November 2, 2021

Augmented Reality: Visualization in a New Way

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality (known as AR for short) is a set of technologies that takes digital data and imagery and superimposes it on real, physical objects and environments. 

You may have used augmented reality entertainment applications on your phone before. Both Snapchat filters and Pokemon GO make use of these technologies. Augmented reality can be very fun to play with, but it also has infinite potential to be used as a tool to create very real, positive change in our lives.

Innovative Uses for Augmented Reality

Augmented reality has already been used for some pretty amazing things. Some prime examples: 

  • Using heat mapping of people’s veins to superimpose an image on the skin for easier location in the case of blood tests
  • Inspecting newly manufactured aircraft carriers for faster removal of construction steel 
  • Displaying visual instructions for driving directly on your windshield without obstructing vision 

Product Development

For decades now, engineers have been creating 3D models using computers, but they were restricted to the screen. Using augmented reality is a huge technological leap forward in the development of products. Being able to see the product as a life-sized hologram can save time and money when improving the designs. Superimposing 3D images onto physical objects can be a very helpful visual aid in the quality assurance process.

Designing Living & Work Spaces

We are seeing an increase in the use of augmented reality to design both places to live and working spaces. This technology can help with the layout design and building process of structures, as well as furnishing the inside area.

Augmented reality makes it possible to see how things will look in the living space, as well as to see whether things will fit – both physically, without need for tricky measurements, and visually, in contrast with the other things that may already exist in the space.

Online Shopping

Augmented reality has completely transformed the online shopping experience. Here are just a few of the ways that customers and vendors alike can benefit from using augmented reality to shop online:

  • Customers will have a more accurate idea of what they are ordering and how it will look when it gets there, reducing uncertainty with purchases
  • Vendors will notice fewer item returns and greater customer satisfaction
  • When items come in a variety of colours, options, or sizes, it will be easy for the customer to decide between them, without the vendor needing to have all of the custom items physically in stock to be viewed before ordering 

AR vs. VR vs. XR

To explain the differences between augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and extended reality (XR), here are the definitions by global technology and telecommunication research expert Thomas Alsop of Statista.

Augmented Reality

“Augmented reality (AR) technology integrates digital information with the physical environment, live and in real-time. Through the addition of graphics, sounds, haptic feedback, or even smell to the natural world as it exists, AR can combine real life with a super-imposed image or animation using the camera on a mobile device or AR headset.”

Virtual Reality

“Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience similar to or completely different from the real world. VR aims to create a sensory experience for the user, sometimes including sight, touch, hearing, smell, or even taste.”

Extended Reality

“Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term for all immersive technologies including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), plus those that are yet to be created. XR technologies extend the reality we experience by either merging the virtual and “real” worlds or by creating a fully immersive experience.

The global XR market size is expected to be worth 31 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, rising to close to 300 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. On a regional level, XR innovation is strong in the United States and Asia-Pacific, notably in Japan, South Korea, and China.” 


The PictureThis3D platform is a hybrid of augmented and virtual reality, and therefore best described as extended reality. Contact PictureThis3D now if you are interested in seeing what extended reality can do for you!

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