If you don’t believe in magic, maybe it’s time to start.

Augmented reality (AR) is back in the spotlight with companies and governments scrambling to incorporate this cutting-edge, futuristic technology into games, apps, educational programs and everything in between. AR works by morphing a live view of the world around you, overlaying this feed with “computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, and graphics.”

While the technology has been in steady development for the better part of twenty-five years, there is now a feeling that the software is sophisticated enough to be implemented on a mass scale. As we’re working with Kudan – a Bristol-based company on a mission to unleash the creative potential of AR, we’ve been taking a closer look at some of the potential uses of AR. I wanted to share some of the ones that have stuck with me, both practical and entertaining!

AR Goggles for the Blind

One of the most remarkable prospects for AR is its potential to offer restorative eye properties to the blind. This has been the quest of start-up tech company VA-ST, who have developed ‘Smart Specs.’ To work, the user would simply slip on a pair of AR goggles, which relays sensory feedback from the outside world and augments the image by enhancing objects in the viewer’s immediate proximity. While far from being a cure, these glasses still provide the viewer with enough sensory information to detect the general appearance of people and other objects.


Music You Can See

Applications like iTunes’ music visualizer brought us 2D music visualization, but what if you could see and touch music in the palm of your hands? Reify, a start-up company hailing from NYC, has taken this fantasy and turned it into reality. The technology works direct from your smart phone. The app uses a literal stream of your immediate surroundings and overlays it with 3D ‘totems,’ or unique visual experiences that differ depending on which song the user selects. The technology gives people the ability to play with and experience music in a way that has never been seen before.

In my opinion, this is certainly one of the coolest ways AR technology has been implemented so far.



U.S. Military

In a more explosive fashion the U.S. Military has picked up on the potential of AR by incorporating its technology into training exercises. On the 21st of May 2015, U.S. Marines were given the opportunity to test out the new software, which transformed a grassy field in Virginia into a scene straight out of Black Hawk Down. The visual overlay created real-life scenarios for the trainees, which could revolutionize the way troops are prepared for combat by acclimatizing them to more visceral and life-like situations. 


Futuristic Dashboards

Here’s one for all you car lovers out there. BMW has announced, to much fervour, that its 2017 5 series will come loaded with an AR Head-Up Display system. The display will overlap the car’s windshield, providing real time information to the driver. Speed of approach, distance to the next turn, information on blind spots and much more will be available to the driver all on the windshield in front of them. The technology appears so sophisticated that its proponents claim it will aid drivers’ safety on the road.  


What’s next…

Augmented reality looks poised to shake up the way we see and interact with the world. These few examples are merely a drop in an endless sea of possibilities for this ground-breaking technology. It will be exciting to follow the many different ways that companies will incorporate this technology into their products and services. Believe in magic now?