- interactive AR instructions;
- remote assistance;
- digital twins with real-time data display of automated process control systems;
- museum expositions and AR installations.
60 billion (!) dollars in 2023
Augmented Reality (AR) is the fastest growing market of modern visual technologies, which according to experts will have reached the volume of $60 billion by 2023 ($11,4 billion in 2018). What's interesting, it will have exceeded the volume of the virtual reality market by 3 times.
What is augment reality?
First of all, let’s make clear what AR is. Augmented reality integrates real world with virtual objects (in most cases three-dimensional ones). Unlike virtual reality, which requires you to inhabit an entirely virtual environment, augmented reality uses your existing natural environment and simply supplements virtual information on top of it. As both virtual and real worlds harmoniously coexist, AR users experience a new and improved natural world where virtual information is used as a tool to provide assistance in everyday activities.
For example, we take a look at a car wheel through the lens of smart glasses. In augmented reality we see not only the wheel itself but also a detailed step-by-step instruction on its replacement. The instruction consists of animated images, which are automatically projected on top of the real image of the wheel. This way of presenting information greatly facilitates understanding of the installation process for any person who has never done it before.
Or else, a production supervisor, walking through a workshop in Microsoft HoloLens headset immediately sees information on the performance of each machine, volume of defective goods and current compliance rate. Any buyer in a store can get information about the ingredient list of a product by pointing his or her smartphone at it as well as see today's discounts or play a promotional game, get points and receive some goods for free.
Why do we need AR?
Applications of augmented reality technology are truly unlimited. School classes and night clubs, museums and surgery rooms, shops and battlefields: you can add extra information or small virtual tips everywhere. However, AR can also offer its opportunities to industrial enterprises. Augmented reality can help to gain unique insight into many different processes, such as manufacturing, assembly, construction or training. Furthermore, there are digital twins, remote assistance apps, operating instructions for equipment maintenance – provide significant time and cost savings, while expanding the skills of employees.
How does it work?
Augmented reality technology is based on detecting images in the camera’s view of a device. In simple cases, the system recognizes markers, which are special (usually black-and-white) images on real objects. More complex algorithms, called markerless technology, could recognize any image if showed previously to the system. Even more advanced systems recognize three-dimensional objects - 3D markers. Finally, the most developed systems today, such as Microsoft HoloLens, create 3D markers themselves in accordance with the given algorithms. And finally, the most advanced technologies, used in Microsoft HoloLens or ARKit / ARCore packages, analyze the surrounding space and builds its 3D model.
The concept of mixed reality (MR) is closely connected to augmented reality. For example, when a player is immersed in game environment. Mixed reality is very similar to AR, it also integrates real and virtual objects. Without going into detail, we can say that augmented reality is when real world environment prevails with some supplementary virtual elements. On the contrary, mixed reality is virtual elements dominate the environment.
United 3D Labs specialists have extensive experience of working with augmented reality technologies. We develop AR solutions for mobile devices, headsets and desktop computers. We also deliver solutions for iOS, Android and Windows platforms. Our specialists will be glad to demonstrate them to you in our showroom.