Augmented reality (AR) is a combination of real life and a super-imposed image or animation, using the camera on a mobile device or special headgear. Although the use of this technology has been around for several years now, the idea has reached worldwide recognition thanks to the hit mobile game Pokémon GO.
The overnight success of this title has inspired other brands to explore the medium for themselves, and investors are more than happy to join in. Venture capital fund Super Ventures was recently formed to exclusively support AR technologies. The Venture Reality Fund was formed to invest in both AR and VR. In fact, VR/AR M&A advisor, Digi-Capital conducted research that suggests the AR market will be worth $90 billion annually in 2020, compared to a much smaller $30 million for VR.
Visualizing products and ideas could be easier than ever in the near future, bringing science fiction to life through mixed reality. In the meantime, here are some examples of brands who are already using augmented reality in a successful way.
Beauty brand L’Oreal uses an AR mobile app that launched in March. The “Style My Hair” app allows customers to virtually try hairstyles and hair colors before they visit a salon. Style My Hair, available on US Android and iOS devices, allows potential customers to explore new looks and share them on social; it was downloaded nearly 500,000 times in the immediate weeks after the launch. As for cosmetics, L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius virtual makeup app and the My UV Patch skin sensor app launched at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. Makeup Genius now has 6.3 million downloads.
Cedar Point Theme Park
Cedar Point, located in Sandusky, Ohio and known as “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World,” recognized the tremendous potential of AR technology and updated its app with The Battle for Cedar Point experience. With it, attendees can join different roller coaster-themed clans to compete with each other by scanning different areas of the park with their smartphones, such as signs and special T-shirts, for an AR experience. The technology essentially turns the theme park into one gigantic video game. At the end of the day, members of the winning clan can purchase a special pin to commemorate their victory.
You probably know them as a major printer manufacturer, but you probably didn’t know that Epson is on its way to becoming a giant in augmented reality. From the DJI Phantom 4 Camera Drone to Moverio BT 300 smart glasses that double as a projector, Epson isn’t “your father’s printer company.”
“It’s a question everybody asks. They go, ‘Epson … Aren’t you guys a printer company?’ And it’s a very valid question,” Michael Leyva, product manager at the Long Beach, California-based Epson America told [a]listdaily. “What most people don’t know is that Epson is more of an overall technology company. Our parent company in Seiko Epson Corporation in Japan makes a lot of different products that nobody sees, like internal components that we license to other companies, like the original iPhone screens, or motion sensors for the Nintendo Wii. A lot of people have no idea that there are Epson parts in there helping drive technology.”
The Walt Disney company has always been at the forefront of emerging technology, from creating the first full-length animated film to featuring animatronics and holograms on their park rides. To promote their latest film Pete’s Dragon, Disney launched a website that encourages viewers to download the mobile game Dragon Spotting. The app challenges users to locate Elliot the dragon using their mobile devices around prompted locations, such as behind a couch, or under a table.
Disney has also partnered with Crayola to bring its characters life through coloring books with the Crayola Alive brand. As illustrated by the demonstration below, colored images are transformed when viewed through a tablet’s camera and downloaded application. Other Crayola Alive brands include Barbie and Skylanders.