Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays a CGI (computer-generated image) onto the user’s view of the real world, fusing the real and the virtual worlds together.
Through the composite view of the AR, one can see a direct or indirect view of the physical world supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data. The general concept of AR can be further explained by ‘computer-mediated reality’. A computer-mediated reality refers to the ability to append or deduct information from the real world to manipulate one’s perception of reality through wearable electronic gadgets.
One of the biggest confusions is citing the difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (VR).
As opposed to the common practice of using AR and VR interchangeably, both the terms respond to two different technologies. While VR completely recreates a real-life setting digitally, AR superimposes elements in already existing real-world setup.
One of the earliest commercial usages of AR technology began in 1998 when televised football games started showing the yellow mid-field line (‘first down’ line).
Augmented Reality applications are coded in particular 3D programs that permit the developer to integrate animation or background digital information of the computer program onto an AR ‘marker’ to superimpose that in the real world. When the AR app receives digital information from the known ‘marker’, the computing device begins to execute the marker’s code and layer the appropriate digital animation.
According to Wikipedia “Pokémon GO is a free-to-play Location-based Augmented Reality (AR) game developed by Niantic Labs in collaboration with Nintendo for Android and iOS devices.”
The rage to capture tiny animated creatures in the real world surroundings had gone viral soon after the game’s official launch in just five countries.
Pokémon GO tapped on Augmented Reality and Geo-caching and refreshed the aura and experience of mobile gaming. Players can walk around their neighborhood and capture animated creatures with special powers on their mobile phones. A user has to capture, train, and battle these Pokémons. The bigger the Pokémon squad is, the stronger the user gets in the game.
Today, Augmented Reality has permeated all-major industry verticals including healthcare, public safety, tourism, and marketing. Among the AR products currently available in the market, Google glass and Heads-up displays in cars are perhaps the most popular commercially.
E-Commerce / M-commerce businesses are coming up with virtual changing rooms. One can try on a product virtually while having the experience of a real-world setup. This way the rate of returns in online shopping is reduced drastically. While this innovation has already started operating in few websites to buy online eyeglasses or jewelry, the technology is still in its primitive stage of innovation.
Educational platforms are the most emphasized sector in AR technology. Resources can use AR tools to develop 3D images, study the universe, or recreate historical events. The options are as extensive as the technology. The pilot studies of using augmented reality in classrooms to present the deeper understanding of a topic have been successful so far. The text and images are on usual textbook can be turned more attractive by integrating Augmented Reality to see dynamic, 3D computer-graphics ‘hovering’ over it.
Industrial, military and medical applications can effectively use Augmented Reality in the validation of the plans and designs. Instead of a 2D blueprint of the map, soldiers can use a detailed 3D map to plan their mode of attack. On the other side, even doctors and medical facilitators can use AR to supplement live information that is crucial to the patient’s body, during a surgery.
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