How will AR change the home? Possibly in more ways than you think.
Earlier in 2016, the Pokémon Go craze saw hordes of people out and about, playing with their Augmented Reality apps and catching virtual monsters all over the world.
This hugely successful game served to introduce much of the world to Augmented Reality, the technology that blends the real world with the virtual one.
As opposed to Virtual Reality, AR still allows you to view what’s in front of you, accompanied by a digital ‘layer’ that shows you what might be and gives you a window into another world.
Augmented Reality is set to change the workplace. Once it integrates with our homes it will have an effect on how we live our lives off the clock as well.
The following are some examples of where you might be able to use AR in your home.
There are already plenty of decorating, paint and furniture store apps that allow you to play in the world of Augmented Reality.
Thinking of a new couch? Just hold up your tablet and you’ll be able to visualise what it might look like in your living room.
Rotate it, change the colour and add an extra seat to view how much space it will take up before you make your buying decision.
You can do the same for all manner of furnishings and paint colours, making sure you have zero buyer remorse when it comes to giving your home a makeover.
Throw some virtual artwork up on the walls, or even some interesting animated effects.
Who knows? You might even be able to share what you see with your friends over their own AR headsets when they come around.
None of it has to be real; it can be nothing more than software running in the background of your at-home AR experience.
With AR, it won’t matter what size TV you can afford; the headset will be able to make screens and interfaces appear wherever you want them.
You can either have them always locked to a specific place in your field of view, or set them to a wall or spot in the air in your house, just as if they were really there.
Who even needs screens? AR means you can effectively generate your own holograms (while you’re wearing the headset), so who’s to say we won’t be interacting with 3D versions of our favourite characters as if they were in the room?
Developers are building on the concept of Pokémon Go by creating similar and even more interactive platforms for gaming.
One example uses Google’s interior mapping software to chart your living room, before integrating multiple virtual characters and items for you to interact with.
This game issues challenges and lets you unlock new characters, growing your environment as you move through the levels.
Keen gamers can also expect AR versions of many of their favourites in the near future, bringing a whole new dimension to the way they play.
Many of us have been shopping online for plenty of holiday seasons by now, but AR has the potential to completely shake up the experience.
Using this technology, you could eventually be able to virtually try on clothing and shoes without even having to leave your living room.
Technology has the potential allow you to superimpose items onto yourself, switching out colours and sizes to get a feel for what looks best.
Shop for all manner of things, including pictures and ornaments, viewing in 3D what they will look like in the exact spot on your wall or shelf.
It’s late and your sink has sprung a leak.
The only plumber you can get hold of lives an hour away, but no matter!
Switch on your tablet or smartphone and hold it up to the leaky pipes and your plumber will eventually have the ability to walk you through how to do the basic repairs yourself.
They will be able to tap into AR technology, highlighting the exact parts that you need to be tweaking (or staying away from) and provide you with a fix to tide you over until they can make it there in person.
Far enough in the future you may not even need the tablet! An AR headset could accomplish the same functionality, leaving both your hands free to focus on the fixing.
Imagine being able to do the same with a technician on the line and your flat-packed furniture in front of you.
You might not even need a person on the other end. By then, AI assistants may have progressed to the point where they can walk you through themselves.
This technology has so much potential to prevent household arguments!
Hold up your AR app to the contents of your fridge and use instant recognition to get information about nutrition, calories, fat content and even what pairs well with what when you’re cooking.
You might also be able to project recipes right onto any surface in your kitchen, or scan your recipe book and have the ingredients adjusted depending on the number of people you wish to cook for.
After you have cooked all your recipes you might want to head to your home gym or garage to work off all that calorie laden goodness.
Why not invite your personal trainer to join you… virtually of course, as an augmented reality hologram.
They’ll be able to shout instructions and keep an eye on your progress without having to travel to your location.
It all sounds like a lot of fun, and there will be hundreds of other applications for virtual reality as developers realise its potential to enhance the convenience of our daily lives.
It's not just AR that has the potential to change industries: take a virtual tour of small businesses in 2020 and see what VR might have in store.