What we can do with augmented reality

Augmented reality adds virtual information to a real scene – with practical applications that are already taking place.

8th June 2010
What we can do with augmented reality (iStock)

This month’s issue of Focus is in augmented reality – the pages come to life through your computer screen for a richer experience of the science in the magazine. You can also find the nearest place to get a copy of Focus with the Layar app for iPhones or android smartphones. But what else is out there?

Test out products

At Selfridges in London, shoppers use an interactive touchscreen window display to 'try on' virtual 3-D watches by strapping on a paper wristband.

Cure your fear of cockroaches

A study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking aims to help people get over a phobia of the creepy-crawlies by wearing a virtual reality headset with a camera attached. When they look at the image on the screen, the surface in front of them is covered with cockroaches.

The idea is to expose people to what they are afraid of (you can control the level of cockroaches) to gradually extinguish their fear. It could be used to simulate other fears at low cost - like flying or falling.



Augmented reality driving

And perhaps slightly less functional virtual reality cookies (you can eat them too)