Augmented Reality is not new. The US Air Force first started exploring the possibilities in the early 90s, their Virtual Fixtures system is regarded as the first example of AR. Over the past 25 years the technology has improved but adoption has struggled to gather pace. Until now!

Apple enters the market

With the announcement of iOS11, Apple declared their intentions to bring AR to the masses. ARKit is Apple's AR framework, and is designed to standardise and simplify how developers can use AR in their apps. So later this year, a huge audience of users will have AR ready devices in their back pocket. The framework allows us to make use of a device's camera, CPU, GPU, and motion sensors, doing a lot of the hard work for us and allowing us to focus on creating something special.

Google’s offering

Google's Project Tango has been around for over 3 years, but is only compatible with a small number of devices which has hampered is adoption. This week they also announced ARCore, their own AR framework. Initially the framework will be limited to owners of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and their own Google Pixel and Pixel XL devices. However their launch announcement came with the bold claim of reaching over 100 million devices by the end of the year.

AR reaches the mainstream

So now that there is an audience for the technology, and tools to aid them build AR apps more quickly, developers are finally jumping on board and creating some exciting ideas. Here are a few of our favourites so far:

Furniture shopping

One of the most obvious use cases for AR allows users to “try out” a sofa or piece of furniture and see how it fits in their home.

Measuring

Need to find out how many floor tiles you need, or how many tins of paint to buy? AR allows us to quickly measure any space simply and accurately.

Tutorials & Education

Similar to how YouTube has changed how find out how to fix a bike, rewire a plug socket or bake a cake, AR has the power to transform how we learn new skills.

Getting Directions

Finding the nearest Starbucks has never been so simple!

Fun & Games

Not everything needs to have a purpose, what if you just want to land a plane in your living room? Pokemon Go proved that AR can be hugely addictive.

BBI joins the AR and VR revolution

We’ve enjoyed following the recent announcements and seeing what industry can come up with. Having invested in our first VR kit earlier in the year, we have started exploring how we can bring AR to client projects later this year. We see events as a huge opportunity for both technologies, and are also excited to explore how we can integrate both AR and VR into web-based technology. Watch this space!

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By Tim Butler

Technical Director

Development

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