Chapter 5. Key Techniques for Building AR Experiences (and Why They Matter)

If you look at augmented reality (AR) techniques to date, much of it has been done in one of two ways: magic mirror and magic window.

Often on a desktop, magic mirror AR is where you see an augmentation in the form of a “mirror,” through the second point of view, such as in the Tissot campaign wherein you hold a piece of paper up to your wrist and try on different watches. Or the experience GE created years ago in which you could hold up a piece of paper to a screen and blow, and it would turn windmills on the screen; this was a really early AR demo about clean energy. Years ago, DAQRI made an app for Lego, which is still used, to virtually see how Lego models will look when fully built. Some more modern examples include Warby Parker, which uses AR to improve upon the idea of augmented reality try-ons. Smart mirror company Menomi has actual magic mirrors that help people try on clothing, cosmetics, accessories—you name it. With magic mirror, though, you aren’t seeing the world from a first-person perspective through your own eyes.

The next step in AR—and one of the ways it is most commonly presented now—is “magic window.” This is where you’re holding a phone or a tablet that allows you to move through the world looking through that “window” at the world and seeing digital content on top of the scene captured by your camera, which is anything that’s in the view of the window.

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