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Futurists Rejoice: Virtual Travel Is Finally Here

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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Virtual and augmented reality have been creeping into our daily lives for a few years now. Whether it’s the short-lived obsession of Pokémon Go, the simplicity but brilliance of Snapchat filters, or the prevalence of VR headsets and 360 content, it’s not surprising that we are now seeing the trend enter into the realm of travel.

For those still unclear about the difference between AR and VR technology, according to The Franklin Institute, augmented reality (AR) adds digital elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone. Virtual reality (VR) implies a completely immersive experience that shuts out the physical world.

Wondering how can you join in virtual travel? Here are a few experiences to start with:

Luggage Scan

easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, recently announced a new feature on their app which enables customers to scan their carry-on bag with the camera on their phone to check its size before they travel to the airport. Based on the luggage size, the app will help alert the traveler if their bag will fit in the overhead bin. A similar feature is also available on the LATAM Airlines app, removing some of the stress of travel.

Virtual Travel

Thanks to Sygic, you can now virtually visit 50 different locations around the world from the comforts of your couch. The GPS navigation provider introduced an app for Apple TV last December with nearly 5,000 360-degree videos shot by the documentary filmmaker Michal Gálik, bringing a new meaning to budget-friendly travel.

Virtual Food

Remember when your mom told you not to play with your food? I bet she never had this in mind. Technology start-up, Kabaq, has released an AR feature on smartphones that allows diners at various participating restaurants to see 3-D images of items on the menu from their phones. You can also use the AR feature to layout your food on your plate before ordering. Bareburger and Magnolia Bakery are two NYC locations already offering the AR experience. 

Futurists can rejoice because it’s clear these experiences are just the beginning of virtual travel.

[Source: nytimes.com]

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