Illumination

Insights and trends on augmented reality and advanced manufacturing technology
27July2017

8 Industries Benefitting from Augmented Reality

Remember when it took companies several years to embrace new technologies?

In a world where the business landscape is rapidly shifting and consumer preferences are evolving even faster, companies can no longer afford to wait and watch their competitors innovate and excel with the latest tools.

Augmented reality is one technology that has emerged as an innovative force in several high-caliber industries. The sheer number of applications AR provides has enterprises looking to discover new ways of leveraging the digital world to improve the physical world.

Here at OPS Solutions, we focus primarily on AR for manufacturing and Light Guide Systems’ projection AR technology is used to transform manufacturing and assembly processes at companies in several sectors around the globe.

We’re still excited about other types and uses for AR however, and below is a brief overview of a few of the many ways augmented reality is being used by different industries:

Healthcare

The healthcare industry is poised for a complete transformation due to the advancement of augmented reality technology. AR can drastically improve the quality of treatment a patient receives, and helps enhance the performance of medical professionals.

AR is not only changing the way doctors learn about the human anatomy, but also helping them diagnose patients more effectively by overlaying CT scans and other imagery onto a patient’s body. Invasive surgeries that once required monitors and endoscopic cameras now only require AR glasses that allow surgeons to stay focused on their task, while still being fed the vital information they need.

In regard to patient education, AR apps are used to better illustrate the impact of a disease, and help caretakers learn the pathology and consequences of a particular condition, resulting in more effective treatment and prevention. 

Manufacturing

Augmented reality is a dominant force in the manufacturing industry, and projection AR, specifically, has quickly become standard on factory floors throughout the world.

By projecting a digital operating canvas directly onto a work surface and providing audio and visual prompts, guidance, pacing and direction cues, projection AR drives manual manufacturing processes with speed and precision. The technology is also invaluable for its ability to improve quality control.

Light Guide Systems is at the forefront of innovation in this sector, using our sophisticated projection AR to make factory floors across several industries smarter, safer and better. 

Education

Augmented reality is making huge leaps in the education sector, making learning more enjoyable for children who are visual learners or developmentally challenged.

Imagine a class of first graders pointing an AR-enabled device at a photo of an elephant, and subsequently being able to hear the word and sound it makes, observe the letters on the screen, watch a video about the animal and much more. Adding this extra layer of interactivity can get children much more involved in the learning process.

In fact, we recently partnered with global computing giant Hewlett-Packard to launch Light Guide Systems Pro. Utilizing all the Sprout Pro platform features – such as a 2D and 3D scanner, and two screens used to transform objects from the physical to digital space — Light Guide Systems Pro has many applications in education, commercial and design fields.

AR is also being used as a learning device in museums, allowing patrons to download a mobile app, point their camera at an exhibit, and get a more in-depth, interactive tour of that exhibit.

Automotive 

Augmented reality is used for a variety of purposes in the automotive industry. Many automakers use AR to design cars before making the physical prototype. Others are experimenting with the technology as a way to enhance the driving experience, through things like see-through displays.

On the sales side of the industry, car dealers have begun introducing augmented reality in their showrooms due to its ease of use, interactive customization features, transparency and efficiency.

Military

Augmented reality in the military is becoming more frequently used to enhance training, situation awareness, information processing/dispersion, safety and speed.

A training system called Augmented Immersive Team Training (AITT) features a combat helmet equipped with AR-enabled googles, and is designed to project realistic training scenarios into a Marine’s field of vision, wherever they are. The U.S. Army has also developed Tactical Augmented Reality (TAR) that overlays tactical mapping to locate friends and foes during a military operation.

Other tools like the ARC4 – a head-mounted display – incorporates advanced head tracking sensors, network management software and intuitive UI to render important augmented information onto a soldier’s real-world view.

Retail

Augmented reality has also found a strong foothold in the retail industry, with businesses using it to provide a new level of interaction between their products and customers – both in-store and online.

AR apps provide shoppers instant product information and comparison when they point their smartphones at a store shelf, allowing them to sort by nutritional value and customize to specific preferences, like gluten-free or organic. Brands are also developing virtual “try-on” experiences with AR, that allow consumers to see what a product would look like in a room or on their person.

Even when it comes to creating memorable in-store experiences, companies are turning to augmented reality, using the technology to, among other things, develop personalized shopping assistants and educate, entertain or engage customers with mobile experiences that connect to physical products.

Gaming

Augmented reality has its roots in the gaming industry, being used in consoles like the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox One, mobile gaming apps like Pokemon Go and even standalone hardware like Microsoft Hololens and Magic Leap.

New AR hardware and games are earning more investment and being more frequently developed as the industry evolves to make the gaming experience more immersive for their customers.

In the world of e-sports, augmented reality is being used for fans to see overlaid stats and analysis of their favorite teams during a match, and communicate/interact with one another through apps developed to enhance the competition.

Real Estate

AR developers are creating elaborate visual presentations that immerse potential clients in a specific property, and offer views of the home or building not previously available, such as aerial views and 3D renderings of yet-to-be-built developments. Some are even using the technology to visualize any empty room or space in the way you would decorate it. These virtual tours give property buyers the power to make a more informed decision, and can help them decide if a home or building is worth moving forward on.

What are some other innovative uses of augmented reality that you’ve experienced?

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Brian Close

Brian Close

Brian Close is the Executive Director of Sales for OPS Solutions. Brian has over 10 years of experience managing sales, manufacturing and engineering operations including managing implementation of new manufacturing equipment and processes with processes and managing $20M+ portfolio of contract engineering projects. Brian holds a BS, Materials Science & Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a MBA from the University of Michigan.
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