How Augmented Reality Can Be Applied to Home Automation

May 3, 2017

If you have ever played Pokémon Go, then you are already familiar with augmented reality. A simple way to describe augmented reality is superimposing virtual active objects on actual reality.

Microsoft’s Hololens looks like “welding goggles,” but when wearing them, it controls another reality that you cannot see with the naked eye.

Its ability to mix actual reality with virtual reality has drawn attention from different professions that want to utilize it. Fashion designers have used it to try out new clothes virtually, astronauts use it to help non-astronauts explore the planet Mars, and some developers want to turn it into the new Skype.

As you can see, augmented reality holds a lot of promise in various applications. Despite this, only a few startups are thinking about using AR in automating homes. Let’s look at some ways to apply augmented reality to home automation:

Gesture Control

One device that uses augmented reality for home automation is the Hayo. It allows you to create a virtual “button” and syncs that point with connected devices that you want to control. That means you can place a virtual button on your table, couch armrest, or a wall and then use the buttons as smart device remote controls.

Hayo looks like a black sculpture with cameras at the front that detects movement. It uses Wi-Fi to communicate with other connected devices in your home. The VR controller scans a room like Microsoft’s Kinect to allow you to place virtual buttons anywhere you want. It does not limit the number of buttons you can place in the house. It also learns your gestures and behaviors to enable it to predict or anticipate your actions.

You can use it to control your Nest Thermostat, Sonos Speaker, and even your Philips Hue lights. Unfortunately, Hayo has not yet gone mainstream because its developer is still seeking funds on Indiegogo to manufacture more units.

Smartphone Camera and Augmented Reality

Some apps mix the concept behind Pokémon Go and your phone camera to control connected devices in your home. Simply point your phone camera at a smart connected device in a room, and then virtual controls for the device appear on your phone’s screen. You can use the various dials and buttons that appear on your screen to control those devices. One example of such an app is the Reality Editor app.

The Reality Editor app allows you to mark the objects around you with a design easily read by a smartphone. The objects that you have marked have augmented reality buttons, which you can use to turn on your connected lamp and other smart devices in your home. It can also link up actions in a similar way to the IFTTT app. Since the AR app market is set to reach $2.4 billion by 2019, developers will continue creating more AR apps.

Augmented Reality Automation Guide

Let’s say a friend visits you and is going to stay with you in your smart home for a couple of days. If he is an automation virgin, it will be quite challenging to show him or her how all the automated devices in your home work. An augmented reality app that allows him to point his smartphone camera at automation devices in your home and get instant pop-ups that show him how he can control them can be helpful with this learning curve.

Additionally, it may also show them what device can be controlled through voice or gesture control in your home. IBM adopted a very similar concept with an app that allows you to point your smartphone video camera at a store shelf and get instant personalized, detailed information about the product on the screen.

Augmented reality presents a multitude of possibilities for developers seeking new ways to control smart homes other than voice control. This makes sense because Amazon Echo and Google Home already dominate the industry when it comes to voice control. For more information about augmented reality and home automation, visit our website today.

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