If you want to provide an unforgettable and space-age element to a huge range of scenarios, why not consider using augmented reality (AR)?

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AR is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.

Using a smartphone or tablet for instance, you can view buildings, books, posters or other items, and AR adds layers of information such as video, photos, and additional data.

On a larger scale, AR has been used to create virtual dressing rooms in retail outlets. The shopper, simply selects items to try from the store’s inventory, then, as the shopper stands in front of a full-length mirror which is actually a giant screen, the computer overlays incredibly realistic 3D renders of clothing on to the shopper’s image. The shopper can twist, turn, bend and twirl, and the virtual clothing moves with them. It’s a clever way of enhancing the retail experience and increasing footfall.

Students can also use AR to brush up on maths and geography, and can even point a phone at the sky and learn about astronomy. Used alongside 3D motion tracking technology, AR makes great gaming experiences. In the ‘Swing-top Challenge’ that we created for Grolsch, players step into a game cube, which is equipped with a screen and 3D camera. Players see themselves on the screen and attempt to catch and open virtual Grolsch bottles as they fly across the screen.

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