Mendeley Brainstorm: Augmented Reality — Here and Now


IT expert touching a hexagon grid with the letters AR for augmented reality and surrounding fields of usage
IT expert touching a hexagon grid with the letters AR for augmented reality and surrounding fields of usage


“Pokemon Go” has made Augmented Reality wildly popular; this month, we’re asking in our latest Brainstorm competition – what Augmented Reality innovation do you think will be the next “killer app”? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth $50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes September 6th.

It’s usual to see people constantly staring at their mobile phones; it used to be that they were just texting friends or awaiting the latest post on social media. However, there is now a burgeoning tribe of gamers who squint, peer, then shift their phone around; they’re hunting for virtual creatures which are visible only to the eye of augmented reality. This craze has become so widespread that even the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, spent part of his time on a Sunday political programme hunting for virtual creatures rather than expounding on his policies. (Jeremy Corbyn learns to play Pokemon Go, 2016)

AR is nothing new; in 2012, Google launched “Google Glass”, a headset which integrated Google information with what users could see in front of them. In turn, users could take photographs and video. It wasn’t a commercial success; it broke the First Rule of Wearable Technology as described by the inventor of the NFC Ring (, John McClear: “Wearable technology shouldn’t be ugly!” Furthermore, users were also concerned that they were in effect sharing their lives with Google. Finally, there were safety concerns: a person paying attention to a virtual object may not take sufficient notice of real ones.

Despite the setbacks, augmented reality is becoming increasingly prevalent in the fields of medicine, architecture, education, and tourism. For example, AR is rapidly becoming a valuable tool for surgeons: while minimally invasive procedures have made patients’ lives easier, nevertheless, these “techniques bring up new difficulties for surgeons by greatly reducing their usual abilities” such as touch and depth perception. (Nicolau et al., 2011 p. 190) Though utilizing AR in this scenario has limitations (such as the fact that living beings aren’t rigid in their positioning), it was concluded “interactive augmented reality is a relevant approach to provide intra-operatively additional information to surgeons. This information usually can help for port positioning and give them confidence by showing them hidden structures at some steps with an accuracy which seems sufficient to them.” (Nicolau et al., 2011 p. 196)

Mobile Augmented Reality applications are also being tested in Greece to enhance the tourist experience; an application called “CorfuAR” “supports personalized content provision and navigation features to tourists on the move”. (Kourouthanassis et al, 2015, p. 72) The user journey can be personalized on the phone app according to interest: business, culture, religion, shopping, nightlife, gastronomy, nature study, tripping and water sports. (Kourouthanassis et al, 2015, p. 77).

With these and other applications, it seems that AR is here to stay; but where else will it show up? Tell us!

About Mendeley Brainstorms

Our Brainstorms are challenges so we can engage with you, our users, on the hottest topics in the world of research. We look for the most in-depth and well thought through responses; the best response as judged by the Mendeley team will earn a prize.


Jeremy Corbyn learns to play Pokemon Go (2016), BBC News. [online] Available at: [Accessed July 18, 2016]

KOUROUTHANASSIS, P., BOLETSIS, C., BARDAKI, C. and CHASANIDOU, D. (2015). Tourists responses to mobile augmented reality travel guides: The role of emotions on adoption behavior. Pervasive and Mobile Computing, 18, pp.71-87.

NICOLAU, S., SOLER, L., MUTTER, D. and MARESCAUX, J. (2011). Augmented reality in laparoscopic surgical oncology. Surgical Oncology, 20(3), pp.189-201.

32 thoughts on “Mendeley Brainstorm: Augmented Reality — Here and Now

  1. I have no research experience with AR, but I’m delighted that Pokemon Go is bringing attention to the advances of AR. I think that with advances in mobile VR (such as the Samsung Gear), additions of AR into mobile devices (such as with Go) will be a promising way to bring AR to consumer attention and forward progress in that area. VR has been used for therapeutic methods and for helping the elderly ( and I believe AR could do the same. It could be an invaluable tool in education, capturing the attention of the younger generation with new technology and providing a means for hands-on teaching methods in the classroom. However, regardless of its future use, it is a great step that AR is being promoted in entertainment to make people comfortable with the concept.

  2. I think a really obvious app for AR would be an emotion recognition app. There are already emotion recognition apps that allow people to look at photos and select which emotion the person is expressing and there is software that analyzes the emotion in video content. Augmented reality would be the next logical step. For those individuals with Social Anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorders or certain types of Traumatic Brain injury and others who have a difficult time recognizing social cues and/or emotions. They could simply check a “message” and learn if the person is stressed/calm/indifferent. It wouldn’t hurt for single people doing the dating thing either!

