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Augmented Reality (AR) – Dream or Reality

As technology improves, the reality of augmented reality (AR) is finally getting real. AR technology superimposes a computer-generated image on a view of the real world, integrating both digital information and the user’s environment in real time. While virtual reality creates a completely artificial environment, AR uses the existing reality and overlays information on top of it.

The next version of iOS (iOS 11) is expected this fall and a new API Apple is introducing, ARKit, lets developers build complex AR features into their apps. Apple is not the only tech giant embracing the AR craze. Google Tango is an AR computing platform, which enables, through the use of sensors, a mobile device to map indoor spaces and to know the location of the device, essentially giving the device the ability to understand space and motion like humans do. The ASUS ZenFone AR and The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro are the two smartphones that include Tango.


At the recent Google I/O 2017 conference, the company announced VPS, or Virtual Positioning System — a system that allows users to be tracked in a space through a phone’s camera. The new technology was developed in conjunction with Google Maps and enables users to locate items inside of stores or community spaces. Lowe’s Innovation Labs announced Google will map 400 Lowe’s stores using VPS.


IKEA confirmed this June it’s developing an augmented reality app with Apple. This technology makes it easier to make buying decisions in your own home, get inspired and try many different products, styles and colors in real-life settings with the swipe of your finger.


GAP announced the pilot of its DressingRoom by Gap AR app at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), to help customers virtually “try on” clothing. The app allows customers to choose an avatar based on their body size and try on different products. With a Google Tango-enabled device, customers can then virtually walk around that avatar to see how the product fits, how the fabric drapes and how the color looks in different lighting.


E-commerce retailer Wayfair launched WayfairView, the company’s in-house developed smartphone augmented reality application, to allow shoppers to “try on” furniture and décor in their homes before they make a purchase.


Williams-Sonoma, parent company of the Pottery Barn and PBteen, launched its first Tango Augmente­­d Reality application, as well as 3D room design and product visualization tools this year. ­­ The smartphone AR app “3D Room View” by Pottery Barn is also powered by Google’s Tango technology.


Beauty retailer Sephora allows shoppers to virtually try on thousands of lipstick shades prior to purchase. The Sephora Virtual Artist uses ModiFace technology, which utilizes a smartphone’s camera to map the precise location and shape of the user’s facial features, including lip location and shape.


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-Prof. Yatin Jog

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