Augmented Reality Explained

Image Courtesy from freepik.com

Introduction

Augmented Reality (AR) is a currently trending technology opportunity; it is becoming more and more in-depth as smartphones now have “AR-ready” features and other compatible devices are now accessible around the world. Augmented Reality lets us see a real-life environment with a digital augmentation overlaid on it. An example is having a virtual pet that you could see walking on your table but can only be seen on your smartphone’s camera, another one is your pet dog interacting with its cartoon counterpart, and lastly is how you could kick a virtual ball past some virtual players to score a goal.

The advancement of AR technology is now common and already available in modern smartphones; in fact, it is readily available and being used in many ways such as in Snapchat filters, Instagram filters, and even shopping apps that let you try on clothes without leaving home.

One famous example of AR technology is the mobile app Pokémon Go, which was released in 2016 and quickly became a popular app for players of all ages. Players could locate and capture Pokemon monsters that pop up in the real world, possibly on your sidewalk, in a fountain, even in on top of your bed.

Augmented reality is the blending of interactive digital elements into a real-world setting some examples are dazzling visual overlays, haptic feedback, and etc. This is what Pokémon Go is implementing, projecting game items, onscreen icons, score, and even a Pokémon creature, as simulated overlays create the illusion of the Pokémon being right in front of you. The success of Pokémon Go resulted in millions of kids and adults alike walking and trying to catch Pokémon and search for virtual prizes.

Brief History of Augmented Reality

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Image from Blippar.com

Here is a brief infographic from Blippar.com on how Augmented Reality developed. Augmented Reality was first projected as early as 1968 by Ivan Sutherland’s head-mounted display, known as the ‘Sword of Damocles’; this device paved the way for modern Augmented Reality. As the technology has progressed from those early days, Augmented Reality has continuously developed and has become a fixture in our daily lives.

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

The terms “virtual reality” and “augmented reality” are typically used synonymously these days, but because of recent developments of Virtual Reality headsets by the Oculus Rift and the use or Augmented Reality apps and games like Pokémon Go, the concepts of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have resulted in more defined differentiations between the two technologies.

Virtual reality and augmented reality accomplish their goals in two very different ways, Virtual Reality replaces reality by projecting an entirely simulated environment, Augmented Reality, on the other hand, adds to reality, projecting information on top of what you are seeing. These two technologies are powerful enough that they have the potential to completely change how we interact with computers in the near future.

Augmented Reality Today

Hearing the term Augmented Reality or “AR” nowadays, most people will immediately look over their smartphones or mobile devices. For Augmented Reality to work properly, the device must have a suitably powerful processor, a compatible display or monitor, different types of sensors, and input options.  Many modern smartphones already feature these components. 

Many technological companies are embedding Augmented Reality in their software and a list of it will be discussed in this article: imagine being able to visit a museum without leaving home, or even use your remote desktop software without even using a computer or laptop, being able to translate a foreign language in real-time are among many other possibilities.

Innovation in Augmented Realities

Military applications – Augmented Realities can also be embedded for military services, this could open possibilities for training soldiers for warfare realistically, within a safe environment. Soldiers could plunge into an almost realistic battlefield environment that could be accentuated with helmet-mounted displays. According to VisionGain, this market value may be worth around $1.4 billion in 2018

Google Pixels’s Star Wars Stickers – If you are a fan of Star Wars, you may be aware of this commercial from Google. Using the same basic idea as Pokémon Go, Google added a feature to the camera of its Pixel phones that could allow users to input Augmented Reality stickers into pictures and videos.

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Google’s Augmented Reality Program – Google has made a number of prehistoric creatures and historical figures available to view in augmented reality in its Art and Culture app. If you are interested in creatures such as Cambropachycope from your home without having to physically  visit Moscow’s State Darwin Museum, then this app is for you.

This Augmented Reality is already available to view in Google’s Arts and Culture app. Over the years, Google has added a few AI features to its collection, such as in 2018 when it launched a feature that would match your selfies onto famous portraits. Google has been adding augmented reality creatures to its search results, the company has made a number of 3D animals to view, recently expanding the offers to include dinosaurs and insects.

Facebook’s Project Aria – Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, has announced that they would be launching Smart Glasses in 2021 as a ‘next step’ to current AR devices. With Facebook Reality Labs, it announced a new consumer wearable and dove into its ongoing research into augmented reality devices.

Zuckerberg was excited to share that Facebook has formed a multi-year partnership with the aim to build and release a pair of smart glasses in the coming year.

According to Facebook Reality Labs, they are focusing on its quest to build wearable AR glasses that will integrate with its own software. In 2018, the company confirmed that it was building its own proper augmented reality glasses. “We want to see those glasses come into reality, and I think we want to play our part in helping to bring them there,..” is what Ficus Kirkpatrick said which Facebook’s head of augmented reality at the time.

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Amazon Augmented Reality – Amazon developed a new augmented reality shopping tool called Room Decorator, that will allow users to see furniture and other home decors in their own space, this app could also save AR snapshots that could be used at a later time.

Augmented Reality Tomorrow

Before AR technology can reach its maximum potential, it must surpass the mere novelty of being used on mobile devices. As stated by Tim Bajarin in his 2017 Time article entitled ‘Why This Futuristic Tech Will Be The Future of Computing’: “For AR to become truly useful, somebody will have to make a platform for it that could host a variety of apps and services,”

When Augmented Reality will find a platform to be able to use all of its features and it becomes clear how Augmented Reality is proficient, the potential of AR will begin to be fully realized. Industries such as architecture, education, and even military training, will benefit from having Augmented Reality.

What is next for Augmented Reality?

AR in terms of Education

With Augmented Reality technology, information can be passed to a student in real-time. It has the potential to give a better sense of vision and removes the hazards which ultimately is the best-practice. Augmented Reality can increase its worth by decreasing the amount of risk and cost rate with training.

AR in the Automobile Industry

Automobile companies are making use of Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence technologies to improve and innovate. The automobile industry is an open market for augmented reality businesses. In the future, we will see developments for augmented reality in cars by adding dashboard-mounted display graphics from around a vehicle with the help of advanced cameras. This could help reduce accidents at it has the capability of pointing out hazards or even identify historical landmarks along the way. Augmented reality could also expand on how we are able to see frequently used lanes, navigation, traffic status, and much more.

AR’s with Virtual Reality

As discussed above, Facebook is in the process of implementing Augmented Reality with wearable glasses, they are also planning to implement Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality working together in tandem. Augmented Reality results in connecting people and potentially socializing with virtual people. Having combined them together could start a conference call where users can see one another, at the same time.

Having combined these two ideas could allow users to use pinboards and whiteboards in augmented reality, being able to see together in a conference and socialize using virtual reality.

AR’s along with Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence is essential for the operations of augmented reality. Augmented reality allows objects to be labeled and identified in their point of view. Common examples are the popular social media apps like Instagram and Snapchat with their various filters like dog filters, spacesuit filters and many more.

These applications would not function without the combination of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality. It goes without saying that this technology will continue to progress in the future.

Conclusion

Augmented Reality has much potential and will continue to improve as time goes by. One can only imagine what would will be able to achieve once the full potential of Augmented Reality becomes realized.

One Reply to “Augmented Reality Explained”

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