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AR now virtually everywhere

Augmented reality is going mainstream in South Africa, leaping out of everything from shop shelves and warehouses to chocolate bars and whisky, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

AR in the warehouse

The proliferation of such apps, platforms and agencies is a clear signal that AR is now becoming a standard part of the marketing lexicon. But AR also has a life beyond the smartphone, and beyond marketing and branding.

This month, electronics giant Toshiba announced that its new “assisted reality smart glass system” had arrived in South Africa. It comprises a pocket computer with a lens attachment called the xPick, designed to provide “pick-by-vision” order picking capability in warehouses.

The Toshiba xPick system at work in a warehouse.

Unlike smart glasses, that provide AR overlays on a pair of spectacles, this is a “monocular” device that can be attached to spectacles, a lensless frame, or even a headband or safety helmet. Intended for industrial use, it is designed to assist in manual order picking, sorting, inventory management, and goods receipt. 

Referred to as “assisted reality”, the lens displays instructions into the user’s field of vision. It can integrate numerous functions, from barcode-scanning to weight-checking, all with the aim of streamlining workflows.

Augmented reality, it appears, has truly grown up.

  • Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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