Augmented reality — the advantages outweigh the disadvantages

Augmented reality (Sean Keach. Sourced from

In modern times, augmented reality (AR) technology is becoming increasingly common. It is not only applied in various industries, but also gradually integrated into people’s life through Facebook, Google Map and other AR applications. AR can be found in every aspect of people’s lives. Therefore, what impact it will bring to people has become a problem that needs attention.

To show the application of AR
Fig. 1 Augmented reality. (Altran. Sourced from: )











This new technology brings more development opportunities to various industries and convenience to people’s life. However, AR is not entirely beneficial. While bringing benefits to people, it also brings dangers and risks such as more privacy exposure.

Fig. 2 Dangers of AR. (Kit Eaton. Sourced from:

It is argued that although AR may bring some challenges, it can bring more benefits for social and economic development, the progress of industries and the improvement of people’s living standards. In general, the advantages of AR outweigh the disadvantages.

I will briefly describe the history of AR and summarize its application and impacts to support my argument.

Background of AR

AR refers to a technique that superimposes computer-generated virtual images onto a user’s view of the real world through smart devices such as smartphones, therefore to enhance the user experience.

AR has been around for decades. The first AR device was invented in 1968, called The Sword of Damocles.

To show the first AR system
Fig. 3 The Sword of Damocles—the world’s first head-mounted display. (Invented by Ivan Sutherland. Sourced from: )

The Augment website has published an infographic in 2016 to show the history of AR and its growing range of applications.

An infographic to show the history of AR and its growing range of applications.
Fig. 4 AR history timeline. (Augment website. Sourced from: )

Applications of AR

Dakić (2019) summarized four types of AR, including Marker-based AR, Markerless AR, Projection based AR, and Superimposition based AR. In this article, she introduces how these kinds of AR work, and explains the application fields where these four kinds of AR tend to be applied respectively.

Marker-based AR is generated by scanning specific visual markers with mobile phone camera. This marker can be anything special enough to be recognized.

To show the example of Marker-based AR
Fig. 5 Example of Marker-based AR. (AUGMENTED REALITY TYPES AND POPULAR USE CASES – Scientific Figure on ResearchGate. Available from: [accessed 10 Oct, 2019]
Markerless AR is used to show relationships between physical objects and other objects. Virtual objects can be moved.

To show the example of Markerless AR.
Fig. 6 Markerless AR use for Indoor decoration. (Marco Paladini. Sourced from: )

Projection based AR is similar to movie projectors, which is usually applied in large gatherings.

To show an example of Projection-based AR
Fig. 7 An example of Projection-based AR in Geography Class. (Shushan Poghosyan. Sourced from: )

Superimposition based AR replaces part or the whole original image with the augmented image, which is often used for healthcare.

To show an example of Superimposition based AR
Fig. 8 Superimposition based AR: X-ray. (Sourced from: )

In modern society, augmented reality technology is widely used in a wider range of industries. Perdue (2019) summarizes the scope of AR and how AR can help these industries. The application of AR covers almost every aspect of people’s life, such as media communication, entertainment, medical treatment, education, navigation, manufacturing, construction, advertising and many other fields.

The 2019 AR trend prediction report shows the great development potential, application prospect and commercial value of AR. Although the application of AR is still more for entertainment, it is expected that AR will play a more essential role in the development of more practical industries such as medical care and engineering.

Figures to show the bright future of augmented reality
Fig. 9 Expected future application of AR. (Andrew Makarov. Sourced from:

The report also noted that by May 2019, the number of users using mobile devices with augmented reality capabilities had reached 1.5 billion, bringing in about $75 billion in revenue. Obviously, augmented reality is becoming an indispensable part of society and people’s daily life (ibid.).

Impacts of AR

In terms of the benefits of AR, the most obvious positive impact of AR is to improve work efficiency and overcome the challenges faced by the industries.

AR in manufacturing is a good example. The application of AR in manufacturing industry can enable workers to have a more comprehensive understanding of current working conditions, so as to improve work efficiency and avoid accidents (Nichols, 2019).

To show how AR helps manufacturing
Fig. 10 Manufacturing AR. (Megan Ray Nichols. Sourced from: )

Besides, taking architecture and construction industry as another instance, according to Yepper‘s 2018 report on the benefits of AR in architecture and construction, via providing more intuitive and comprehensive images through AR, many of the design challenges have been solved.

To show how AR helps architecture and construction.
Fig. 11 AR in architecture and construction. (Sourced from: )

Moreover, AR is conducive to marketing, because it promotes the interaction between consumers and businesses and enables consumers to better experience such products. The key to achieving this is that the function of AR allows people to try out products virtually. With various AR apps, consumers can get a clearer idea of what they will get if they spend money on something, thus helping them make the decision whether to buy or not.

