Ushering a New Age for Augmented Reality Technology

Beyond the highly panned Google Glass, augmented reality has never really gotten a nod more significant than the one that Apple is currently giving it with their latest line of iPhones. Sure, Microsoft and other companies have tried to incorporate AR in their hardware before but they’re designed mostly for niche markets with limited and extremely targeted use-case scenarios. HoloLens consumers, for example, have mostly been businesses looking at augmented reality as a way to boost workplace efficiency. Sales numbers for the mass market, however, does not make it look like a promising tech to invest in.
The success of augmented reality games started the flame for augmented reality in the mainstream. Pokémon Go is one of the fastest downloaded games ever in both Android and iOS. From there, the applications grew.
The focus that Apple gave Animoji and Memoji in their recent Keynote, despite their limited real-world functionality, shows just how much Apple thinks that this technology is going to shape the future. They showed it with the iPhone X a year ago and they reinforced it this year by further developing and heavily marketing the new phone’s AR features.
Much like the ubiquity of the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5s, it’s easy to see how enhanced AR capabilities on smartphones will be ushered in by Apple’s current release of AR-heavy iPhones.
However, these new features do not yet have functionalities beyond socialization or leisure. Interactive games and fun video games are great and all but augmented reality can do so much more. To some people, this can seem like a waste of an otherwise excellent technology.
So, we’ve decided to compile a list of mass market sectors where AR implementation totally makes sense despite in some ways, remaining excluded from the mainstream. Given the current spotlight being shone on the new tech, however, it’s only a matter of time before these sectors develop the tech to help make the jump from being a niche to being mainstream.


The tech world has been inching its way into the education sector recently. The newest entry-level iPad and Surface Go, for example, are marketed heavily for students who want portable PCs with long battery life that they can take with them from classroom to classroom. However, the distractions that these gadgets can pose may prove to be counterproductive. Instead of being able to focus in class, kids might instead just check their social media on these multimedia devices instead.
AR books, on the other hand, is a piece of AR technology aimed to increase schoolwork’s cool-factor. It uses physical copies of books and links them to relevant audio-visual resources on the internet using a smartphone. With the book-specific mobile application, students can see the content superimposed on the camera feed on the smartphone screens.


Navigation apps like Waze and Google maps revolutionized the manner people found their way through unfamiliar cities. However, they can be distracting at times especially if you’re using the apps through mobile devices. Picking up and looking down at your phone just to check on your whether you’re on the correct street can lead to road accidents. Even through built-in navigation systems on the dashboard, you’d still have to take your eyes off the road for a split second just to see if you’re headed in the right direction.
AR windshields can help eliminate road risks by superimposing navigation data directly on the windshield. This way, drivers wouldn’t need to take their eyes off the road just to check on their navigation systems.
Car-makers call this the Heads Up Display (HUD) System and it’s already implemented on some cars. With the way car-makers are, it’s not going to be long before this feature is built-in into all new cars much like other safety features that came before it.


When it comes to smartphone AR, retail is probably the very first mass-market applications out there. It initially raised the cool factor on the sales floor but when the technology matured a little bit more, it totally raised the customer experience.
Clothing retailers, for example, immediately jumped on the AR bandwagon by installing mirrors equipped with tech similar to that of the Xbox Kinect. This makes the fitting more convenient as the customer can immediately see themselves in their outfit of choice. But, it was a crude implementation of the tech as it merely superimposed the faces of the customers on previously rendered clothes. This makes image accuracy and scaling difficult to implement which often showed children’s faces on the body of adults.
Recent development on chipsets give phones extremely powerful rendering capacity to actually superimpose a real 3D object to scale even with movement in the background. In Apple’s hardware Keynote this year, they even featured an extremely accurate measuring application that showed how the new infrared sensors worked in tandem with the excellent cameras on the new iPhones. The app showed accurate measurements of distance and volume.
They also showed how AR would be able to make use of the new function by superimposing an accurately scaled 3D model of a desk. The vast use-cases of this extremely complex function are perhaps one of the most useful for the tech currently.


Apple is almost never the first on the scene of innovation. All-screen smartphones have been in previous products, face-recognition technology has been with Android devices for years, and OLED is already in a wealth of devices before they even adopted it. However, they’ve always been the company to refine the new technology for the mass adoption.
The traction from the company’s headlining of the technology will no doubt raise the consciousness and awareness of the mass market to the various useful applications of AR. With some companies making small splashes in the industry such as Microsoft with their HoloLens and Google with their early Google Glass attempt, other lesser known companies have started joining the fray such as Intel and Toshiba’s new smart glasses. These small inconsequential ripples, if combined, is sure to make waves in the years to come.