Augmented Reality News & Trends Spring 2014

Here’s the lowdown on emerging trends in Augmented Reality  this spring, featuring some of Marxent’s latest projects. Curious about how these technologies and trends apply to your next project or live event? We’d love to brainstorm with you. Call us anytime at 727.851.9522.

1) The “virtual showroom”

Auto dealers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes have been experimenting with the virtual showroom concept since 2012, starting in key luxury markets such as London, Paris and Milan. This year Audi is moving forward with plans to open at least 20 such showrooms around the world. With features such as interactive car configurators and gesture controls paired with the ability to feature cars in multiple driving settings, experiences such as Audi City promise to change the high-end automotive shopping experience in exciting new ways.

2) Augmented Reality for B2B 3D virtual product and sales demos

The Augmented Reality Ikea catalog of 2013 is perhaps one of the best known commercial examples of  3D Augmented Reality but the potential for 3D virtual product demos extends far beyond consumer interior design. Industrial manufacturers are exploring 3D interactive models combined with AR to create custom assistive sales tools. Detailed interactive 3D models can communicate features and product information along with allowing B2B customers to place items in a real working environment among other existing equipment.

3) Markerless tracking is taking AR beyond image recognition

Augmented Reality is no longer dependent on image recognition. Qualcomm’s Smart Terrain and Google’s Project Tango recently introduced markerless tracking for popular Augmented Reality applications. Markerless tracking coupled with depth tracking, geofencing and geotargeting technologies will transform the way that we think about and create Augmented Reality experiences. Potential applications include helping the visually impaired “see” in front of them by providing warnings to obstacles in their paths to wearable jewelry and games that integrate models of real-world objects.

4) “Exploded product views” and Augmented Reality paired with gesture recognition

For SanDisk’s Mobile World Congress 2014 product launch, Marxent created an experience that blended iOS capabilities with Kinect gesture recognition and Vuforia Augmented Reality.  MWC attendees were able to step into the shoes of “Iron Man.” and use gesture recognition to see exploded product views. Visitors to the SanDisk booth could virtually disassemble devices such as smartphones, tablets and  even a satellite  to see the insides of each device in 3D space.

5) Attention getter: Apple Air Play paired with Augmented Reality for live events

Air Play is a great way to engage beyond the small screen at live events, streaming user interactions wirelessly to a giant screen. An AR T-shirt app created for NewVoiceMedia captivated audiences far and wide at Dreamforce 2013, generating 8,100 leads. The AR t-shirt app launched  five unique first-person experiences through an iPad and streamed them to a large monitor via Apple Air Play for an impressive AR display that captivated trade show attendees. Read the case study.

6) Augmented Reality wearables are emerging, but still niche

Marxent is participating in the Google Glass explorer program, experimenting with Oculus Rift and exploring a few other emerging wearables showcased at CES 2014. From tweeting shoes to the Epson’s Moverio BT200 to Innovega iOptik™ contact lenses, wireless are one of the Augmented Reality trends that is picking up steam this year.