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How Will Augmented Reality Affect the Web?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a medium which can appeal to many of our senses (seeing, listening and reading), but is mostly meant to be experienced alongside reality. AR is used to improve the real world by superimposing information which would otherwise be visible on a smartphone or computer. The big difference is that a lot of information displayed through the AR device is relevant to what the person is looking at or their location. So in essence “augmented reality adds digital information to the world that you can interact with in the same manner that you interact with the physical world.” (Alan B. Craig, “Understanding Augmented Reality, 2013).

AR applications can be seen on today’s smartphones, by utilising the camera on the phone and displaying the world with additional information on the screen. An example is superimposing a picture onto the screen where the camera picks up a certain pattern or combination of colours.

A better implementation of AR can be seen with the upcoming Microsoft HoloLens, glasses equipped with a computer and eyepiece lens display.

AR is not yet an everyday thing for the majority of the public, however it is quickly being adopted in many different areas such as gaming, education and advertising. AR will no doubt change the way we use the web in many different ways. Some of these include:

  • AR Social Media applications: showing information about people you meet by using face recognition.
  • Advertising: Magazines and billboards with patterns to allow 3D models to be superimposed onto the physical object. This could mean higher sales for suffering mediums (like the above) at present day.
  • Education: A popular use of AR at the moment is the creation of “magic books”. Future development could include virtual lab experiments, e.g chemistry.


Possible Subject areas: Computer Vision, Computer Science, Sociology & Psychology.


5 thoughts on “How Will Augmented Reality Affect the Web?

  1. Anna says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I know we were discussing the use of AR with Microsoft’s HoloLens. I thought I would mention, at the same conference I went to a talk about using AR in de-stigmatising and helping to give student’s support when suffering from Mental Illness (especially depression). They put posters up in the school, and student’s were encouraged to get their phones out and see these posters come alive with the stories of those who had suffered with a variety of mental health issues. I thought when I was there that it was a fascinating way of dealing with Mental Health issues in a secondary school. They found that it allowed students to spend longer looking at those posters, without onlooking individuals assuming they had a mental health issue- as it was cool, new technology so everyone was looking at the posters. This actually led to more young people at that school seeking help for their mental health issues, and created a better understanding of mental health within the school, and how hard it can be to suffer with it.

    Hope that helps at all, thought it was another perspective of how AR has been used.


  2. Jo Dixon says:

    I like what Anna said. Interesting. Though not sure what it’s got to do with the web. Check out Qualcomm’s massive public AR mural. https://player

    Not sure what that’s got to do with the web either but it’s so cool. And I used to work with the guy in the blue shirt 🙂

  3. Chira Tochia says:

    Hey Ryan,

    From working in advertising for a few years I can say that when this technology first came out everyone was trying to find a way they could incorporate AR into their campaigns such as Lynx Angels

    and most magazine cover wraps ( Usually the results were very positive, in particular the high engagement levels with a brand.

    I always feel though that it has a slight QR code affect on things if not executed effectively. From my knowledge usually AR has to be activated through the use of an app and there isn’t one leading one as such although I guess Blippar is quite popular. Is this causing a huge obstacle to the use of AR and therefore preventing others from benefiting from seeing great campaigns like the one Anna has described above?

    I really like the idea of it’s use in education to help with learning, perhaps the younger generations grow up with an AR app being a staple app on their phone so they don’t even see it as the shiny new technology but just another way to consume information.

  4. Vera Shcherbina says:

    I can imagine two more industries who is interesting in AR: tourism (and virtual tourism) and, of course, gaming — see the legendary game “Ingress”.

  5. Vera Shcherbina says:

    Aaaa, mistakes. Sorry, I can’t edit it.


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