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The Big Three AR Technologies: Image Recognition vs. Plane Detection vs. Object Recognition

88% of mid-sized organizations are using augmented reality (AR) in some capacity, whether it be marketing efforts, business growth, or training. 

As AR’s popularity continues to grow, it’s important to understand the three different types of technology that come with this learning modality

These three technologies include:

  • Image Recognition
  • Plane Detection
  • Object Recognition

Before investing in an advanced technology like AR, it may be helpful to gain a deeper understanding of it’s three technologies. These technologies can be used separately or all together in your organization’s training program. 

Let’s discover the unique functionalities and pros and cons of the big three AR technologies!

This article will define AR training, provide examples of its use in workplace learning, and explore each of its big three technologies. 

How Can AR Transform Your Existing Training Program?

Augmented reality (AR) training is an extended reality technology that adds to, or augments, reality. This means that users can superimpose text, images, video, and 3D models right into the world in front of them. 

Read More: What Is Augmented Reality Training? Everything You Need To Know

Through a mobile device or tablet, learners can access an AR learning program that teaches them in any of the following five areas:

  • Technical Training — AR is excellent for directing focus toward technical skills or knowledge that learners can practice and understand without needing a broader context.
  • Operations Training — AR trains employees on point-of-sale (POS) systems by recreating the machine with actual buttons that can be practiced on from anywhere. 
  • Safety Training — Learners are taught safety protocols and how to safely handle delicate equipment or materials by learning off of simulated objects. 
  • Product Knowledge Training — Place products in front of associates and allow them to familiarize themselves with all of the components and how it works through a phone, tablet, or headset.
  • Onboarding — Get employees acquainted with the company, products, and branding by showing them the ins and outs of the business, shop floor, processes, and more through virtual tours or team introductions. 

Read More: Augmented Reality Training: Pros And Cons

Regardless of your training need, AR is best utilized as a “just in time” tool that’s typically more affordable than other modality options, like virtual reality (VR). This means that it’s a cost-effective and useful tool for in-the-moment performance support. 

Overlay Video, Text, Pictures, And More With AR Image Recognition

AR image recognition typically uses an app where learners scan real-world 2D images, such as a poster, and overlay 2D video, text, pictures, or 3D objects on it. 

Image recognition is a marker-based technology. This means that the technology finds a real-world marker and anchors preloaded, digital content on top of it. The marker could be a QR code, illustration, or photo. With a mobile device or tablet, learners scan a static marker, like a poster, then the AR application recognizes it and attaches digital elements to it. 

For example, as part of an onboarding program, a learner could use their tablet to scan a poster in front of them. Then, the learner can touch the screen to place text and interactive videos onto the poster that teach them of their organization’s history, culture, and values. 

AR image recognition comes with the following pros and cons:

Pros of AR Image Recognition

  • Update Content Digitally — AR image recognition allows developers to update content digitally and still use the same static marker. For example, developers could update the wording for an informational text box attached to a poster through a remote, digital software. 
  • Increased Mobility — With AR image recognition, learners have the ability to move freely with their devices. Learners scan real-world images with ease, approach images from different angles, and walk up close to overlaid digital elements.
  • Repeatable — Unlike learning material that is delivered orally, AR image-based learning can be repeated at any time. If a learner forgets information or needs to repeat a process, they can do so with an AR image-based learning program.

Cons of AR Image Recognition

  • Visual Contrast Is A Must — For the program to work, markers, like a poster, must have strong contrast to its borders. Otherwise, the program will not recognize the scan of the real-world image. 
  • Learners May Need Guidance With Technology — Not every learner knows how to operate the software and hardware necessary for AR image recognition. Organizations may need to provide tutorials or how-to’s regarding the use of technology to ensure learners are confident when learning. 

Place A Life-Sized 3D Model On Any Surface With AR Plane Detection

AR plane detection, also known as AR plane object breakaway, places a digital 3D model on a real-world flat surface, like a tabletop or floor. 

Once the object is placed, learners can rotate it, break it apart, and get detailed information on how to repair or install the object. By simply pointing their device toward a surface in front of them, learners can produce a full-scale model of a large machine or object that they can then walk around, inspect, and manipulate. 

For example, learners can practice training on an engine by scanning a surface with their tablet and anchoring a digital model of an engine to it. They can then adjust the engine however they’d like by rotating it, resizing it, and raising or lowering its placement. Once placed, learners can interact with the engine by selecting certain parts and watching demonstrations on how to assemble it. 

AR plane detection comes with the following pros and cons:

Pros of AR Plane Detection

  • Places A Full-Scale 3D Model In Front Of Learners — The major advantage of AR plane detection is that it places a true-to-size digital model in front of learners. The object and its parts are all developed according to scale, which better prepares learners for a real-life encounter with the object.
  • Learners Can Isolate And Manipulate Individual Parts — With AR plane detection, learners can walk around, inspect, rotate, and practice operating on their digital object. For example, a learner could place an engine in front of them and explore where the individual pieces of the engine are, as well as read more information and watch videos about each piece. AR plane detection makes internal components of an object that would otherwise be hard to reach and study in real life easily viewable and interactable. 
  • Access From Anywhere — As long as learners have connection to the app and the appropriate device, like a tablet or mobile device, they can place the digital object in front of them regardless of where they’re located. This allows for more accessible learning.

Cons of AR Plane Detection

  • Anchoring Issues — Users could experience anchoring issues depending on the tools and application they’re using. This means that learners may face drifts when anchoring their digital object. When they walk around and interact with it, it may not stay stable in its positioning in reference to the learner.
  • Glitches — As with any AR technology, learners could potentially face glitches. Glitches could occur when resizing, walking around, and rotating the 3D object.

Attach 3D Objects To Real Life Objects Through AR Object Recognition

AR object recognition builds rich and interactive experiences by attaching a 3D object to an existing real-life 3D object. 

Through the camera of a mobile device or tablet, this technology works by using an app that generates an image of the object. The AR software recognizes the real-life object through an identifiable constellation of points, then places the digital model accordingly. Once complete, learners can interact with and manipulate the 3D digital object.

For example, a mechanic could use object recognition to learn how to repair a car’s AC compressor. After scanning a real-world compressor, the mechanic-in-training can attach a digital 3D model to the compressor and learn how to safely disassemble and reassemble it

AR object recognition comes with the following pros and cons:

Pros of AR Object Detection

  • Allows Hands-On Learning — With AR object recognition, users can be hands-on with their learning. This allows learners to actively participate in their learning, which yields higher retention rates and confidence when tackling workplace challenges. 
  • Cost-effective — AR technology is typically cheaper than virtual reality (VR), especially if the organization already has the necessary equipment for the AR training, like tablets or phones.

Cons of AR Object Detection

  • May need occasional software and hardware updates — As with any AR program, updates in both software and hardware may be required. This may disrupt the learning process, but an extended reality system (XRS) can help push software updates from anywhere at any time. 
  • Lacks soft-skills learning — AR isn’t the best soft-skills teacher and is more beneficial for learning technical skills and processes. Soft-skills training is better taught under a different modality, like VR.

Augment Your World With The Big Three AR Technologies!

Throughout this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about the big three AR technologies: image recognition, plane detection, and object recognition. 

We encourage you to check out more resources on all things AR training or get started augmenting your training world by consulting our expert team.

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