Augmented Reality... what is it really? 

If you have a smartphone, chances are you’ve been using augmented reality without even realizing it. From sending filtered selfies on Snapchat to catching Pikachu on PokemonTM Go, or even giving still images life in the TotalAR mobile application, augmented reality has made its way into our everyday lives. 

So what is Augmented Reality, exactly? Augmented Reality, or AR, can be defined as an “enhanced image or environment as viewed on a screen or other display, produced by overlaying computer-generated images, sounds, or other data on the real-world environment.”i So in Snap Chat, for example, AR comes to play when one adds a filter to a picture via face recognition. 

AR technology has become so popular throughout the few years that it is starting to make appearances in various professional work environments such as education, medicine, and mechanical engineering.

Since you’re here, you’re probably wondering how AR can be used in mechanical engineering. We break it down in some examples below: 


In the age of constantly craving convenience, automation is the end goal for many technologies. As a society, we strive to create self-driving cars, smart buildings, and more. In mechanical engineering, automation is a common theme in developing technologies. As mechanical engineers work towards automated products, AR can help with the overhead management. For instance, if a robotic lift was being used to stack boxes, one with an AR application or a Hololens could use AR to point or look at the robot to run a diagnostic test, therefore evaluating production metrics. 


On a relatively same note as the above item, AR can help run maintenance evaluations. By using AR in the inspection of a Roof Top Unit, for example, an HVAC/ Refrigeration engineer could obtain performance metrics on the given unit. The same is true in machine design and Thermal and Fluid system engineers. Once evaluated, AR applications could suggest maintenance actions to perform to ensure the device continues to run correctly. 


AR can be used in mechanical inspections when something isn’t working correctly. By visually analyzing a component of a mechanical machine, AR can pinpoint certain errors such as a broken wire, a loose gasket, or missing parts. This is especially helpful for those engineers who work and design various models because errors are more easily pointed out. 


i. Augmented Reality. Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/ browse/augmented-reality

ii. Cundle, M. Augmented Reality in Engineering. Retrieved from https://www.rs-online.com/ designspark/augmented reality-in-engineering