.

Image via Wikitude

Gaming and entertainment took the lead in popularising augmented reality. It is understandable, especially when it comes to the consumer aspect. People are generally more drawn to fun and entertaining activities. But over to the enterprise side of things, gaming and entertainment are not the only areas where augmented reality is being applied.

AR has made its way into driving, health, e-commerce, advertising, manufacturing, education, etc. And while it is still being developed, we will see it being used in more fields and for more activities. This is mainly because it is enhancing how we interact and relate with our environment and real-world objects.

The potentials of this technology are enormous, but whether we choose to discuss what can become of it or focus on what it has already become, implementation is key. In other words, how it is being used is a major factor in how much it can and will do.

What type of augmented reality should you use?

The answer to this question depends on various things, especially on what exactly you are trying to achieve with AR. Well, since basically, augmented reality overlays the physical world with digital information, then certain questions are important in determining what type to use:

  • What digital information do you want to display on the camera view?
  • Where do you want it displayed?

Augmented reality takes different forms, and your answers to these questions would determining how this technology should be implemented, which shows what type of AR you will need.

Sometimes the digital content to be displayed would depend on the presence of certain elements in the user’s environment, and at other times it wouldn’t need anything in particular, but just output the virtual information. It is also possible to trigger the interaction based on a person’s location. Each of these situations requires different types of augmented reality to achieve the desired result.

Marker-based augmented reality

Image via Wikitude

This is probably the most common type of augmented reality, as many applications are built around it. It works basically through image recognition. When a user captures a visual of their environment using a device camera, there will be a particular visual element which serves as a “marker” that will trigger a response from the augmented reality application once it recognizes it.

Such a response might be to display certain digital information like images, play a video or animation, or prompt some actions from the user.

To use this type of AR you need a unique shape or picture that will be placed on a surface (for instance a page in a book). This picture should have unique visual elements that make it easily recognizable. It could be a diagram on a printed page, a logo, brochure, barcode, etc

Also, you need to build into an application the interactions you want the user to experience. These interactions will be triggered by the marker once a user’s camera captures it using the app.

This type of AR works well for marketing purposes, like displaying additional product information, triggered by a visual element from the product’s packaging or marketing material. This is also the type of AR that works with AR business cards to display more information about the card owner than what can ordinarily be contained in the small card.

You can also use it for providing real-time expert support remotely. Watch this video:

Markerless AR

For the marker-based AR, a visual element determines where the virtual object will be displayed. However, for markerless AR, the user determines where the virtual object will be placed. This means that a user can move the virtual object to different places or points on the display screen.

You will need this when all you want to do is place a 3D object in front of the user, without regard to the user’s environment or the presence of a particular feature. An example of this is the IKEA Place app, which allows users to try out pieces of furniture in their homes and see how they fit into different spaces. Users can actually move the furniture about or try different variations.

Location-based AR

Location-based AR brings the virtual world into the real world by placing virtual objects in real-world places, like streets. This is the type of AR that powers games like Pokemon Go.

If you played the game, you know you had to go around your neighborhood or step out on the street to locate, capture and battle virtual objects, known as Pokemon. These virtual objects showed up like they were present in your real world, and as you moved physically, your avatar moved inside the game’s map and brought you closer to them. 

As the name implies, the virtual objects are tied to specific locations. While it is being used to make gaming experiences look more real, this type of AR can also be used for marketing campaigns, by implementing an AR experience around a particular location, and users can view it via their mobile device when they are around that area.

Here are some cases where it is being used:

  • Help customers find sales outlets
  • Game experience
  • On-site navigation (to provide map directions displayed on the roads as users view through their phones

To determine what type of augmented reality would fit your need, it is important to, first of all, establish that need. Knowing what you want to achieve will tell what type will be implemented to create the solution you desire.

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