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Augmented Reality is a technology that superimposes digitally generated information in form of text, image, video, etc. onto a real-life object or the physical environment, usually to give information that can be interacted with. This technology was developed in 1968 through the work of a computer scientist at Harvard, Ivan Sutherland. In his invention, AR is generated from a display system that was head-mounted. Many other improvements have been made to this technology to suit it for use in many fields: military, aviation, medicine, education, to mention a few. First-generation AR inventions projected virtual information onto the real world. A classic example is display of GPS information on the physical environment to help with directions. Including the fact that AR is an interesting technology which makes user experience more exciting and insightful, there are a host of other reasons why this technology should be embraced by Ghanaians.

AR for education: For the most part, the Ghanaian educational system is book-oriented. So, a lot of the time, understanding, for students, is a problem. Sometimes, students simply cram and pass their exams, a practice that leaves most of them nearly empty after, because they learned close to nothing. There is no doubt then, that when this technology is applied to Ghanaian education, it will make learning more enjoyable, interesting, and much easier. For example, to make learning about blood circulation easier, AR technology would project the entire circulatory system, with the ability to study it from many different angles. This projected display could be a combination of many forms, depending on what is being studied.

OPTIMISATION OF COMMERCIAL GAINS FOR BUSINESSES Another advantage that AR has, which gives reason to why Ghanaians should embrace it, is that it can be used to optimize businesses’ commercial performance. This owes also, to the interactive nature of AR. It’s easy for the customer to inspect the product they wish to purchase, with closeness to detail. For example, IKEA uses AR technology on their mobile app to enable users see how furniture would fit by just pointing their phone’s camera to wherever they want to put the furniture. With this, the customer does not need to go through the stress of scouting from one shop to another for their furniture, and reduces the risk of dissatisfaction with their newly purchased item. Other companies that have used AR to boost sales and retain customer loyalty are ZaraCoca-ColaPez, to mention a few.

There is no doubt then, that when this technology is applied to Ghanaian education, it will make learning more enjoyable, interesting, and much easier

MINIMISING INFORMATION OVERLOAD AR can make everyday life easier by greatly minimizing information overload. Information is one thing that people are constantly in search of. To solve this problem, online search engines (google, bing, Yandex, yahoo, etc.) have been created, as well as online libraries and archives complimenting the physical ones. Over time, these solutions have become contributors themselves to one of the biggest problems information seekers face: information overload. Simply put, information overload is a phenomenon where one is exposed to too much information, whether it solves the question or not. For instance, a google search about the specification of the latest BMW car model will show torrents of other unnecessary information, about other car brands, even. With the use of AR however, one can get specific information, and even get a feel of what something in the car is like. For instance, a web search might show that the doors of a car “open up like wings about to take flight”, but an AR simulation will show the door being opened and even allow the user to hear the sound the car makes when the doors open.

IMPACT ON MEDICAL SCIENCE Another aspect which makes AR a technology to be embraced is its application in medical sciences. When applied to the medical sciences, AR is highly likely to produce more accurate results and even have great impact on medical research. Since AR is so detailed that one can view the insides of objects, the same could also be applied to performing a surgery. With an AR projection, a brain surgeon will be able to see remote parts of the brain without having to dissect it. Imagine the growth that the medical industry would experience when this is achieved.

Whether it is being used for recreational purposes on Snapchat, or to find the perfect furniture set for a newly rented apartment, or to study a benign tumor, there is no doubt that AR technology has come to stay. What’s more, as time goes on, investments are being made in various industries to improve the technology for use across many spheres of life. This is an indicator that AR could be used to achieve greater results that have probably not been thought of yet.

So, should Ghanaians embrace Augmented Reality? ABSOLUTELY, YES!