Augmented Reality Use Cases (That’s Not Games)

Image Source: Gov Loop

Augment Reality (AR) has received a lot of attention with the success of Pokemon Go. AR aims to extract animations and place them into real-world environments. It has essentially merged the gap between reality and computer generated simulations by manipulating what the user experiences via sight, sound, smell and touch. In brief, AR integrates animations into your reality so the general setting looks the same but with some few added details. Although AR is related to Virtual Reality (VR), the two technologies are not synonymous. VR produces computer generated simulations of an environment that users can experience by wearing a helmet or gloves with built-in sensors. Read my previous blog on VR for more insight. AR on the other hand allows users to experience the technology simply by glancing into the screen of an Android, iPhone or other mobile device such as a tablet. AR is altering the world as we know it or at least changing the way people experience the world. The Pokémon explosion is probably the most well-known platform that has utilized AR for gaming. It may sound silly to some, but the game is highly addictive. To understand specific reasons behind this obsession, read my previous blog to learn why Pokémon Go has become so successful. To gain a better understanding of how app developers have taken advantage of this innovative technology, we will look at a few providers who have successfully used AR for non-gaming purposes.

Health and Education with AR: Anatomy 4D

This app is a cloud-based, interactive examining simulation resource for academic uses. It offers users with online access to anatomy data while analyzing detailed bone structures and organ systems. This can be done by downloading specialized research templates or by enabling structure projection and layer blending. Anatomy 4D allows project structures to synch with skin to analyze coordination and position. Users can also adequately balance the layers to reveal discrete anatomic implications. You can also hover over objects or images to reveal detailed information via label view. It is these perspectives that produce enhanced learning retention by granting students an in-depth look at any part of the body they are studying. This also is useful for medical instructors who can organize image and structure curriculums along with managing lessons and tests.

Image Source: mzstatic

Shopping with AR: Pair

This app enables users to place animated images of furniture into their space so they can perfectly visualize how it would look in real life.  Pair’s tag line is “The New Way to Try Before you Buy with Augmented Reality.” Indeed the app grants prospects an easier method to experience the end result of their interior design project. For example, let’s say you just purchased your first home and the space is completely empty. You would be able to walk room to room while viewing how you would want it to look through your mobile device. You’d be able to put furniture, pictures and other items in designated areas of the space, swap them out, switch them around etc. Cool right? Still, Pair has a much more expansive purpose than simply furniture and can enhance scientific, educational and commercial projects by giving spectators a 3D demonstration of what a particular vision would look like. I was able to see Pair in action during 500 Startups Batch 18 Demo Day and it’s pretty impressive.

Graphic Source: Google Plus

Mechanics and Construction with AR: AMA XpertEye

This month, AMA XpertEye will supply workers of the Keolis Commuter Services (KCS) in Massachusetts with AR smart glasses to improve communication and boost efficiency on their railway transportation system. These specialized glasses stream the video being recorded tethered to a mobile device. The remote supervisor monitors the recording over a laptop. From there, both parties can “exchange written messages and take screenshots of the video, annotate the images, and send them to each other.” Ultimately, their goal is to speed up delays caused from train repairs and other technical difficulties that may get them off track. Additionally, Keolis is considering the technology for training purposes so newcomers can literally see through the eyes of their seasoned field workers.


Image Source: AMA XpertEye

Sports and Play with AR: RideOn Vision

This cutting edge technology created by Heads up Display is seen with their RideOn Ski Goggles. These one of a kind specs allow users to access heightened assistance while skiing or snowboarding the slopes. Map navigation systems can guide users easily through the rough and diverse terrain better than ever before. You can also communicate with other riders, see their whereabouts and even text them hands-free. In addition, the goggles allow riders to capture their surroundings and share them online for others to see. The company is also developing games that can be played directly through these exclusive lenses. And of course, users can jam to their own personalized soundtrack as they ride, jump, flip and recover from a wipe out.  Although the technology is geared for the snow, it’s useful for motorcyclists, ATV riders and other similar vehicles.


