How AR Body Tracking Will Solve Real-World Problems
by Heather Lipner
Body tracking is a playful and expressive use of AR because it unlocks the ability to wear otherworldly digital garments or avatars that mimic your movements. It also offers utility for fashion and ecommerce brands, allowing users to try on an outfit digitally before they click ‘purchase.’ Altogether, it has the potential to play a key role in AR user adoption, and may even serve as a foundation for solving real-world problems.
Backing up for those unfamiliar, what is AR body tracking? It involves full-body positional tracking through your smartphone camera. Once body parts are tracked, AR graphics can be integrated in ways that follow body movement. Think of it like the face tracking that’s become popular through selfie lenses (dog ears, sunglasses, cosmetics, etc.), but extended to your full body. As you can imagine, this unlocks several additional AR use cases, utilities and brand marketing opportunities.
While this functionality exists within an app-based setting on platforms like Snap, Geenee AR’s recently-announced full-body tracking SDK is the first time AR try-on is available for the web, making it immediately accessible across platforms, through the click of a link or the scan of a QR code.
Here’s an inside look at some of the predicted benefits of the technology and some insights as to why Geenee, a web AR focused startup, chose to prioritize full-body tracking as its final feature release of 2021.
1. Empathy will skyrocket
What will happen when you can digitally put yourself in someone else’s shoes? Today we can experience watching a movie, becoming emotionally invested in a character’s story, empathizing with and thus understanding their position in the larger world. Now imagine the experience of being in an embodied 3D environment, living or reliving someone’s experiences. Empathy will become increasingly native and less of a learned behavior.
2. Connections will mature
As empathy grows, connections will deepen, and openness to people’s behavior will mend today’s disconnections. As we broaden our identity in the digital world, from defining our digital wardrobe to presenting ourselves as creatures or fantastical beings, we lose the permanency of identity and the judgement that comes with it. Instead we will build a connection with people’s stories rather than their physical features. Social circles will inevitably broaden and become more inclusive.
3. Freedom of identity
Once we lift the focus off of physical identity, we can explore worlds and people in an ever-changing light, infusing a childlike energy of play and creativity. Identity becomes impermanent, fluid and free, and we’ll no longer feel the pressure to look like a celebrity or influencer. (RIP Instagram face?) We’ll understand digital identities as a vehicle to explore rather than a signature we use to login.
4. A new era of innovation
Fluidity spawns the creative culture like never before. The less people feel judged, the more freedom we all have to think and see things differently. New light will help us focus on identifying and solving hard problems with new processes and innovative ideas.
5. Environmental benefit
AR, 3D Body Tracking more specifically, will have a massive positive ecological impact due to a reduction of gasses from sampling, production, shipping/returns, and buying. Not to mention, we can satisfy our emotional need for the new via digital fashion, collectables and identities, thus reducing our reliance on the supply-and-demand chain of our physical world.
So there you have it. Look out for body tracking to continue to evolve as an AR enabling tool that will unlock more immersive experiences and brand marketing in 2022.