It’s not all lightsabres and Pokémon!

For most everyday Aussies, our first brush with AR or augmented reality came with the launch of Pokémon Go. But what is it really, and why do you need to care?

What is AR and VR?

In a nutshell, Augmented Reality is a technology that brings ‘not real’ things into your real world. In the example of Pokémon Go, you are using your phone’s camera to view your house, work, or a street – but overlaid in that you can see all the crazy critters that you could catch.

Virtual Reality, on the other hand, is an entirely made up or fictional world you can access through technology.

Lenses & Frames

Another form of AR you are probably already familiar with is lenses and frames.

Snapchat and Instagram both use lenses; they’re the features you can swipe up and turn yourself into a puppy, vomit a rainbow or see what you’d look like as a piece of toast.

You can now check out Snapchat Lenses Studio to create your own. This is well worth doing if you have a big event coming up, like a gala fundraiser. You can create your own dedicated lense for the night!

Of course, Facebook frames have been around for a while now, and are the simplest type of AR. It’s basically a ‘frame’ for your profile picture that you can install for a set period of time, like a day or a week. We saw a lot of these around the marriage equality vote, for example.

These AR options are cheap, pretty easy, and not too scary to try yourself.

Facebook Messenger Bot meets AR

 I want to show you another cool example of AR that I recently discovered.

 I want you to open Facebook Messenger on your phone (don’t worry, I’ll wait), and search for Estee Lauder Lip Artist.

Click on it and start a chat with the bot about lipstick. What the app allows you to do is not only chat with a bot (automated computer chat), you can also upload a selfie and test out the latest Estee Lauder lip colours, on your actual face.

Cool, right?

How Does it Apply to Causes?

There is a lot of cool stuff coming. For example, if you’re a health-related cause – let’s say, Diabetes WA – can you imagine being able to use an AR app to look at menu items and have it pop up and show you which items have too many calories, or too few, for your next meal?

What about an AR search, where you could swing your phone around the street and see little signs pop up over cafes that have diabetic-friendly meal options available?

Or what about creating VR objects that you could use to hang out virtually with your audience? Your mascot or team could start entering social media worlds virtually as animated characters.

What about those causes with a product? This technology can allow you to showcase your products online, and have people grab them, turn them around, and examine them from every angle.

This is definitely something we’re going to be watching closely in 2018. Before too long AR an VR are going to be part of the way every business – and therefore cause – will market.

Now where did that Pikachu go?

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