  3. Perhaps the closest application of AR that would have a breakthrough is in the field of engineering and design. AR open the doors for engineers and designers to visualise and build live simulated layers and adjust them in an incredible way. Microsoft HoloLens promise such application. Aside from engineering and design AR can be used for education and medicine in a similar manner. I think also we can use it in fashion not to mention entertainment.

  4. I believe that AR has exceedingly high potential to becoming a standard user application in almost every kind of day-to-day activity. The goal i see in AR is digital immersion in real life in such a way that you wouldn’t even realize that AR is doing the work there. It has the potential to enhance our physical senses and our cognitive abilities and it should process those things without the need of active interference of the user. I see it in a similar way we see CGI in movies nowadays, at the end of the day, you wouldn’t even realize it’s there (although you know it is) and you would feel empty without it beeing there.

  5. Strolling through the streets of Rome, your smartphone buzzes in your pocket. As you look at the screen, you see that it’s your latest AR app notifying you that you are approaching the Colosseum. You swipe to add it to your ‘passport’ of places you’ve visited and the app offers you today’s opening times and admission prices. Upon entering the Colosseum, you use your phone, with the camera enabled, to explore. Rather than reading the printed signs, you – and your children who have developed an unprecedented interest in history – use your phone to discover hidden facts and information, which can only be accessed from certain locations (in a similar way to a Pokestop). The AR lion fights and ability to view the building as it once was are especially impressive. Finally, the Colosseum closes and you head back out onto the sunny street. Your phone buzzes. Where next?

  6. AR open the doors for engineers and designers to visualise and build live simulated layers and adjust them in an incredible way.

  7. I’d like to see an AR app based on social constructivism. An app that facilitates the social construction of virtual reality over our existing world by allowing individuals to tag content to places via image recognition or GPS. There are apps that can do this to a certain extent but what is needed is an app to aggregate all this content and filter it. This could be linked to a kind of social network where content could be categorised and peer reviewed to improve the user experience. Once this has been established, virtually anything could be created spontaneously, games, narratives, guides…

    My blog

  8. Augmented Reality being firstly introduced through the gaming industry has brought many disadvantages and propagated a negative perception among many. Being said ‘Pokemon Go’ is a harmful application and could bring countless social problems. However, augmented reality can be used in many other fields with prodigious benefits. In my opinion, augmented reality can be used by those who want to acquire new knowledge in their everyday life. I think, AR can be used by facing your smartphone camera to a particular object and with AR technology; it is able to give you, every available knowledge about a product. For instance, putting a real animal such as a cat, medical students could benefits by learning about the organs and parts of that animal or learning the behavior of an animal for the study of ethology. Pointing it on an object, animal or food will help users to gain information about it.

  9. Augmented reality could be used as an excellent construction simulator. Think about it, you make your plans; what materials you’re going to use, which plot of land you’re going to build on, the dimensions of the room, all of it. But, before making the investment and beginning the actual construction, why not simulate it in AR? Using algorithms that estimate the stability of the construction materials with respect to the environment and the plans you’ve made, you get a nice little preview of how your construction’s going to go, and whether or not there are any serious problems with your planning. You could even simulate how your building will hold up over time. AR ensures your building is basically created twice in order to maximize the probability of the construction’s success.

  10. The entertainment and tourist industries will continue to lead the way as early adopters of augmented and virtual reality – despite the fact that scientists and doctors have been tinkering with it for at least a few decades. Anyway, here’s something that I’d like to see done. I enjoy historical walking tours of cities, and I enjoy theme parks. The characters in these places are essential to the tourist experience. So, what I predict – we’re going to see virtual beings replace some of the characters. Image standing in Independence Hall in Philly, and watching as The Declaration of Independence gets debated by the most life-like, virtual Tommy Jefferson and Benny Franklin you’ve ever seen. The virtual world is looking more and more fun ever day.

  11. Augmented Reality in my view is a step towards holograms and shall be considered a doorman’s holographic display. There a number of applications where AR can shine. In education and training AR can help guide children and students to assemble anything from building blocks to advanced machines by overlaying instructions on parts. Image recognition has evolved and if combined with such displays can help identify parts, tools and even help isolate faults. I imagine AR apps to help you through your day with guides on ‘how to bake a cake’ to ‘How to change a flat’.
    Being mobile and in your pocket, future apps should see the ability to reverse google virtual tours to produce a virtual tour guide that can help you around as well as virtually reconstruct historic places that were unable to withstand the test of time allowing visitors to see destroyed monuments in their original glory. AR holds the key to easy access to information in the future.

  12. Imagine that you’re sitting down at a meeting with a number of scientists whom you’ve never met before. As you glance around the room, your glasses identify the people at the table, and show the top 2-3 titles of the most frequently cited papers they’ve written. Perhaps a word cloud of the most frequent MeSH terms found in their papers also appears above them. Now you’ve got some topics for ice breaker conversations.

