The Age of Augmented Reality Is Here
LEGO is a brand that’s doing mobile AR right. We’ve all been playing with their colored blocks since we were kids, imagining dragons roaring over the castles we build and sirens screaming through the towns we construct. Now you can point your device at your blocks and see your imagination come to life. It’s a great example of an old brand embracing new tech to give their fans another reason to stay loyal.
This type of AR tends to be extremely immersive. It can bring an environment to life, adding depth, dimension, and otherworldly effects to any public or private event space. While it’s the closest thing we have to screen-less AR, it’s very site-specific and requires a dimly lit setting for optimal visuals. If you want to ‘transport’ people in a space without the need to use VR, which can be very isolating and intrusive in an event, projection mapping is your friend.
Travel companies have used it to transform entire environments into various destinations, taking guests on an AR vacation of sorts. Automotive and aerospace companies have also used projection mapping to create AR experiences when debuting new vehicles in showrooms and at events. These dazzling displays are usually on the theatrical side, but they still visualize compelling information for an audience. Imagine seeing a car change colors before your eyes, or watching hidden engineering features come into view as digital projections peel away the outer layers of a vehicle.
Lowe’s has done a nice job of bringing this tech to life with the Lowe’s Hologram Experience. Shoppers put on a HoloLens and use their fingers to “install” and swap appliances, mixing digital objects with the real world to get a clear preview of how rooms would look with different products. This is a good model for home decorating, and gives brands a solid starting point for making the technology work in their favor.
This will usher in a new age of computing and the next phase of internet. Much like your mobile device knows much about you, the HMD of the future will store a vast collection of data points enabling hyper-personalized and contextual experiences throughout the day. The digital and physical worlds will merge, with the user customizing their daily experiences. They’ll view the world the way they want, and the world will respond back. A simple example is a room being a different color for every person who enters, so long as they’re wearing their HMD.
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