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Returning to a new normal with AR & VR

The COVID-19 global pandemic has given a much-needed push to technology adoption around the world. Stuck because of long lockdowns, people are seeking new solutions to everyday needs, be it food deliveries, medical requirements or education.

Crisis can sometimes be the key to the development of emerging technologies, and the current outbreak may become a springboard for the growth and popularization of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), two technologies that have been underestimated and underutilized in the past.

While Augmented Reality (AR) adds digital elements onto the physical world — a great example being Pokemon Go; Virtual Reality (VR) is a complete immersion experience. Using VR devices such as Hololens, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, users can be transported into several real-world and imagined environments.

Let’s have a look at how they can come in handy in multiple sectors.

Healthcare

AR can prove to be phenomenal in medicine, it is something the healthcare ecosystems have been trying to adopt for some time now. Doctors can practice surgeries; patients can help describe their symptoms better and much more.

ANIMA RES is a specialist in 3D medical animations and interactive Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality and Virtual Reality applications with a particular focus on the pharmaceutical, medical and biotechnological sectors. They’ve been developing extremely interesting projects like ‘Insight Heart’ that builds a virtual heart, letting users explore blood flow simulations. Spatial explanations provide dedicated information for each region of the heart from every angle.

Construction and Architecture

Construction companies and designers were some of the first to adopt AR/VR to accurately develop new projects. By combining digital and physical views, AR is able to geographically display, update, and real-time data and provides the user with a visual walkthrough of the project. VR allows builders to build a completely virtual world and digitally simulate possibilities, instantly changing architectural and interior designs to configure individual dream homes. These technologies also allow you to save time and money on projects.

Mortenson is a U.S.-based, top builder and developer of energy and engineering services. Long ago, they realized the value of using visualization technologies to enhance design and customer experience and created a Virtual Insights team. Now they use Unity software to deliver interactive virtual-reality (VR) and 360 video experiences for a wide variety of client needs.

For example, Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare company, was building a new interventional radiology room and wanted to ensure that it would function smoothly for their medical team. Mortenson built them a detailed virtual room in 3D. It was built according to client specifications, so that everyone on the team could enter the virtual space and interact with it in order to help finalize the design of a room they would be collaborating in for years to come. They built extremely detailed 3D visualizations where the surgical team could reach out and control the light, tables, and everything else that they would typically interact with in real life. Do check out the Kaiser radiology room video to see it in action.

Education 

AR and VR will allow student to experience various parts of the world, walk with dinosaurs and dissect frogs or even carry out surgeries! A growing number of educators are using extended reality applications to let students interact with people, places and things on the opposite side of the planet, as well as historical figures. The adoption of AR/VR is set to take a leap, especially now with schools shutting down indeterminately.

Discovery Education has already reached millions of students with its virtual field trips, focusing on aerospace, health, technology and much more. Google Expeditions is another great VR education app that provides student with more than a thousand educational tours.

Tourism

With COVID-19 ravaging the tourism and hospitality business, AR/VR can make users feel like they are really experiencing the computer-generated world they find themselves in. It offers a try-before-you-buy experience which will give people a taste for travel, leading to a revival in holidays.

A great example is the MetaVrse and the amazing travel demos they have come up with.  These can transport you to various parts of the world and give you a feel for what your next vacation could be like. Something we all sorely need to keep our spirits high!

Retail

Augmented reality ensures enhanced customer experience and relatability with the product. 3D experiences increase customer engagement and understanding resulting in increased sales and revenue building opportunities. A great example is PTC’s Vuforia AR enterprise. They provide platforms for retail businesses to build augmented reality apps that provide 3D experiences with enhanced knowledge of their products.

Such AR solutions empower organizations to build powerful and interactive product marketing. They create virtual 3D models into physical spaces so customers can view products in real-time and accurate scales. Bringing together the digital and the physical helps organizations create persuasive marketing for their products as it allows potential customers to engage with products in 3D space making it a more exciting and interactive buy.

Also Read: Singapore demonstrates innovative IoT uses during COVID pandemic