Using Augmented Reality to inform consumer choice and lower carbon footprints

Using an AR smartphone app that combines comparative and detailed product information into personalized data and recommendations, a 23% reduction in carbon footprint was found for bottled water, and non-significant reductions for breakfast cereal.
Authors: Steven C Isley, Robert Ketcham and Douglas J Arent
 
Environmental Research Letters, Volume 12, Number 6
 
Publisher: IOP Publishing
 
Abstract
 
Consumers who wish to consider product attributes like carbon footprints in their purchasing decisions are often blocked from meaningful action by a lack of information. We conducted a randomized controlled trial at a grocery store to evaluate the effects of providing such product attribute and carbon footprint information via augmented reality (AR) displays on bottled water and breakfast cereal, two frequently purchased goods.
 
Using an AR smartphone app that combines comparative and detailed product information into personalized data and recommendations, a 23% reduction in carbon footprint was found for bottled water, and non-significant reductions for breakfast cereal. However, AR informed choice lead to healthier cereal purchases with an average of 32% less sugar, 15% less fat, and 9.8% less sodium. This research suggests that AR techniques can help facilitate complex decision-making and lead to better choices.

Photo: Screenshot of the augmented reality app in use for cereal shelves showing the detailed information on nearby products and the personalized letter grade on products further away. Additional screenshots and a video of the app in operation can be found in the online supplemental information available at stacks.iop.org/ERL/12/064002/mmedia (credits: Steven C Isley, Robert Ketcham and Douglas J Arent)

 
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