AI+AR: How the Power Couple Fuels Unique Mobile App Experiences

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October 9, 2020

AI and AR make a great combo, and here’s how…

Many top tech companies are developing next-generation apps for smartphones that make use of augmented reality and artificial intelligence technologies.

In fact, AI and machine learning technologies often work side-by-side with the AR platforms and we have instances all around us in the form of many AR apps.

AR apps and programs collect visual data over a period of time, meanwhile, AI/ML picks up patterns from this data that AR apps or programs have collected to arrive at predictions. Google Maps AR, Google Lens, and Snapchat are perfect instances of what a great combo of AI and AR makes.

Take Google Maps AR!

Google Maps AR is designed to let you use augmented reality to help you navigate when walking. Using the rear camera of your smartphone device, it identifies where your current location is. And instead of just presenting you with a map it superimposes direction and details on the display. Fun, simple, and easy to navigate.

How is artificial intelligence relevant here?

Well, in this scenario, AI helps you identify what you can see, and GPS places it on the map. At the end of the day, Google Maps AR helps get around the dilemma of not knowing which route or path to take as you walk by pointing you in the correct direction. After all, it isn’t always in one’s best interest to take the road less traveled.

Don’t Forget Google Lens!

Google is like everyone’s favorite wizard with fun and cutting-edge tricks and tech treats up its sleeves. Take Google Lens as an instance.

Google Lens is an AR app that uses your smart device’s rear camera to identify any object you wish to find or identify i.e. text, books, places, plants, products, media, as well as barcodes. Once an object has been identified it is marked so that if the need arises it can be quickly identified again in the future.

You can identify anything from furniture and clothes to plants and your favorite dish from an unknown restaurant.

But how does it identify? What other technology is at play behind-the-scenes?


Nearly, all of this magician’s best solutions are AI-based. Google’s solutions have always been AI-focused!

Google Lens leverages Artificial Intelligence to power its visual recognition algorithms. This is what enables your smartphone camera to provide information about the object you point it at—for example, you can totally search for a flower you have zero knowledge of. You can look for reviews and other information about a specific restaurant you have never dined at. There is so much you can do with the ‘Lens’.

Lens identities as both an example of AR as well as AI.

IKEA Place – Try Before You Buy!

The iPhone/iPad app lets you virtually place furniture in your home to see what it would look like. By adopting this try-before-you-buy approach, prospective buyers can avoid purchasing the wrong items — something that could be difficult, if not impossible, to refund.

Here’s how it incorporates AI and AR — basically, AR frames the immersion — to view the space with a unique item front and center — while AI capabilities help with the multidimensional manipulation, providing a powerful experience. This offers an immediate and precise indication of how the product will look and sound in a particular space.

Over the years, AI models have evolved and have become extremely good – on their own – at performing the tasks needed to develop interactive AR experiences.

In addition, deep neural networks can identify vertical and horizontal planes, determine depth and segment images for physical occlusion, and even discern 3D locations of objects in real time. What’s more, it allows for cool features i.e. face swap in real-time, and even change a person’s gender and age.

Artificial Intelligence models are sometimes also layered on top of the AR. It’s similar to the segmentation models that execute people’s occlusion and can thus hatch effects like the infamous Z-Eyes or the people blocker from Black Mirror – Season 4, Episode 2 – White Christmas. Freaky, nevertheless cool!

Since AI can be used above and below AR experiences, it can sometimes be difficult to discern which tools offer the right features. When you create a smartphone app, you will find yourself going back and forth between different APIs to create the experience you are aiming for.

Zoetis: One of Our Favorite Projects Makes a Fantastic Instance

It’s a project CitrusBits is really proud of,

“The experts at CitrusBits designed an AR app for Zoetis (a global leader in animal health and medicine). The app allows the users to activate AR experiences using either plane detection – that is computer vision being used to see any flat surfaces to position the machines accurately – OR image-based markers for stimulating the experiences at true scale.”

While we’re at it, Snapchat Filters Are a Perfect Demonstration of AI-powered AR filters!

Snap’s augmented reality filters are based around the ‘computer vision’ technology which is essentially a sub-field of artificial intelligence.

The particular area of computer vision that Snap-filter makes use of is called ‘Image Processing’. Image processing is in simple words the manipulation of an image by conducting mathematical operations on a given image at a pixel level.

Let’s not forget about the ingenious Pokemon Go! Other instances include Facebook’s mobile application. It too incorporates a local deep neural network in order to enable up-to-the-second machine vision. Although the app is presently employing these technologies for Snapchat-like filter overlays, the social media giant goes on to say it is being used as a base for a long-term pipeline of key AR technologies.

Blippar is yet another instance – it initially started out as an augmented reality platform for brands but has now its toes dipped in AI and machine learning as well. It has extended its services to visual research as well. For all we know, it’s actually an ‘intelligent’ move. Blippar is basically harnessing the ability of machine learning to learn and remember imagery.

When done right, AI and AR work seamlessly together to design engaging mobile experiences.

Toptal’s article delves into emerging trends and technologies, providing valuable insights for businesses seeking to learn more about the future of interfaces, and needing to hire UI designers that can leverage AI and AR to develop and optimize the user interfaces of their web applications.

Practical Ways to Combine AR & AI

The union of AR and AI opens up countless possibilities. Here are a few ways this power couple works to produce wonderful digital experiences,

  1. Speech recognition: As the AI model responds to what you’re doing, the AR results appear in front of you. For instance, if you say ‘pizza,’ a simulated slice of pizza would pop up in front of your mouth.
  2. Image Recognition and Image Detection – we have already discussed how IKEA-allows consumers to see how an object appears and works in a given room. Combining AR with AI technologies, helps users to transfer still images of objects into a still picture of an area and to help them make a decision.
  3. Human pose estimation: This technique helps detect human figures, gestures, and poses. It determines the location of a person’s joints in a picture or video. This can be used to manage AR content. fits the instance.
  4. Education: Here, it helps students have phenomenal experiences by interacting and engaging with virtual reality. For instance, it helps them to imagine and communicate with a 3-dimensional life-size replica of the human body.
  5. Recognizing and labeling: When the camera is pointed toward an image or scene, the AR app shows a tag that confirms the object or the product as it identifies it.
  6. Car recognition: Using the smartphone camera, helps consumers to sit inside the car and experience the interior of the car. There’s no need to download the application.
  7. Object Detection: The AR+AI combination can be used to automatically generate and detect the location and size of objects within an image or video. This mobile-friendly model promotes contact between digital and physical objects.
  8. Text Translation and Recognition: The AI model senses, reads, and converts text into an image. Augmented reality APIs are then employed to overlay translated text into the 3D world.

As augmented reality mobile app development continues to advance, the ability to monitor and comprehend the 3D environment becomes crucial. Faster, smaller, and more precise AI models will play a vital role in enhancing AR functionality. These AI models will enable improved tracking, object recognition, and scene understanding, driving more immersive and interactive experiences. Additionally, as an augmented reality app development progresses, there will be an expansion of AR interactions, incorporation of effects, and seamless connectivity with AR scenes. It is important to consider the augmented reality app development cost in implementing these cutting-edge technologies to ensure optimal results.

To conclude, it would be justified to say here that AI and AR working together is a match made in the digital heaven and a powerful one at that! At CitrusBits, we understand exactly how this partnership works, and therefore, leveraging the powers of AI and using the best SDKs and platforms, we design for you only the best-augmented reality experiences. Have a look at our portfolio or click here if you fancy a chat!

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