This feature is applicable to almost all industries, Ray-Ban Virtual Try-On is a good example. People can try on the glasses on the app and know which one suits them better.

To show the Ray-Ban Virtual Try-On APP.
Fig. 12 Ray-Ban Virtual Try-On. (App store screenshot )

Here is another APP that shows a similar function. IKEA is a business selling furniture and home accessories. In recent years, the company has developed a software called IKEA Place, which allows users to place virtually IKEA products in their homes (IKEA, 2017).

AR allows people to check products before buying, which makes them more willing to pay and helps maintain loyalty.

Ratnottar (2019) points out that by building a basic AR program, Industries can improve accuracy by 90% and reduce time consumption by 30%. Applications of AR is really helpful for industrial upgrading and social and economic progress. It is believed that AR technology in the future will be more helpful to industrial upgrading and social and economic progress.

AR technology is not only conducive to the development of the industry and social progress, but also benefits every ordinary user.

AR has been around for decades, but the spread of this technology to ordinary users began with smartphones like Android and iOS equipped with GPS, cameras and AR capability. All an ordinary user need to experience AR is a smartphone.

Fig. 13 AR in mobile. (Maja Dakić. Sourced from: )

AR technology has brought a lot of benefits to people’s daily life. The two AR apps mentioned above — Ray-Ban Virtual Try-On and IKEA Place — are typical examples. People can try and check what they need through various AR apps and buy it at home instead of spending time on the way to a physical store far from home. It is really convenient and time-saving. In addition, it saves money in the long run because transportation costs are saved.

In addition, AR is helpful to people’s learning. Via presenting animated images and combining digital information with real objects, the AR education APP can better explain concepts and content that are hard to explain in plain text and floor plans. This makes the learning process more efficient (Zumoko, 2019).

To show how AR helps study
Fig. 14 AR in Education. (Sourced from: )

Moreover, AR applied with GPS system helps people to find the true way. Google map is a typical example, AR mainly resolve the navigation problem of direction confusing via overlaying direction and details over the map (Hall, 2019).

Health is the most important thing in life. AR in healthcare is worthy of attention. In combination with AR, many new treatment methods and devices can be developed. For instance, therapists can help patients better participate in treatment by displaying interactive 3D projection (Sosna, 2019).

To show how AR helps healthcare
Fig. 15 Surgeons Perform Brain Surgery Using Augmented Reality, Animated 3D Brain. High Tech Technologically Advanced Hospital. Futuristic Theme. (Sourced from )

AR is most commonly used in entertainment. It is often used in games and movies, and the application prospect of AR in entertainment is very bright (Loeffler, 2019).

Pokemon GO is a successful example of AR combined with games.

Also, AR is often used in the movies industry.

Besides, AR helps increase people’s social interaction. Like Ray-Ban Virtual Try-On app mentioned above, people can share their “try on” experiences on social media platforms like Facebook or Instrgam and get feedback from friends.

It is believed that AR will take over the future social media. Services offered by various social media platforms are increasingly dependent on AR. For example, Snapchat has not only enhanced the user experience with AR filters and lenses, but also released a feature called Shoppable AR that allows brands to promote themselves on Snapchat (Bullock, 2018).

In conclusion, AR is obviously beneficial to society.

Risks of AR

However, AR is not entirely beneficial. According to Marr’s 2019 report on AR risks, AR technology significantly increases the threat of personal privacy exposure.

Take face-swapping apps for example. With the development of AR technology, face-swapping apps have become very popular. It brings people fun, but it also brings more privacy risks. What’s worse, some malicious merchants’ unreasonable privacy policies encourage the possibility of information disclosure. ZAO app’s privacy policy, for example, includes a provision for its developers to license all user-generated content “free, irrevocable, permanent, transferable and reportable” (Porter, 2019).

In the face of risk

In order to reduce the risk, the government should make relevant regulations to prevent companies’ irresponsible behavior from increasing the risk of privacy disclosure. In addition, the public should pay more attention to their privacy. It is dangerous for many people to use software without reading the privacy policy. People should make a habit of reading privacy policies carefully.


With the development of science and technology, the AR technology can be seen everywhere, covering almost every aspect of people’s daily life and the development of all walks of life. Although AR brings certain risks, it is more conducive to industrial upgrading and the improvement of people’s living standards. Overall, the advantages of augmented reality outweigh the disadvantages. People should be optimistic about the future of augmented reality. Of course, some regulation is needed to avoid new problems.



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