  13. I am completely new to this field but it seems to me a that great potential for application of the technology would be found in education. Imagine a teachers asking the students to guess what will happen in a thought experiment, and the students creating a augmented reality answer followed perhaps later by the teacher doing the actual experiment. Imagine a geometry teacher using augmented reality to illustrate nontrivial aspects of geometry, like the intersection bodies of different shapes, discussion among students of how the solution of certain algebraic problems changes as one changes the parameters or a higher level math professor using augmented reality to illustrate aspects on non-euclidean geometry. How about a basic lesson of how the solar system works using both real and augmented reality prompts. A history professor discussing the development of an important battle or military a operation, again employing real and augmented reality prompts. Biologists in field trips examining plants and animals, and the way they are expected to have changed in time be it towards the future anticipating growth or towards the past in recreating evolutionary paths. Geologists visualizing the changes in the terrain they are exploring. Even literature curses could profit when say analyzing the possibilities of poem, or a literary passage for having been written in a different form, where students offer their modified versions to the class as a whole using AR. A visit to an art museum, where touching the paintings is naturally forbidden, could be enhanced by supplying the expert discussing details of the master pieces, with AR methods to point to the relevant parts of art-work. The possibilities in this field alone seem endless.

  14. I have always been interested in psychosis. I believe current technology may eventually help patient with psychosis controlling their hallucination.
    By combining VR and AR, we may be able to create visual image of something that doesn’t exist in the middle of real objects. This way, we may be able to trigger the appearance of visual hallucination. We can match the shape with patient’s description, and have him summon his own “hallucinatory-like object” using button push. After multiple sessions of conditioning, his deep conscience may eventually be able to recognize that his hallucination is unreal. Of course, we need to consider the possibility of worsening symptoms, but I believe with certain precautions, we may be able to move forward

  15. One life-saving application for AR would be as a guide for first-responders in emergencies. Imagine an emergency beacon application on your smartphone which you could authorize to transmit your location and vital signs to emergency personnel in the case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Now in the aftermath of an earthquake, a first responder is able to use a head-up display to quickly see the location and vital signs of the people trapped in a collapsed building. Dispatchers are able to prioritize areas of the disaster site in order to maximize the saving of life and responders are able to scan the area and see indicators for where to find trapped survivors in the rubble. Technology like this could greatly enhance the important and life-saving work of emergency personnel.

  16. A person who has lost a limb could have augmented perception that allows them to perceive the limb as being there, giving them a better sense of balance and use of whatever prosthetics they have.

  17. Why not combine virtual reality with augmented reality for difficult and expensive chemical syntheses and physics experiments. As the teams are ever more international, it might be a good idea to project the experiments to VR in real-time and get the feedback from other researchers in the team as augmented reality to the persons carrying out the research. Also add a layer with information such as temperature, heat flow, color changes, humidity etc. you measure with external sensors. By recording the experiment in a way someone else might be able to follow it in VR and add all these parameters, you also get a lot of extra information that might be useful if the research is very hard to replicate. In the end, by making the steps easy to follow, this might make replication studies unnecessary altogether. (and end this discussion ).

  18. Not sure whether this already exists or is in development but I’d love to see AR be used at archaeological sites eg Rome’s Colosseum or Crete’s Knossos palace etc to not only help visitors envisage what the site would have looked like physically, but also give a sense of what the place would have felt like, what activities went on in each of the rooms or sites. This would be particularly nice for large sites such as Ostia Antica or Pompeii where you could potentially pick a Roman character to shadow for the day and see how they would have seen the city. It would allow archaeologists to engage the public with their work and give visitors an enhanced “3D plus” experience of history. It could also even work for developed cities, whereby you go to certain hotspots and you see what Victorian London or Roman Bath would have been like. It would require very little technology from the host sites (perhaps just wifi connection to allow people to download the app on-site?) particularly compared to more traditional audio guide sets and I imagine it would be popular with tourist boards etc.

  19. Popular applications using overlay technique that put rendered image overlay on original view, but Augmented Reality evolve. The new approach to Augmented Reality using techniques like SLAM to gather information from environment and build 3D model of world. And then the only limit is our imagination. 3D world can be augmented, diminished or changed and presented back to the user.

    Augmented Reality can goes with pair with free viewpoint television techniques where user can change position of view. That allows to the director of that show to bring different experience for users. Any participant also can modify it own experience as well.

    The biggest drawback of Augmented Reality is to focus user attention to virtual content. But all depends on if we want only our world to enhanced or we want to live in virtual one.

