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Fun Uses of Augmented Reality

by Beth Divine 19 Apr 2018

Augmented reality could be the feature needed to reawaken the knowledge that learning can be fun. Imagine learning about biology, for example, and having a virtual skeleton disassemble itself in the middle of the classroom, while you all watch and take notes, before it puts itself back together and wanders off? Or finding out the difference between the various finches – a la Charles Darwin in the Galapagos – by seeing the little birds flying around the room and perching on your desk, in front of you? Technology can make learning deeply memorable and great fun – it’s not all bad and addictive, you know!

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Movies can be made more interactive with special effects escaping from the big screen and drifting out over the audience. How much more realistic would a dramatic explosion be if the smoke floats out of the screen and over the audience (and does it safely, so that no asthmatics or respiratory disease sufferers are made uncomfortable!)? How scary would a mummy film be if the flesh-eating scarab beetles flocked out over the audience? (Imagine the screams of horror!) Just a little thought will show how much more immersive a two-dimensional screen movie showing could become just with little hints of augmented reality here and there.

Gaming has already seen the benefits of augmented reality with games like Pokémon GO!. With Pokémon GO!, players had to leave their homes and explore places nearby (and not so nearby, one Australian man ended up travelling the globe in order to collect all four thousand-plus of the little animated creatures. By the way, the name is a portmanteau word from ‘Pocket Monster’ – now you know that, even if you didn’t want to!) in order to collect Pokémon. The game had tremendous popularity for many months, before interest waned as avid collectors completed their collections and Nintendo tightened up some restrictions, making the game impossibly difficult to play for some.

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Internet shopping is the way that most of us now do our shopping for everything from groceries to furniture, and you may be surprised to learn that augmented reality can even help here. Sofas and wardrobes look fabulous on the page – but less so once in that awkward corner, or sitting – slightly too large for the space – more or less in the middle of your living room. Augmented reality can overlay furniture items into the spaces that you have available, so you can ‘virtually’ rearrange your room, without having to physically move furniture around, or take a chance that your measurements and the stated dimensions are precisely exact – only to find that theirs are out by precious millimetres and the item will not fit as promised! You can also redecorate your room as often as you like, until you find a décor theme that suits your budget and your tastes – all without spending a penny until you are ready to!