How does Augmented Reality connect the physical and digital worlds? Pokemon Go, a game that took the gaming industry by storm with more than a billion downloads, honored with the title of Best Mobile Game by Game Developers Choice Awards and the “Best App of the Year” by TechCrunch brought the concept of Augmented Reality into the limelight. And why not?
The game brought lifeless things to life. The Pokemon who was supposed to be within the game could be seen in real-time. It was fascinating and captured the imagination of millions.
Sure it was! Now Pokemon Go is among one of the first applications of Augmented Reality released in 2016. Four years down the line, the technology has grown and so has the way we implement it.
From manufacturing to retail, engineering, and educational, Augmented Reality has travelled the entire industrial web. While this article will talk about the technology, the implementation has been narrowed down to the health sector. By health, we restrict the application to the fitness industry.
We will learn how Augmented Reality has shaped the fitness sector and we will also discuss an excellent application designed and developed by a company called Anything AR.
Picture this: you are in an automobile showroom admiring the beauty of top models and the newly created designs. To understand the structure and the internal aspects of a car, the executive would either run you down the information orally or at most, he/she presents a presentation on the design.
If we talk about the presentation, you have a computer screen and a PPT playing slide after slide, segmenting the design and displaying all that it holds. Now imagine if you could have this entire structure displayed in real-time. The idea would be the same with the only difference being in the display. Instead of viewing it on the computer screen, you can see it right in front of you (image augmented on a plane surface).
Isn't that exciting?
It is and the technology that helps to achieve the above is what we call Augmented Reality. A definition:
"Augmented Reality (AR) is the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio, and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects.” – Gartner IT Glossary
Fact check: Augmented Reality is one of the trending technologies of
IDC predicted that the global market spending on AR and VR would cross $160 billion by the end of 2023.
Meaning that the technology has tremendous potential to grow and is most likely to transform the life and living of people across the globe.
Having said the above, we now move towards the application of Augmented Reality in the Fitness Industry.
The impending crisis has made people aware of their health issues and for good reason. People now have started to pay heed to working out and exercising more. But here again, a problem that surfaces is the absence of fitness trainers and the inability to visit gyms.
Even though the ones who have been used to working out managed to shift their workout regimen to their homes, people who are new to this found it hard to do and to do it right. This is where the concept of Augmented Reality in fitness comes into play.
AR fitness apps are designed in a way that augments a virtual fitness trainer in real-time. This would then guide users to perform exercises in the right way, adhering to the right posture. An example here is the fitness app by Anything AR.
An organization working closely with AR engineers to bring lifeless objects to life, Marcus (co-founder of Anything AR) shared insights on their company, the application, and future endeavors. According to him, technology has the power and the potential to redefine life. They have been working on the design for some time. Initially, the design wasn't similar to what they now have.
Bogged down by the complete shutdown of business activities, they had to undertake the motion capture for AR Fitness via a mobile device. The computer vision techniques that their engineer specialists had honed over the years were now used to produce an AR Avatar. This would be then augmented in real-time as a life-sized AR Personal Trainer
Features of the AR Fitness Application
Besides having a fully optimized life-size AR Avatar via a personal mobile device, the application would allow users to use the AR Fitness application in monoscopic view and switch seamlessly to stereoscopic with Smart Glasses.
Further, the Pose Estimation feature embedded within the app ensures that the user maintains the correct position, whilst undertaking the exercises with their chosen AR Avatar. Makers of the application claim that the app is an excellent alternative to 2D exercises, helping people exercise without getting hurt.
The application currently is in its POC stage and would soon find a place in our smartphones. The company has tied up with personal trainers who would use the app for their clients. As for the next move, the company plans to reach out to the corporate world too for the employees to add working out to their everyday schedule.
As Marcus said:
"Industries like Healthcare, Manufacturing, Construction, Architecture can use the technology today, to provide instant information to the user's eyeline. Content can be delivered to a surgeon during an operation, to a production worker working within a manufacturing plant, a construction worker building structural components, etc. All of which are as important as each other. With the use of AR, elements will not be missed, reducing manufacturing issues, improving training / upskilling of new workers, and most importantly improving
We believe that Augmented Reality would shape business operations across all industry verticals. Moving from apps to smartphones, the technology would soon flourish with more VR Headsets and smart glasses available for the users delivering an immersive user experience. Once achieved, it's likely we will see an explosion in AR offerings.