Are consumers ready for augmented reality? This photo provided by Wayfair shows screenshots demonstrating WayfairView for Tango-enabled Android phones, allowing a user to superimpose virtual images over real-life settings. The app allows shoppers to see how furniture will look in their living room or other space before buying it. (Wayfair Inc. via AP/IKEA via AP)
Are consumers ready for augmented reality?

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You might have gotten a taste of "augmented reality." That's the blending of the virtual and physical worlds. For instance, you might have chased on-screen monsters at real-world landmarks in last year's gaming sensation, "Pokemon Go."

Upcoming augmented reality apps will follow that same principle of superimposing virtual images over real-life settings. That could let you see how furniture will look in your real living room before you buy it.

"Pokemon Go" didn't require special hardware or software. But more advanced AR apps will. Google and Apple are both developing technology to enable that. Google's AR technology is already on some Android phones. On Tuesday, Google announced plans to bring AR to even more phones. This includes Samsung's popular S8. And it includes Google's own Pixel. But Google didn't give a timetable beyond promising an update by the end of the year.

As a result, Apple might pull ahead. It will extend AR to all recent iPhones. And also to all iPads. That will come in a software update. It is expected next month. It is iOS 11. Hundreds of millions of AR-ready devices will suddenly be in the hands of consumers.

But how many are ready to give AR a try?

There have been a dozen or so apps demoed recently for Android and iPhones. The ones showing the most promise are furniture apps.

From a catalog or a website, it's hard to tell whether a sofa or a bed will actually fit in your room. Even if it fits, will it be far enough from other pieces of furniture for someone to walk through?

With AR, you can go to your living room or bedroom and add an item you're thinking of buying. The phone maps out the dimensions of your room. It scales the virtual item automatically. There's no need to pull out a tape measure. The online furnishing store Wayfair has the WayfairView. It is for Android phones. Ikea is coming out with one for Apple devices. Wayfair says it's exploring bringing the app to iPhones. It also wants to bring ti to and iPads.

As for whimsical, Holo for Android lets you pose next to virtual tigers and cartoon characters. For iPhones and iPads, the Food Network will let you add frosting and sprinkles to virtual cupcakes. You can also add balloons and eyes. You can share creations on social media.

Games and education are also popular categories. On Apple devices, a companion to AMC's "The Walking Dead" creates zombies alongside real people. On Android, apps being built for classrooms will let students explore the solar system. It will let them explore volcanoes and more.

Virtual reality is a technology that immerses you in a different world. It does not try to supplement the real world with virtual images. That is what AR does. VR was supposed to be the next big thing. But the appeal has been limited outside of games and industrial applications. You need special headsets. They might make you dizzy if you wear one too long.

And VR isn't very social. Put on the headset, and you shut out everyone else around you. Part of the appeal of "Pokemon Go" was the ability to run into strangers who were also playing. Augmented reality can be a shared experience. Friends look on the phone screen with you.

AR shows more promise than VR. But there has yet to be a "killer app" that everyone must have.

Rather, people will discover AR over time. It could happen over a few years. Someone renovating or moving might discover the furniture apps. New parents might discover educational apps. Those people might then go on to discover more AR apps to try out. But just hearing that AR is available might not be enough for someone to check it out.

Consider mobile payments. Most phones now have the capability. But people still tend to pull out plastic when shopping. There's no doubt more people are using mobile payments. More retailers are accepting them. But it's far from commonplace.

Expect augmented reality to also take time to take off.

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Assigned 20 times
How does augmented reality differ from reality?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • alexb-hol1
    9/08/2017 - 11:36 a.m.

    Augmented reality is merging the real world with virtual games, pictures,etc. With reality, what ever is there in the world, is there and real. Augmented reality puts things that aren't there right in front of you and allows you to interact with it when it isn't even real.

  • haydens-hol
    9/08/2017 - 11:36 a.m.

    augmented reality differs because, what you see on your phone is not right in front of you, VR shuts you out of everything and AR lets you see the real world when you play games or any kind of stuff. (such as Pokemon Go)

  • gabbyg-hol
    9/08/2017 - 11:37 a.m.

    With augmented reality it kind of gives you a visual on how something would actually look in real life. Like there are apps to see how the couch you like will look in your living room before you actually buy it. Or there are even apps that will put virtual zombies for you to kill in your house or other things like that.

  • andrewp-hol
    9/08/2017 - 11:37 a.m.

    Augmented reality differs from reality in the fact that in the AR world, nothing is actually effected. For instance, whenever using an AR furniture app, you don't actually put the furniture in your home rather than you portray an image on a device that shows basically what the furniture would look like. AR has no tangible effect on reality as it is all on devices, but allows people to ease themselves when making many different purchases.

  • joshuaj-hol1
    9/08/2017 - 11:38 a.m.

    Augmented reality is to put certain objects through the camera of your phone or something so you can see it in like in front of you in your real house.

  • kendylr-hol
    9/08/2017 - 11:38 a.m.

    Virtual reality is a technology that immerses you in a different world. It does not try to supplement the real world with virtual images. Augmented reality can be a shared experience. Friends look on the phone screen with you. That is what AR does. While reality is just reality, you see what is in front of you and can share whatever experience your having with whoever is with you.

  • libertyk-hol
    9/08/2017 - 11:38 a.m.

    Augmented reality is the blend of virtual and actual reality. In this type of reality, virtual images take place over real-life settings. Pokemon Go is an example of augmented reality as virtual images of the creatures appear on-screen of real-life landmarks seen through cameras. While reality shows us what is truly there, augmented reality shows us a virtual image of what could be.

  • donovanc-hol
    9/08/2017 - 11:39 a.m.

    In augmented reality a person would only be able to see the item through the device and nobody could touch the item shown in the device. Reality is real so a person would be able to feel it and see it with their own eyes instead of on a screen. AR could also be a hologram which someone would still not be able to touch.

  • davidc-hol2
    9/08/2017 - 02:55 p.m.

    i think the soft where update shouldn't use data or WiFi it is just required to up date it self with a charge of .99 cents

  • daisym-hol
    9/08/2017 - 03:10 p.m.

    huh never knew that.

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