Auditory AR

Auditory AR

Think about the importance of sound in your daily life. Maybe, you’re an avid music lover or a musician yourself. But, when you really think about it– what’s an immersive experience without the auditory component?

Movie ticket prices keep rising; yet, people continue to buy them. One of the reasons may be because movie-goers truly get to experience the movie due to the high-quality surround sound. We can also explore the rise of voice assistance in GPS and Amazon’s Audible. Needless to say, audio technology is evolving to be of major significance in our future world experiences. 

When we look at augmented reality we automatically associate it with the visual overlays and incredible 3D augmentation– but auditory AR is just as significant. Major technology companies such as Google and Bose have begun experimenting in this space.

According to The Verge, “Bose built a few simple apps for SXSW, which work pretty well, if not perfectly. The most impressive demonstration was an augmented reality tour of the bars and restaurants along Austin street. It worked like visual augmented reality, but with sound instead of a heads-up display: you look at a building and tap a touchpad on your temple, and they offer a sentence or two about what’s inside.

Fascinating research is also taking place at Facebook Reality Labs. Facebook has recruited a team of ‘audio professionals’ to connect individuals on a far greater scale. They are developing ideas like audio presence and enhanced hearing. The technology they are prototyping can understand what you actually want to listen to and enhance those signals. So, for instance, if you are at an extremely noisy bar with your AR glasses, the technology enables you to hear the person sitting across from you more clearly. Likewise, if the person using the technology decides to look at the TV, the football game would get louder again.

Other spectacular use cases include remote assistance and audio AR for the blind or low vision population. GPS is useful but can only guide people to the approximate location of their target, while AR applications have greater spatial accuracy. If someone who is visually impaired is looking at a desk, the AR technology could potentially help them label all the items from left to right. Integrating an advanced audio interface into AR applications can help the blind population navigate the world in a much easier way. 

Audio AR has the potential to break down barriers in our world and is just as important as visual information. By combining the superpowers of audio and visual technology– augmented reality will be even more powerful than we ever imagined.  

What do you think?


The Digital Native– A Series

The Digital Native– a term first coined by Mark Prensky in 2001– to describe the generation of people who have grown up in the digital age. Well, me being a 22-year-old college graduate, I fit into this description perfectly. I decided to do a short series where I am going to explore the monumental rise of technology from my perspective– and other “digital natives” who I work alongside with. 

Yes, it’s true, I don’t quite remember a time without computers. However, I remember the hassle of dial-up internet and extremely slow speeds. My parent’s home office computer was the size of a dinosaur– I may be exaggerating a bit– but you get the point. Using the internet was not even worth it at times. As 6th grade came around, I was uber jealous of my friends who were allowed a cell phone– with the most basic calling and texting functionalities. I, on the other hand, still had to call my friend’s home phones and politely go through the parent who picked up on the other side. 

Then came the rise of Apple. I distinctly recall being able to switch from my hand-held CD player to an iPod shuffle, and I was ecstatic. The idea of having my music all in one place was amazing. One of my top requests on my birthday that year was an iTunes gift card. As each song costs $1.29, I was very wise about my selections. In 2009, Apple released the newest version of the iPod Nano, with the biggest screen yet. Obviously, this was the start of Apple’s big takeoff. Eventually, I got hold of the iPod touch and a phone of my own. I shared my phone plan with the rest of my family, so I had a limited number of texts I could send before we were charged extra. My iPod touch made it easier for me to text my friends on wifi– with no extra charge, I felt like I had the world at my fingertips. 

It is fascinating to look back at my childhood and grasp the way technology changed so quickly. Many people may look back and wish they had invested in Apple or any of the other “Tech Giants” at the time of their rise. Needless to say, it seems like we are at another turning point for breakthrough technologies. Ten years ago, if you would have mentioned artificial intelligence to anyone in the room, they would have thought you were referencing a sci-fi movie. However, today, Alexa has already proven the power of artificial intelligence. Mixed realities– such as AR and VR– are likely to be just as significant as the rise of computers.

As businesses, colleges, and healthcare systems all begin to embrace immersive technology, my life and future career has the potential to look much different than generations before me. It is both daunting and exciting. Yet–as a digital native– it can’t be too anomalous, can it? 

The Future of Wayfinding

The Future of Wayfinding

Museums, healthcare facilities, and airlines are all beginning to take advantage of AR digital wayfinding. Wayfinding– which refers to the process or activity of ascertaining one’s position and planning and following a route– can be useful in many situations.

We have all dealt with frustrations in navigating our way to a destination–sometimes with a time crunch– to only wish we had more useful tools to help. For example, when traveling in a foreign country, one may need to board their next flight in a timely manner. Navigating through an unfamiliar airport can be intimidating– especially with signage in a different language. Thus, forcing someone to rely on airport personnel for information and assistance. 

