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Can Augmented Reality Be Used for Litigation?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

While the swarms of Pokemon Go players aren't as plentiful anymore, Augmented Reality, or AR, isn't going anywhere. In fact, the newest iteration of Apple's iPad Pro and newest OS, iOS 11, will feature a whole host of tools for app developers to make AR apps.

However, whether AR will prove to be useful in the courtroom is yet to be seen.

How Does AR Work?

Technically, it is rather complex, but in essence, AR overlays images onto the video that your phone captures. It can display animated images and graphics on your screen in realtime as if they were standing directly in front of you. More developed AR can take your actual surroundings and change it, or make the animated images interact with real life objects.

Applications for AR outside of gaming and silliness exist. One of the more popular examples include the paint color selector apps that allow you to change the color of your living room wall with a few taps and swipes. But it's not likely your judge or the jury needs to see what the gallery would like in periwinkle blue.

Can AR Actually be Useful for Lawyers?

At this point, there are not many AR apps that appear to have any use for litigation (apart from maybe providing a few minutes of distraction and stress relief during a recess). However, developers are likely to find a way to make this technology more useful as new business uses are developed.

One AR app that already exists, for instance, a language translator, could make helping non-English speaking clients a little bit easier. But using this in a courtroom, at least at this point, seems a bit unreliable compared to a certified translator.

Some of the simpler AR tech can be used to make demonstrative exhibits, such as walking tours of crime scenes or injury sites, or potentially to create comparative land surveys for real estate cases. Perhaps further down the road, AR might enable virtual reality type testimony so as to protect victims of violent crime from further emotional harm by not having to be present in the same room as their attacker.

Lastly, while not necessarily for attorneys, an AR app that helped individuals physically navigate those courthouses that remind us of a certain M.C. Escher painting could also prove rather helpful.

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