Carlo Cuomo
Trainer and expert consultant in Edutainment, Gamification and new technologies

In recent decades, thanks to the exponential evolution of technologies and the change of users and their habits, it has been possible to apply some technological solutions to enhance and reconstruct the real world that can be classified as new realities.

Augmented Reality, AR, Augmented Reality, is a solution capable of adding multimedia elements, such as images, audiovisuals, 3D models or hyperlinks, to the surrounding world framed by the cameras of mobile devices or integrated directly into the view of users in the case of use of wearable devices such as the Vuzix Blade. This is made possible either through the recognition of specific tags, markers, two-dimensional or three-dimensional, or using markerless approaches, through the recognition of unique geographical points in their coordinates of latitude and longitude or of the surrounding environment and related surfaces.

Virtual Reality, VR, Virtual reality, is a simulated reality, that is a three-dimensional environment built on the computer or acquired through 360 ° cameras or video cameras with which it is possible to make a user interact using computer devices, for example viewers such as Oculus Quest 2 or others , gloves, earphones, platforms etc., which allow you to project it into a realistic scenario, totally immersing it in the experience.

Finally, Mixed Reality, an evolution of AR, allows you to dynamically integrate interactive multimedia items within a real-time mapped environment, visible through wearable devices such as Microsoft Hololens 2, offering the user an extremely immersive simulation. in which digital holograms and the real world merge and interact with each other.

The contamination of these technologies and their hybridization opens up to further possibilities classified as XR experiences, Cross Reality, as well as applications in the immediate future within that new world currently highly treated called Metaverse.

If we wanted to map the uses of AR and VR in the different sectors, there is no doubt that one of the main applications seen in recent years is related to the entertainment sector. The recent announcement of the PlayStation VR 2 by Sony and the large target reached by AR titles such as Pokémon Go, show how these technologies are finding the favor of the general public, accustoming it to use, and are also present in the near future of entertainment. .

Similarly, however, these technologies have found wide application in various other sectors such as the enhancement of cultural heritage, education and the industrial world.

From a training point of view, the simulations of work processes and operational tasks developed in Virtual Reality have made it possible to make the learning process more engaging for learners and to reduce the risk of injuries, while the possibilities offered by AR have enhanced learning by allowing users to use manuals, videos or three-dimensional assets directly during the course of the process, thus reducing the percentage of error. Similarly, in maintenance, assembly, assembly or analysis operations, these technologies have proved useful, especially those of Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality, for features such as view sharing, sharing of views by multiple operators, and remote assistance. , remote guided assistance that intervenes directly on the view of the user.

It is no coincidence, in fact, that, as the Assintel Report of 2020 demonstrates, the investments of Italian companies in Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions (+ 160.5%) and wearable devices (+ 116.2%) are growing exponentially. . In particular, AR and VR proved to be functional for:

  • prevent workers from finding themselves in dangerous situations by introducing innovative methods of exposure monitoring;
  • improve the quality of work and relieve employees of repetitive or routine tasks;
  • allow workers to benefit from greater levels of autonomy and flexibility.

Furthermore, these technologies have found in recent years more and more space in a heterogeneous set of sectors such as medical, real estate, design and others, demonstrating their extreme versatility.

If on the one hand, however, they have proved to be extremely applicable, on the other we must remember some possible limitations, such as the invasiveness of VR viewers which makes them not particularly appreciated by some targets, or the mandatory nature of ” use of the device in AR, which penalizes the level of engagement of the experience, as well as possible budget or time constraints that could preclude its development.

Ultimately, it should be emphasized that the experiences offered by these technologies can be further enhanced by Machine Learning, the Cloud and other technologies, as well as by methodologies such as Gamification, the use of elements borrowed from games and game design techniques in contexts outside the games, or Storytelling, demonstrating possible future evolutions increasingly in line with the technological and human-centered trends of the moment. Therefore, they can represent a powerful ally in their business strategies as long as they are in line with the objectives and the target they are addressing. It is important, in fact, to know these new realities, keeping the focus on the purpose to be achieved and justifying their use as a tool at the service of an activity, carrying out an upstream analysis to understand whether production times and costs are commensurate with the benefit. that these technologies and related solutions would bring with their introduction.

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