In case you didn’t notice, the Microsoft X-Box Kinect has been launched today.
I’ve been following AR (Augmented Reality) technology for a while, even before it had been given the name Augmented Reality. It has roots going back to the Virtual Reality craze in the mid 90’s, and has been in development in its own right since the early noughties. Market-ready applications have only really started appearing last year, and adoption has started this year.
The following 3 examples not only show the potential for Augmented Reality, but also how companies are already using it for practical retail or entertainment uses.
Over that past decade face tracking has come on in leaps and bounds, motion capture is starting to see practical applications in a real-time environment with gaming, and with the help of a technology called Magic Symbol, augmented reality can be applied on top of physical objects.
Adidas has used it for shoes (with their AdiVerse experiment):
Lego’s Magic Symbol Retail Concept
Lego came up with a clever use for it at Disney World. With the help of Magic Symbol technology, you can see what’s inside the package before you open it. This has many interesting ramifications for the future of retail, especially if this were to be combined with shipping.
Holition Augmented Retail
With all this activity, it makes sense that an application for wearable retail items would come next. As it happens, it’s already available now. I’ve been following Holition for quite a few years as well in their mission to apply magic symbol technology to wearable jewellery and accessories. While they’re probably not the first research lab to think about applying AR to accessories, they certainly carried through on the execution, and seem to have produced a result more elegant than anyone else ever has before.
Holition is also currently experimenting with using this tool other applications such as eyewear, footwear, and clothing.
Obviously there’s going to be a real challenge to simulate the experience of “really” wearing an object that only exists on a computer screen. But the idea of being able to try on many different looks this quickly anywhere on Earth is a very compelling one indeed for the future of e-commerce.