Last July 2019 was quite an eventful month. Most of all, it marked humanity’s discovery of a rather unorthodox way to travel to the future. Using a revolutionary mobile app, people went crazy as they stood face-to-face with their future selves. Of course, you all know which app I’m talking about; FaceApp. But do you know of the unsung hero of a tech that powers FaceApp?
In case you don’t (which is the case with many), it’s called Augmented Reality. FYI, AR can do a whole lot more than depict how father time will affect your looks. Yet unfortunately, not enough people are aware of AR. Actually, we’ve discussed before how this very lack of awareness hinders AR on its way to full mainstream adoption.
Believe it or not, a billion human beings will be AR users by 2020. That’s about one-seventh of the entire population and most of them might not even know they’re using AR. Such statistic calls for a moment of ponder. If people are already that infatuated with the wonders of AR, then think of the possibilities when they learn more about AR and about how they can leverage it. Hence, we need to shed a prominent spotlight on AR.
And that’s exactly what we’re about to do! Here are 5 AR experiences you may have engaged with without knowing they’re AR-based:
Without a doubt, FaceApp has taken the world by storm throughout the past few weeks. Everyone from Drake to Gordon Ramsay rushed to see how FaceApp would age them. It got to the point where my grandma actually sent me her FaceApp picture for when she “grows old”.
Despite the recent outstanding popularity of FaceApp’s aging filter, the app has lots of other filters. These filters include a gender swap filter and a filter that reverses aging. No matter the filter, though, it’s important to note that all of FaceApp’s innovations are AR-backed. In fact, so are all non-FaceApp camera filters that you love using daily.
2- Adidas and Marcelo’s Tango League 2018 Campaign
Who doesn’t want to brag about athletic skills? Certainly, not soccer fanatics. Making superb use of that fact, Adidas launched an extraordinary campaign to promote its 2018 Tango League in LA. There are two reasons we deem the campaign extraordinary. First, it featured Real Madrid’s, Marcelo Vieira. Second of all, it deployed a cutting-edge AR technique.
Basically, the campaign consisted of a set where Tango League participants were invited to show off their skills. But they had to do so in front of none other than Marcelo who was there in AR. As participants executed cool soccer tricks, Marcelo cheered them on vigorously. On the other hand, when they faltered, Marcelo let them know it—making crushing disappointed faces. See for yourselves:
The technology in play here is called Broadcast AR. While FaceApp is a mobile AR experience, Broadcast utilizes a bigger vehicle for AR content. The setup for any Broadcast AR experience includes a large screen. That screen is almost like a mirror, except it’s not inverted. Oh, and it can also display all sorts of virtual content! In Adidas’ aforementioned campaign, a highly energetic Marcelo was that virtual content. However, other campaigns have displayed different kinds of virtual content—including our next experience.
3- Pepsi Max Unbelievable Bus Shelter Campaign
As the limitless medium it is, AR gives marketers the space to go wild with their ideas. In this campaign, the people of Pepsi Max did that and more.
The campaign ran at bus shelters so the screen in that experience was the glass of the bus shelter. As commuters sat there waiting for their buses, they got to meet some terrifying creatures. Of these, aliens, monsters, and tigers made their presence eerily known.
Unlike Adidas’ campaign, this campaign utilized covert screens. None of the bus riders could have seen these frightening experiences coming. It’s this element of shock that earned this campaign considerable virality. In fact, a video from Pepsi Max showcasing the campaign received 4.7 million views in one week.
And of course, who could forget the horrific memories these poor bus riders will have to live with? Some of these unlucky fellows may have had their hair turned white at the hands of Pepsi Max. In a way, that makes the campaign a predecessor to FaceApp in showing how people age. But perhaps, it didn’t do so in the most endearing way possible.
4- AccuVein Vein Visualization
While FaceApp and Broadcast AR maybe just for fun, this next AR novelty solves a genuine pain. Literally.
If you’ve ever had a blood sample drawn from you, you know how the process goes. Before the actual drawing, the practitioner must locate a vein first. Inserting the needle anywhere else may lead to pain or other catastrophes.
Thankfully, the chances of successfully locating veins have increased with AccuVein devices. Quite simply, the mechanism behind AccuVein is brilliant. The devices use Near Infrared light which is absorbed by hemoglobin in the blood. The absorption pattern gives these devices information about the environment under the skin. In turn, AccuVein devices project AR images of available veins. Hence, the devices aid practitioners in locating where to collect samples from or where to administer drugs.
Notably, AccuVein devices are valuable to patients with diabetes, cardiac problems, or weak veins. As such, they are available at over 2000 hospitals in the US today.
5- Augmented Print
Are you a parent? Then, you must have heard of Disney’s AR coloring books. After kids color their favorite Disney characters in said books, they scan them to bring them to life. That is, the characters turn into 3D models that appear in AR. So far, these coloring books may be the most popular form of augmented print.
Yet, all sorts of traditional print can be converted to augmented print. For instance, think of augmented business cards. As you scan them with your smartphones, you generate all sources of digital contact for the cards’ owners. Thus, the card owner’s social media accounts, website, email, phone number, and more become available in an instant.
What about augmented catalogs? After scanning, they teleport the products they’re showcasing right to your environments. Could postcards, pictures, and restaurant menus get the AR treatment too? Well, absolutely! You can use AR to transform anything print. That way, you’ll bridge real and virtual worlds in the best way possible.