Augmented reality has really come of age over the last few years. But it is not just about those special animated Snapchat filters on your smartphone, as fun as they might be.
From interactive and immersive weather reports to helping fighter pilots find their targets day or night, AR has proven itself as a powerful aid for industry and the general public at large.
Considering its progress so far, future applications of AR are likely to only be limited by our collective imagination.
The following are but 9 examples of real-world applications of AR in the world today. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. Games like "Pokemon Go!" make good use of AR
Although its popularity has waned since 2016, "Pokemon Go!" still has its die-hard fans. But the main part of this game's appeal was the way it combined the real world with your favorite Pokemon characters.
This is the very definition of Augmented Reality and a fun one to boot. Many other games have copied the same concept since like "Jurassic Park" (we bet you can't guess how this one works) and the up and coming "Harry Potter" themed AR game from Niantic.
Although these examples are purely for recreation, not to mention almost getting yourself killed on highways, they show the potential for this technology.
2. Medical training now makes use of AR
Augmented Reality is now used in medical training. Its applications range from MRI equipment use to performing highly delicate surgery.
At the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University, for example, students are taught the ins and outs of anatomy using AR headsets. This technology lets them delve into the human body without the need for dissecting cadavers or watching live operations.
But its not limited to just training. AR also has applications during operations without the need for more traditional invasive cameras and probes.
InnerOptic Technology's Magic Loupe, for example, integrates with ODG and MS's HoloLens to improve the doctor's view of the patient's insides.
This has the potential to make invasive surgeries more precise and safe.
3. Car mechanics are even getting in on the AR game
Porsche has been trying out AR as a new method to help mechanics during servicing and maintenance of their customers' 'pride and joy'.
Their "Tech Live Look" allows Porsche remote servicing engineers the ability to use ODG smart glasses to connect with Porsche's Atlanta-based service HQ and get real-time assistance.
A Porsche mechanic can then guide remote staff through the process through live guides, video tutorials, documents, and other pertinent information as they work on the car.
The idea is to improve the efficacy of repairs and also help speed up services for customers.
4. Harley Davidson is using AR to help customers in the store
The retail sector is also starting to use AR to help its customers have a more enjoyable, and interactive, shopping experience.
Shoppers have long been using their smartphones to compare prices and get information on products in store for many years but by integrating AR Harley Davidson are taking this to the next level.
They have developed a special app for their customers that lets them view a motorcycle in store and customizing it (changing paint jobs, adding accessories) on their phones.
This is an interesting application of AR and one that's bound to become more common with other large brands (like Ikea) and car manufacturers.
5. F-35 Helmets use AR
Not only is the F-35 a very expensive fighter plane (n fact it's one of the most expensive ever) a single pilot's helmet alone costs $400,000.
These helmets are specially designed to overlay AR features like real-time footage from the fighter's array of external cameras directly into the pilot's field of view.
This system allows the pilot to see a 360-degree view around their plane, thereby eliminating any blind spots. Pilots can also zoom on any areas of interest and are also pinged by the plane if a potential threat is detected.
It also provides pilots with "digital night vision", a virtual HUD, weapon system information, targeting system functions and has the capacity for adding new features in the future.
6. Television broadcasts are using AR more and more
From weather broadcasts to sports events, AR is becoming ever more common on your TV. AR is perfectly suited for this kind of application and really brings some subjects to life for the general public.
AR could be used in educational documentaries, live sporting events or other live news reporting to help you understand more esoteric subjects. A good example includes BBC General Election news coverage.
These kinds of applications of AR are both engaging and immersive. Other good examples include visualizations of the destructive power of natural disasters, like in the clip above.
7. Gatwick Airport uses AR to help you find your gate
Augmented Reality is being used by Gatwick Airport's app to help passengers get to their plane. Their app has been so successful that it has also recently won awards.
The app won the Mobile Innovation of the Year award at the National Technology awards back in 2017. It provides passengers with personalized wayfinding around the airport and is planning to integrate intelligent chatbots to improve the service even more.
Their app utilizes over 2,000 beacons to show guide passengers through AR-augmented smartphone maps through their two busy terminals. It is hoped that as the app matures it will make enormous improvements to general traffic flow through the airport.
8. AR is great for interior design and modeling
Given the capabilities of this technology it only natural that it has found applications in architectural design and the contruction. AR can help professionals visualize their final designs with ease during the planning phase.
They can even take virtual tours within their designs using headsets and tinker with the design in a fully immersive environment. This can even be expanded to city planners who can model entire city layouts and go for a tour.
AR is simply perfect for any activity that has some element of spatial design.
9. AR is entering the classroom
Another interesting application for AR is in your child's classroom. Teachers and other educators are starting to introduce it to help engage children with the subject at hand.
From astrophysics to music lessons, AR can provide a fun and immersive learning experience for kids of all ages. In short, the possibilities are endless.