Ten Uses of Augmented Reality with Real-World Examples

ten uses of augmented reality

David Long
30th April 2023


Augmented reality is having a positive impact in many industries, advancing technology, improving workplace conditions and safety, increasing productivity, and reducing costs. In this example, I describe ten use cases for AR with examples of companies that are benefitting from this technology.

1. Training

In many industries, augmented reality is being used to enable trainees to practice job tasks in a safe learning environment. PBC Linear is using AR to effectively train operators to perform CNC machine tasks. An operator wearing a HoloLens headset has to complete a sequence of tasks with instructions and videos overlaid onto a machine. This form of learning-by-doing training produces reduced learning times, greater accuracy and better memory retention than traditional methods using manuals. AR is being used to help employees identify risks in the workplace and follow safety procedures in hazardous situations or emergencies. Medical schools are using AR holographic anatomical models to train students in surgical procedures and anatomy.

2. Automotive industry

The head-up display (HUD) technology has been in used fighter aircraft for many years and now its found another useful function in cars for navigation and improving safety. Some Mercedes models have a HUD displaying speed, directions and hazard alerts on the windscreen. Having information projected into the driver's line of sight makes navigation easier, reduces distractions and driver fatigue, and makes for a safer journey. Drivers can also be alerted of hazards such as nearby pedestrians and cyclists, exceeding the speed limit or not keeping a safe distance.

3. Education

The possibilities of AR in education are endless, bringing books to life and making the learning experience more engaging, fun, collaborative and memorable. Students can watch as a solar system presentation is displayed right in front of their eyes in 3D with exciting visuals, sounds, and animation. As a child is reading a story, pages can come to life and show an animated story above the page. History students can gather around a 3D model of the earth and discover interesting historical places to view and learn about. Quiver AR workbooks use augmented reality and coloring books to help children learn to develop their writing, spelling and math skills. With the Quiver AR app, the coloured pictures come to life off the page in animated 3D.

4. Logistics

The TeamViewer xPick AR solution has many features to improve logistic processes. With smart glasses, tasks such as inventory control and picking can be performed hands-free, more accurately and in less time. DHL Supply Chain is using it's xPick solution in warehouses around the world to improve logistic processes. Workers with AR smart glasses receive picking instructions and item locations, allowing them to work more easily and efficiently. During trials, productivity was improved by 15 percent with higher accuracy rates. The solution also cut onboarding and training times in half.

5. Surgical procedures

AR is being used to plan and assist in surgical procedures, something which used to be in the realm of science fiction. MediView’s XR90 system utilizes AR to assist surgeons in visualizing the internal anatomy of a patient for minimally invasive procedures. The system precisely overlays 3D MRI or CT images over a patient, creating a holographic view of the internal organs. This helps surgeons locate structures such as blood vessels and nerves more precisely which reduces potential risks and complications from mistakes. AR is also being used for medical students to perform the dissection of virtual cadavers and learn about anatomy.

6. E-commerce

In e-commerce AR is helping consumers visualize and virtually try on products before purchasing, using their smartphone. A product such as a sofa can be virtually placed in a room to see how it looks and fits. The Ikea Place app can be used by customers to see how furniture looks and fits in their home before buying. Virtual try-on apps allow consumers to try on glasses, shoes or makeup without even visiting a store. L'Oreal Modiface technology lets consumers try makeup, hair colors and nail products before buying. For many companies, AR is an important marketing tool, especially on social media where it helps connect with customers and raise brand awareness.

7. Repair and servicing

Using AR technology on-site technicians can see diagnostic information and troubleshooting guides and instructions in front of them, freeing up their hands for other tasks. Remote assistance with AR gives a technician access to remote help to an expert to resolve issues more quickly. HURCO is using TeamViewer Assist AR to provide remote technical assistance for its customers and technicians for inspection, servicing and equipment maintenance. Using AR glasses, on-site technicians can be guided by HURCO experts who can see what the technician sees through the glasses.

8. Museums

Museum experiences are being enhanced with AR, bringing exhibits to life with 3D graphics, animations and sound. AR glasses have the potential to revolutionize museum exhibitions with an immersive experience that smartphones lack. At the Smithsonian Museum Bone Hall visitors can use the Skin and Bones AR app to see how the specimens look and moved when they were alive. Many museums have scanned objects into 3D models and made them available online to view in AR. Today students don't even have to visit a museum to look at ancient artifacts or steam locomotives, they can visit a museum website and view and learn about an object in the home or classroom using AR.

9. Military

The US military has developed a combat AR headset system based on Microsoft HoloLens called IVAS. IVAS is designed to train and enhance the capabilities of soldiers on the battlefield, improving tactical decision-making, target acquisition, enemy engagement and situational awareness. Boeing has teamed up with Red 6 to use the Red 6 aerial combat module for training fighter pilots. Pilots will be able to train and interact with virtual aircraft and targets in actual aircraft.

10. Theme Parks

Theme parks such as Legoland and Universal Studios are using AR to enhance the visitor experience. At the Universal Studios Mario Kart Bower's Challenge ride, guests can wear AR goggles and battle with Team Bowser alongside their favorite Mario characters as they travel along the course. Legoland Windsor has created the Mythica Augmented Reality Experience where visitors can download the app and see Lego models come to life as animated 3D Mythica characters.


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