Image Source: Pintrest

As technology progresses, it will be interesting to see what other AR use cases are developed.

By Rich Foreman, CEO / Apptology and Director of Startup Grind Sacramento. Rich co-authored the book Tap into the Mobile Economy and his blog has been listed in the Top 20 Mobile Marketing Blogs of 2014.  Follow Rich on Twitter at@ApptologyCEO or attend a Startup Grind Sacramento Event.

Highlights of 500 Startups Demo Day 17

500 Startups Batch 17

500 Startups held their Demo Day for Batch 17 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.  Demo Day serves as the graduation for the Batch 17 class of 42 companies.    I’ve been to many Demo Days at other accelerators and 500 Startups is the most fun and festive.  The theme for Batch 17’s Demo Day was Beauty and the Geek (many of the startups fit in the categories of beauty or B2B).  500 Startups Co-Founder, Christine Tsai, kicked it off by doing a dance dressed up Napoleon Dynamite (these guys know how to party).  Not to be out done, 500 Startups Co-Founder, Dave McClure wore a rainbow colored unicorn wig as he spoke to the crowd. You can view Demo Day in its entirety here.    With that said, I’ve highlighted 8 startups that stood out in my mind in this article.

Startup Best at Catching My Attention

As I parked my car, I was approached by the Fuel Panda team that offered to fill my car up for $1.99 while my car was parked.  How could I say no?  Their model is to offer a subscription service where they will have fuel trucks that will fill up your gas tank while your car is parked at work.

Startup with Coolest Technology

Pair3D had the coolest technology.  They build 3D models of furniture and have an app that allows the user to see what the furniture could look like in their home and office by using augmented reality on their smartphone or tablet.    You can get a better sense of what they do in this video.

Startup with a service that I would buy for my business

There were several B2B startups but the startup that had a service that I would probably buy is InDinero.  InDinero has a service that consists of accounting software supported by book keepers and CPAs.  As I was speaking to them at their demo table, I found that their solution addresses my pain points as a startup.  (I actually asked them to follow up with me).

Startup that has best potential for being a Unicorn

Simless has created a product that replaces SIM cards with software.    Honestly, I don’t know the advantages or disadvantages this offers but there are a lot of cell phones (7 billion plus) out there.  If they can execute and capture some of that market, I can see the potential of Simless becoming a Unicorn (with a valuation of over a billion).

Startup with weirdest product line

I took a double take as COIEO CEO, Jae Rhim Lee, dressed in a black hooded burial suit (made from mushrooms)  describes her company’s green funeral product line.   Definitely weird in my book.   However, with death and taxes being the few certainties in life, they might be on to something.

Startup with the best SWAG

Baby Mori touts itself as the world’s softest baby essentials.  They also had the best SWAG at Demo Day.  I shamelessly snag a gift the last boxed baby blanket (which was indeed very soft) for my newly born nephew.

Startup with best solution for the Bay Area housing Crunch

The biggest display at demo day was from Montainer Homes.  On display in the parking lot was one of the their affordable homes made from recycled storage containers.  They are currently targeting Bay Area home owners that want to add a second house on their property (and rent it out on AirBnB).

Startup with a product that I would buy for my kids

Jewelbots makes a smart programmable bracelet designed for kids between 7 and 14.  It’s something that I see my daughter using and best of all it teaches the basics of programing.  I’m actually eying this for my daughter as a Christmas gift.

How well the Batch 17 companies do remains to be seen.  500 Startups does have an excellent track record; producing 3 Unicorn companies (valuation over 1 B), 37 Centaurs (valuation between $100 – 999 M), and over 300 ponies (valuation between $10 – 99 M).  Coming from such an amazing pedigree, I have to say the future for the Batch 17 companies are bright.

If I piqued your interest in 500 Startups, they are currently looking for applicants for Batch 19.   Good candidates should have:

  • Balanced Team
  • Product Launched
  • Traction with Good Metrics

If your startup is interested in applying for Batch 19, you can do so here.  Good luck!