As current technology continues to expand, AR wayfinding can improve the experience of navigation forever. In an article by Mobiddiction, it is revealed that Augmented Reality wayfinding is more reliable than GPS. The article points out that, “ The AR system is so precise it can guide users to a distant gate in a busy airport or even a specific bed in a vast medical facility complex.” 

We see new companies being developed such as Visualix that utilize AR cloud wayfinding technology to make business and visual asset management easier. For utility workers that need assistance in tracking assets and a better understanding of their surroundings, 3D wayfinding is a plausible solution.

As written in the article, “Beyond improving finding your way around supermarkets, galleries, museums, conferences and more, AR can also improve accessibility for visually impaired users by providing turn-by-turn audio prompts.” The brilliant combination of audio and visual overlay creates an elite navigation system that assists all sectors of the community.

Assistive technology, such as AR wayfinding, can extend our abilities to understand the world around us. Per Mobiddiction, over 75% of smartphone owners regularly use navigation apps. Therefore, why not transform the existing navigation system to make it more efficient, safe, and engaging. It is exciting to think about the vast opportunities for augmented reality to become a part of our daily lives. Just as getting around the city was more difficult before Uber, we may look back and remember how grueling indoor navigation was before Augmented reality.


What do you think? Feel free to leave any comments below!




AR in the Utility Industry

AR in the Utility Industry

  The utility industry faces future workforce problems, as baby boomers retire. In addition to this, safety and efficiency are on-going issues. We have seen the rise of Augmented Reality (AR), which allows for the real-world environment to be painted over with digital enhancements. Other variants of this such as mixed reality, artificial intelligence, and assisted reality are set to take off in a big way. However, how do emerging technologies tie into the energy and utility sector? 

According to an article by GloblaData Energy, “AR may benefit investor-owned, municipal and cooperative utilities in improving business processes, speed power restoration and help address the challenge of an aging, retiring utility workforce facilitating the preservation of institutional knowledge.” 

As mentioned with aging workers retiring, the energy sector will need to train and hire thousands of new employees. This poses a challenge because novice employees may not be familiar or experienced enough to work with dangerous equipment or circumstances. AR has the ability to allow new trainees to interact with 3D models of equipment and gain a better understanding of how they function. Thus, enabling more “in-depth training and faster information retention.”

AR can also be developed to fit in with existing data in the field. For example, the article reveals systems being designed that “combine GIS technology with AR to display infrastructure such as pipes, lines, cables and other assets in-field and in real-time.” 

It is clear that AR allows for greater visualization of underground assets and equipment. Not only that, but according to GlobalData Energy,  accidents may be reduced by AR- wearables or devices that “enable a subject matter expert to advise a field technician on what steps to take.” By implementing such technology, safety can be kept at the forefront. 

As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”—AR can expedite years of knowledge by experts in the industry to increase overall efficiency and productivity. The power that emerging technologies are set to have on the utility segment cannot be overlooked. 

We would love to hear from you on how you think AR will impact the energy sector! 


Will COVID-19 Accelerate the use of AR?

Will COVID-19 Accelerate the use of AR?

The COVID-19 outbreak challenges businesses across the world and forces them to realize the importance of information technologies. With restrictions, such as social distancing, inability to travel, and disrupted supply chains, companies must adapt. Per a survey done by Grid Raster, 56% of businesses have implemented some form of AR/VR technologies, and another 35% are considering doing so. With COVID-19 accelerating the adoption of other online services, such as zoom, enterprise AR is the obvious next step.

As mentioned in a recent article from the AREA, “Augmented Reality can help mitigate the business impact while supporting business continuity through the pandemic.”

For the utility industry, social distancing can be especially difficult. Frontline workers may not be able to go on-site and maintain issues. This is where technologies such as AR-enhanced remote assistance come into play.

According to Sarah Reynolds, “AR-enhanced remote assistance enables product experts to connect with on-site employees and even end customers to offer them contextualized information and expert guidance, helping them resolve these issues quickly and ultimately reduce downtime. AR-enabled remote assistance marries the physical and the digital worlds – allowing experts and front-line workers to digitally annotate the physical world around them to improve the clarity, precision, and accuracy of their communication and collaboration.”

Similarly, AR can provide assistance to healthcare workers who need medical training or help with equipment changeover. AR-enhanced methods reduce human error –  and streamline the otherwise complicated learning process.

As pointed out by the AREA, AR supports remote collaboration. “AR enables users who are physically separated to be able to “inhabit” a shared virtual space, distributed by the AR application.”  Although organizations are utilizing video conferencing software, AR is the missing puzzle piece. With many people working from home, one crucial element is missing: collaboration. It is difficult to share information and communicate without face-to-face interaction. By taking advantage of AR, businesses can expand and thrive in the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the future to come.


How do you think COVID-19 will shift the use of digital technologies? Will Augmented Reality fill in the missing pieces for enterprise and e-commerce companies? Leave your thoughts below!



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