  20. I see the next game changer application will be the visual access and linking together of information. Our current problem is that our work notes, or scientific papers are locked away in documents that require deliberate attention to access. Short term memory fails us and we end up overlooking unconnected information, that otherwise would give us our solution, simply because we’ve forgotten about them.

    A virtual reality based system to both view and create instant visual links between information will enable us to process, retain and access the information more efficiently. We will have an unlimited sized screen to place this knowledge, as opposed to clicking our mouse or tapping our small phone screen, which either confines us to our desks, or to a hunched back.

  21. I believe people are dedicating a lot of time in social networks, posting their travel, food and company. If augmented reality be able to put the other in the environment that is being posted on social networks, will be very usefull for sharing feelings with the beloved ones that stay in home. Imagine more, imagine you sharing feelings with departed ones..

  22. I think the next widespread usage of AR in an app is likely to come from Google. Even though Google Glass was not quite successful, Google can quickly implement AR in Google Maps, for example. By pointing your phone to a commercial building you could see all sorts of data about it, such as available stores, products, services and offers, contact info, ratings from clients, safety issues, etc. And they’ve launched Tango, which has a great potential to become a popular indoor AR application.

  23. AR has exceeding highly potential Message” and learn if the person is stressed/calm/indifferent. It wouldn’t hurt for single people doing the dating thing either! with the great value to become a popular indoor AR application.

  24. Education at the periphery. Study on the go. Glance at the edge of your vision and there it is: a byte-sized morsel waiting to be consumed. From SAT vocabulary to Japanese characters, curated knowledge designed to fill in the pockets of time between destinations be it a long commute or a walk down the hall. And the best part is that they’re contextual. A combination of GPS and rudimentary image detection factor into the algorithm that immediately informs you about the crack in the Liberty Bell as you enter Independence National Historical Park. Your retention of Spanish produce vocabulary is enhanced while you stroll down the aisles of your local supermarket and see translations of labels pop up in real time. The explosive growth of educational software will fuel an entire arsenal of learning tools designed to interface directly with the environment. So what will you learn today?

  25. VR means change. Change is what technology ultimately brings into our lives, and it’s what it does best. This is especially true when there’s a “big bang” in the tech sphere that occurs, like the Internet or the first touchscreen smartphone. Technology can and has changed our pace of life, the method in which we accomplish tasks, and in turn changed our perceptions of the world and of each other. The introduction of VR into our daily lives– whether it’s the ease of accessing VR through our phones or contact lenses– adds another layer of knowledge and instant access to information that we will grow accustomed to. In other words, I believe we will start to demand more information out of the world around us.

    This could be used to a great advantage. On the smaller scale, one could see the time without wearing a watch, or have a countdown to the next appointment, or see how many customers are in-line at a restaurant to make an informed decision about that night’s dinner. On a larger scale, VR has the potential to immerse people into situations they otherwise would never have the opportunity to have (evoking empathy instead of sympathy), making access to education instantaneous and relevant, exploring new ways to express the arts, delivering medical notices more efficiently, and more. It is noteworthy to mention that the impact of VR will largely depend on its release and regulation, whether it is an open source program or more corporate structured.

    On the other hand, I can easily see VR running into issues regarding ethics and privacy. It would be interesting to see how big companies will use VR to advertise their products, how much can be learned about the consumer (companies could potentially literally SEE through the eyes of the consumer… imagine it in the hands of the government or a hacker), and what the consumer response would be to that invasion of privacy. Pokemon GO was barely a glimpse at how VR will eventually change our lives.

  26. Augmented reality (AR) applications in tourism and sightseeing that aids tourists with virtual guide in both forms: audio and video has and will be more successful. These enhance tourist experience through simulations of historical events, places and objects, restaurants review and hotel booking by rendering them into their current view of a landscape may see a boom because of large tourist populations and information seeking nature of the tourists. Apps like Google search and Wiki tube might see great success ahead. AR apps for tourism should be augmented with weather forecasts of tourist locations and transport options.

  27. Games will be more real and exciting. Companies are investing to give people a better gaming experience with 3D graphics and devices that will coordinate real time movements during the game. Moreover, people are paying for that. With augmented reality, gaming will become the reality just with providing a suitible area for the gamers and a game. People will really walk, run, connect with other people, discover places and much more. More real and more cheaper.
    Also, it can be improved for military uses with integrating satellite images and thermal infrared imaging into the current environment.

  28. augmented reality, is the best because, with AR people connect with each other, while they are going to home from work or doing morning walk.

  29. Many thanks for all the comments; the team will assess them and we’ll announce a winner as soon as possible.

  30. In 2016 Augmented reality made a new high. All big giants in industry want to connect with AR magic. In between an Indian Startup launch an application Yeppar – Augmented reality which providing AR platform for business as well users to be a part of augmented reality revolution.

Comments are closed.