Early AR applications were used in military and industrial settings, where they were used to superimpose data on top of real-world objects. AR apps are now available on smartphones and other devices, allowing people to use AR to do everything from finding their way around a new city to playing games.

1. Gaming

Physical-world games are great ways to get exercise, but set-up and clean-up, as well as physical world rules of physics can limit the experience. Many easily remember the Pokemon Go craze of 2016. Imagine a future where you can easily start up a game of laser tag with your friends at the park with only your AR glasses needed. Or a scavenger hunt for mythical creatures that hide in your very own neighborhood. Maybe turn your home into a haunted house on Halloween. Or even if you’re stationary you could easily play an animated board game.

2. Try Before You Buy

AR is currently the cheapest and easiest “try before you buy” marketing strategy tool. People are already using AR apps on their phone to see how furniture looks in their home before they buy it, or how accessories look on themselves before committing to a purchase.

3. Environment context

Augmented reality can be used to provide information about your surroundings. Yelp reviews can pop up besides restaurants you pass by. Buildings can have little popups showing the date of construction. Constellations in the sky can be highlighted.

4. Instruction / Training / Education

Instead of instruction manuals, imagine putting on your pair of AR glasses and it guides you through the process of assembling newly bought furniture. Little arrows point to where you need to place certain screws. The names and numbers of each item appear floating on top of them. Not only that, but simulations in medical care or any other environment can help train new employees. Also imagine having your own virtual yoga instructor appear right in your living room whenever you’re ready. Or picture virtual tour guides. And of course, for students, AR can make education far more exciting. Instead of reading a history textbook, a historical scene can play out right in the classroom.

5. Navigation

Augmented reality can be used for navigation purposes. GPS instructions can appear on the window of a car, complete with arrows pointing where you need to go. In-world arrows are a game-changer. Arrows can appear over the sidewalk guiding you to the subway. The name of where you are can hover in the air with arrows giving you a compass.

6. Marketing

Augmented reality can be used in marketing and advertising campaigns. Digital product placement and ad space is far more doable with AR. Services and products relevant to your location would be quickly shown to you. Arguably this is the least favorite part for many users.

7. Therapy

If you’re feeling anxious, AR glasses in the future can be set up to offer you more relaxing visuals and sounds. Certain settings can have a great effect on our mood. Quick notes can appear right in your field of view as well, reminding you to breathe or close your eyes for a moment.

8. Working with disabilities

Text could could appear indicating sounds for deaf individuals who’d wish to know. Or provide help to locate ADA compliant areas. Or help users with colorblindness with special AR filters. AR could provide many work-arounds for those who’d want or need it.

9. Translations

Google translate has a AR feature where you can instantly translate text in your environment. This is hugely beneficial for when you’re in another country and you don’t understand the language. Street signs, storefronts, books – suddenly understandable.

10. Who Knows?

AR is an exciting technology that still has a ton of future potential. The possibilities are not even fully imagined yet as companies like Apple scramble to further develop it. In a nutshell, AR can serve two main purposes: Providing information that is more closely tied to its source, and running through scenarios before they are physically realized.

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