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What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
The integration of digital data with the user’s surroundings in real time is known as augmented reality, or AR. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which creates completely artificial environments, AR users experience a real-world environment with perceptual information generated on top of it.
Augmented reality is used to either visually alter natural environments in some way or to provide additional information to users. The primary advantage of AR is that it manages to blend digital and three-dimensional (3D) components with the person’s perception of the real world. From helping in decision making to entertainment, AR has a wide variety of uses.
AR provides visual elements, sounds, and other sensory information to the user through a device such as a smartphone or glasses. This information is fed onto the device to create an interwoven experience where digital information alters the user’s perception of the real world. Overlaid information can be added to an environment or hide part of the natural environment.
Boeing Computer Services Research employee Thomas Caudell coined the term augmented reality in 1990 to describe how head-mounted displays used by electricians work when assembling complex wiring harnesses. One of the first commercial applications of augmented reality technology was the yellow first down marker that began appearing in televised football games in 1998. Today, Google Glass, smartphone games, and heads-up displays (HUDs) in car windshields are the best-known consumer AR products. But the technology is also used in many industries, including health care, public safety, gas and oil, tourism and marketing.
How does augmented reality work?
Augmented reality can be delivered in a variety of formats, including smartphones, tablets, and glasses. Another development is augmented reality via contact lenses. The technology requires hardware components such as processors, sensors, displays and input devices. Mobile devices typically already have this hardware, with sensors including cameras, accelerometers, global positioning system (GPS), and solid-state compass. This contributes to increasing AR’s usability for regular users. GPS is used to pinpoint the user’s location, and its compass is used, for example, to detect device orientation.
Sophisticated AR programs used by the military for training may also include machine vision, object recognition, and gesture recognition. AR can be computationally intensive, so if a device lacks processing power, data processing can be offloaded to a separate machine.
Augmented reality apps are written in specialized 3D programs that enable developers to connect animation or relevant digital information in a computer program to augmented reality markers in the real world. When a computing device’s AR app or browser plugin receives digital information from a known marker, it begins executing the marker’s code and layering the correct image or images.
Difference between AR and VR:
VR is a virtual environment that is created with software and presented to users in such a way that their brain suspends belief long enough to accept the virtual world as a real environment. Virtual reality is primarily experienced through a headset with vision and sound.
The biggest difference between AR and VR is that augmented reality uses an existing real-world environment and superimposes virtual information on top of it, whereas VR completely immerses users in a virtually rendered environment. While VR places the user in a new, simulated environment, AR places the user in a type of mixed reality.
The tools used to accomplish this also vary. VR uses a VR headset that fits over the user’s head and provides them with simulated visual and audio information. AR devices are less restrictive and typically include devices such as phones, glasses, projections, and HUDs in cars.
Within a 3D environment that they can move around in and interact with, virtual reality places users. AR, however, places users in a real-world environment, overlaying virtual data as a visual layer within the environment.
Understanding Augmented Reality:
Augmented reality is evolving and becoming more widespread across a wide range of applications. Since its conception, marketers and technology firms have had to grapple with the perception that augmented reality is nothing more than a marketing tool. However, there is evidence that consumers are beginning to see tangible benefits from this technology and expect it as part of their purchasing process.
Wearable technology has long been seen as a potential game-changer for augmented reality, according to some experts. Smartphones and tablets represent a small part of the user landscape, but smart eyewear, for example, could provide a more complete link between the real and virtual realms if it evolves enough to become mainstream.
Examples of Augmented Reality:
Some early adopters in retail have developed AR technologies designed to enhance the consumer shopping experience. Augmented reality has been incorporated into store catalog apps, allowing consumers to visualize how different products will look in different environments. For example, when purchasing furniture, buyers point the camera towards the appropriate room and the product will appear in the foreground.
Top AR Use Cases:
The following applications of AR are possible:
Consumers can use the store’s online app to see how products, such as furniture, will look in their own homes before purchasing.
Entertainment and gaming. AR can be used to overlay a virtual game onto the real world or enable users to animate their faces in different and creative ways on social media.
AR can be used to overlay a route to a user’s destination over a live view of a road. In addition to providing navigational information, augmented reality can show nearby businesses’ details.
Instruments and measurements. Mobile devices can use AR to measure various 3D points in the user’s environment.
AR can help architects visualize building projects.
Data can be displayed on the vehicle’s windshield indicating destination directions, distances, weather and road conditions.’
AR has aided archaeological research by helping archaeologists reconstruct sites. Future archaeologists and museum visitors can virtually visit an excavation site by using 3D models.
Examples of AR
Examples of AR include the following:
A Target retail app feature called See It in Your Space enables users to take a photo of a space in their home and digitally view an object, like a picture on a wall or a chair, to see how it looks. How will it look there?
Apple Measurements app :
The Measure app on Apple iOS works like a tape measure that enables users to select two or more points in their environment and measure the distance between them.
Snapchat filters use AR to overlay a filter or mask on a user’s snap or picture:
pokemon go Pokémon Go is a popular mobile AR game that uses the player’s GPS to detect where Pokémon creatures appear in the user’s surrounding environment so that they can be caught.
Google Glass is Google’s first commercial attempt at a Glass-based AR system. This small wearable computer enables users to work hands-free. Companies like DHL and DB Schenker use Google Glass and third-party software to make frontline workers more efficient when it comes to global supply chain logistics and optimized shipping. Google is also working on another pair of glasses in 2022 that are designed to transcribe or translate live transcriptions of what another person says into text.
The US Army uses AR in an eyepiece called Tactical Augmented Reality (TAR). TAR is fitted on a soldier’s helmet and helps in locating the position of other soldiers.
future of ar technology
AR technology continues to grow as the popularity and familiarity of apps and games like Pokemon Go or retail store AR apps increases. Expanding 5G networks could make it easier to support cloud-based augmented reality experiences, for example, by providing higher data speeds and lower latency to AR applications.