How Can Augmented Reality Encourage Sustainability?

augmented reality

Augmented Reality has all the trapping to encourage sustainability.Lets take a look

According to, the concentration of CO2 has increased to its highest in human history at 416 ppm.

Similar research has brought about another astonishing fact that 11% of the total emissions are direct deforestation results.

We might not be able to prevent the already caused damage to the environment. We can work towards inculcating environment-benign practices to stop further deterioration of the Earth’s health.

Numerous governments are incorporating climate-resilient practices to rethink sustainability. These practices, in turn, seek the prowess of technology such as AR for environmental sustainability. Not only AR but even virtual reality has proven benefits and applications for encouraging sustainability.

The question arises; can the all-time popular gaming technologies — AR and VR — go hand-in-hand with sustainability?

The answer is a resounding YES — AR and VR can contribute towards environmental sustainability.

Applications of AR/VR for Environmental Sustainability

One of the significant benefits of using AR technology to preserve the environment is it does not require physical presence. Scientists and technologists have been working on the prototypes and offering a virtual-real experience, which curbs the carbon footprint to a certain level and leads to large-scale impact in the long term.

Let’s take a look at some of the best uses of AR/VR for environmental sustainability:

  • AR for Demonstrating Sustainability:

One of the industries hard-pressed to get more sustainability packed is the packaging industry. As a result, brands worldwide are looking for ways to cut down the layers of packaging, reduce waste, and encourage shoppers to recycle and reuse to maintain a healthy environmental balance.

An immersive AR experience on the packaging can help drive the engagement of users, who can follow the product’s lifecycle. Buyers have to scan the code provided on the packaging from their devices to watch an immersive video of the brand’s initiatives towards a green planet. A recent example from Chiquita helps buyers scan code from the stickers placed on the products to present an immersive video that shows the complete sustainable product development journey- Right from an efficient plantation process to an eco-friendly supply chain.

  • Real-time Insight of the Environment:

Scientists and technologists have been working hard to track the rate of changes in the environment. However, these changes are only accessible to experts. To create awareness, the data and real-time insight have to be accessible to everyday users. To drive environmental-sanity, users can know about the real picture developing in the environment’s condition.

Accenture Technology recently announced its partnership with Foundation for the development of EmissionVision. Emission Vision shows the amount of carbon footprint present in the environment and helps visualize its impact on the Earth to make greener choices. It is a unique app that helps determine the climate impact based on the number of trees required to offset a person’s overall carbon footprint.

  • AR for Manufacturing Processes:

Probably, if there’s one area that has remained under the limited influence of technology, it is the manufacturing industry. The manufacturing industry has witnessed the prowess of automation in recent times, facilitating improvements in the manufacturing processes.

Manufacturers can leverage Augmented Reality to boost production efficiency by decreasing the rate of production errors and reiterations. Firms such as Lockheed Martin, Ford, and Boeing leverage augmented reality to quicken the overall process efficiency for manufacturing products and reduce market time. Efficient production leads to lesser wastage and puts less strain on the resources, thereby facilitating sustainability.

  • AR for Telecommuting:

The year 2020 saw the rise of the work from home culture at the masses. However, the adaption of work from home has been at a conventional level to some extent.

The online video conferencing calls can be better handled and received using the AR technology for telecommuting. For instance, Microsoft Hololens. Windows Mixed Reality is the one-of-its-kind headgear that offers an experience of being in the closest proximity while conducting discussions with colleagues.

Do you know what this step implies? A lot of peak hour traffic rush can be curtailed, thereby reducing pollution. Also, it eliminates unnecessary air travel, which is a significant source of carbon dioxide emission.

  • AR Technology to turn Physical Objects Redundant:

Probably, you would have heard about the Burger King’s Initiative.

If not, let me chalk it down for you. Burger King put sustainability forward and discarded all the plastic toys for kids in their South African restaurants and replaced them with an Augmented Reality based game- Defend the king.

To play the game, consumers can download the application and scan it at the appropriate place. Shunning toys made of plastic had a significant impact on the environment and reduced pollution.

  • AR Technology can Help Reduce Overall Pollution:

The grave issue of global warming requires a next-gen solution — Augmented reality. One of the most efficient ways to prevent a solution is by raising awareness about how serious our planet is undergoing climate change. An exhibit — Ocean Life — boasts VR technology to present the volume of pollution in the oceans based on the plastics disposed of in them.

To disseminate knowledge about the pollution level in the oceans, users can leverage iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, AR kit, and Unreal Engine to visualize the effects of plastic on marine life. Being aware of the threat posed by climate change can enable people to modify their lifestyle to align with eco-friendly practices.

Practical Examples of AR for Environmental Sustainability

If you think that that augmented reality still has a long way to go, you undermine the potential of AR for environmental sustainability. The AR/VR technologies’ attributes such as an immersive experience and interaction capabilities highlight the crucial aspects of life.

Let’s take a look at the real-life example of AR for the preservation of the environment.

Rainforest Conservation using AR

Amazon Rainforest Using AR

World’s Polluted Air Vs. your City

Google, Lenovo, and Art Science Museum collaborated to offer a Singapore-based experience into the wildlife to bring about positive changes in the environmental cycle.

The project is known as Into the Wild and it offers an honest peek into the deep forests to highlight the rainforest conservation issue. By leveraging AR capabilities, the Art Science museum’s team provides an opportunity to its users to experience the true nature of Indonesian forests.

Inside the Amazon: The Dying Forest is a new-age and technologically advanced initiative by Time to help people worldwide know about the crucial yet endangered forest on the Earth.

The Time’s mobile app that is available on the App Store and Play Store shows the impact of deforestation with the help of AR, thereby creating awareness about the environment.

The team at Times has been able to create the 3D models of the Amazon’s forest.

In recent times, air quality is degrading, and pollution is the leading cause of this degradation.

New York Times published an article that compares the most polluted city’s air quality level to yours. They also launched an AR mobile app to offer readers an experience to visualize the minuscule pollutants that are not visible to the human eye. One of the distinguishing features of the app is that it allows users to compare the pollution level of their areas with that of the most polluted city in the world.

The Future is Now — Collaborations and Deals for Sustainability using AR.

Intel presents an example. The Technological University Dublin and Intel collaborated and explored virtual reality applications to develop simulation programs for Intel employees.

The future of AR/VR is bright when giants in the tech industry are propelling and encouraging students to learn about it. Recently, Samsung collaborated with India’s IIT-Jodhpur to set up a lab to help students understand the concepts of augmented reality and virtual reality and enable them to learn requisite skills for jobs.

The future is now.

Source:  Sakhuja, V. (2022, February 2). How can augmented R encourage sustainability? Medium. Retrieved March 16, 2022, from

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