The ARI equipment consists of a pair of glasses and a singular, right-handed glove. The glasses, acting as an enhancement visor, are used to detect and record information from the environment whilst providing visual displays for the user. The glove allows the user to physically interact with ARI's interface and the environment; this allows Norman to stream information via sensors in the glove, allowing research on things such as blood type, shoe-size and identifying scents in the air. It also seems that all gathered information is installed directly into ARI's internal memory which can be reviewed at any place or time; for example, ARI has instant access to the FBI database, evident when Norman scans a dead cat, only to note "A dead cat. The FBI doesn't keep records of dead cats..."
Whilst ARI's primary use is for crime scenes, it can also be used in other environments. For example, use indoors allows Norman to search through case files, examine evidence, and apply data to a geographic map. ARI can even be used recreationally, such as for virtual reality games (such as a holographic version of handball, among others), and generating simulations of environments.
It is suggested that ARI, due to it still being an experimental prototype, may cause a form of addiction or obsession in users. Subtle hints exist that Norman may have an obsession with the device, such as his cumulative score in the ball game being over 20,000 (which suggests that he is abusing ARI for trivial reasons). Later into the plot, visible signs of physical damage are seen if Jayden spends a prolonged amount of time in ARI; not only does blood begin running from his eyes, but failing to solve the case in time causes him to collapse and die from overuse.
Additionally, obtaining the "Case Closed" epilogue has Norman seeing hallucinations of virtual miniature tanks despite removing his ARI glasses. Additionally, if Ethan escapes arrest the first time, Norman suffers ARI hallucinations in "Jayden Blues," implying that the device may be damaging his brain and that he may have difficulty identifying between reality and virtual reality.
When Norman uses ARI to try and crack the case, the background is visibly different, and if he spends too long examining evidence he begins bleeding from the eyes. As Norman's condition worsens, the artificial environment and soundtrack become gradually more aggressive. If Norman fails to solve the case in time, it begins to rain before his prolonged exposure to ARI kills him. Additionally, it seems that Triptocaine, the drug Norman initially appears to be addicted to, is actually used to control the side effects of ARI; this is made more apparent on replays, as Norman's hallucinations typically follow lengthy sessions in ARI, and the waiter's warnings of over-indulgence can be taken as a reference to ARI rather than Triptocaine.
Resignation - Arguably the best ending in regards to ARI, Norman resigns from the FBI and turns in the device with his gun and badge. When informed it will soon be an outdated model and that he can keep it, Norman declines and states he's sticking with reality.
Case Closed - Norman closes several files in ARI, but continues to see digital projections of tanks after removing the glasses, implying he is continuing to suffer from hallucinations. It is not known if Norman stops using ARI after this point, nor is it known if the side effects of overuse are permanent.
Smoking Mirror - Talking to a digital psychiatrist in ARI, Norman confides that he is continuing to use Triptocaine to control his overuse symptoms. Norman then realizes he is actually speaking to a digital duplicate of himself, which informs him that all the Triptocaine abuse has affected him more seriously than he thinks. Norman is then found dead following a fatal overdose of Triptocaine.
Uploaded - The most confusing of Norman's epilogues, Norman's death means that Carter Blake acquires his ARI glasses and, upon wearing them, suffers a vivid hallucination of Norman. It isn't confirmed if Norman's overuse has caused ARI to partially duplicate his personality (akin to the "Smoking Mirror" epilogue), or if it is just Blake suffering similar side effects.