The Jonajo Blog

Augmented Reality: Try Before you Buy


In today’s culture of online shopping the idea of trying something before you buy it might seem unrealistic. Or it might look like buying the product and trying it on. Then going through the laborious process of shipping it back and getting a refund if you decide you don’t like it. If you’re anything like me that process usually ends with you keeping whatever item you bought that you aren’t completely satisfied with because the idea of dealing with mailing it back and trying to get a refund sounds like far too large of a headache.

Well, if that sounds familiar I have good news for you. Through the magic of augmented reality it is possible to try some products before you buy them even online. In this article I will tell you about what exactly augmented reality is, how augmented reality differs from virtual reality, and how you can use augmented reality to try out that lipstick you are thinking about buying. Plus we will look at some of the other cool ways that augmented reality is being used in the world today.

What is AR?

Let’s start with a quick definition of augmented reality so that we are all on the same page with what we are talking about. The simplest way to put it is that augmented reality is the combination of text, images and sounds with our real world. If you didn’t live under a rock a few years ago you probably remember the Pokemon Go craze. Well, Pokemon Go is actually a perfect example of augmented reality. 

In the game you would be out walking around and suddenly you would spot a pokemon. The creature itself was obviously digital but your phone was using your real life surroundings for the game. Things like your location, the surrounding terrain and other people all played a real role in your game play. This is the beauty of augmented reality. It takes the real world and adds images, words, and sounds (possibly even smells?). Needless to say, the possibilities that go along with this new technology are limitless and engineers are having fun with them

Augmented Reality versus Virtual Reality

Okay, so augmented reality means that my device is adding to the world that I see around me using sounds, pictures and words. How is this different from virtual reality? Great question! While augmented reality adds on to the physical world, virtual reality completely shuts it out. The purpose of virtual reality is to be completely immersed in the virtual world. If you have the correct technology in virtual reality you can interact with the computer generated world. Importantly, it does not have a basis in the actual physical world. 

Augmented reality in the world today

Augmented reality is quickly becoming a wide spread technology. The ability to visualize products and imagine what it might be like to own them without having to make a purchase is highly desirable to most consumers. For that reason augmented reality is beginning to show up in many different areas of life. For example, AR GPS Drive/Walk Navigation and AR GPS Compass Map 3D are two applications that have shown up in the app store recently. The purpose of these apps are to help people navigate easier. They do so by using the GPS and camera on your cell phone to superimpose directions.

Other applications that we have seen are ones like those produced by the company Total Immersion. Notably this company has created an app that allows you to try on glasses prior to purchasing. This allows you to see if the frames fit your face. They also have plenty of other apps for business and fun. Our company, Jonajo has also created a few applications in the realm of augmented reality. The most practical of our applications allows you to try on make-up before you buy it. With this application you can be sure that you are buying the right shade for your skin tone every time. This application and others like it can be used to make life infinitely easier. At the very least, online shopping will be way better!

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Alyssa Wicker

Alyssa Wicker is a Field Marketing Representative at Jonajo Consulting and a PhD Student in Marketing at the University of California, Riverside.

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