The idea of Augmented Reality has been with us for decades now after being invented back in 1968 by Ivan Sutherland and Bob Sproull. The cutting-edge technology of AR is surely going to become the new kingpin, with the entire world revolving around it.
Expanding the horizons of the physical world while leveraging the power of the digital domain is exactly what makes Augmented Reality such a unique experience. That is why in this article we are going to discuss everything there is to know about Augmented Reality and how exactly it works.
What is Augmented Reality?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary best defines AR as “an enhanced version of the physical realm that is crafted by overlaying digital information”. In Layman’s terms, Augmented Reality adds various digital details to the physical world.
By projecting digital graphics, it can actually add an extra layer of information to real-world objects. The implementation is slightly different from that of Virtual Reality, where it is based completely on a different ecosystem.
This particular approach of Augmented Reality is exactly what makes the physical objects more interactive packed with information. Some of the best-suited examples include smartphone games that can project animated characters over the real world.
How Does Augmented Reality Actually Work?
The working principle behind AR is very simple. The camera captured natural information is displayed while overlaying digital data. Some of the key components that are required in order to achieve Augmented Reality includes:
- Camera with Depth Sensor: The camera is the most crucial component in order to achieve AR. It allows recording the visual information that’s further relayed to the output device. That being said, the camera needs to be equipped with a depth sensor in order to figure out the distance from the subject.
- Registration Tools: This includes supporting sensors such as accelerometers or motion sensors that can offer additional information, allowing the computer to define the exact location. These tools help in setting up the AR around the user.
- Computer Vision: Right after the image is taken from the camera, it is further processed using various Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms. This computer vision is further used to train the algorithm for accessing information. Take, for instance, the first time you take a picture of a box, the algorithm can recognize similar objects in the same manner. This is absolutely crucial in ensuring an immersive experience using AR.
- Output Device: Lastly, in order to display the post-processing outcome, AR requires an output device. For a smartphone, this happens to be its display, or maybe even a computer monitor for that matter.
What are the Various Types of AR?
Based on the mode of execution, Augmented reality can be further categorized. This includes:
1. Marker-Based AR
This particular type of AR is based around a visual marker or a distinct object that helps the camera to recognize and process information regarding the particular item. For the majority of the time, this marker is a QR code or a custom artwork. Due to its cost-effectiveness, there has been rising popularity for Marker-based AR. That being said, users need to download a specific application or scan a specific pattern for it to work.
2. Markerless AR
Just as the name suggests, this type of AR doesn’t require any visual marker whatsoever. But users can still interact with the virtual object. A fine example of Markerless AR is the use of an interior design application, that allows users to pick furniture and set them in various arrangements. Without the use of an anchor, the camera can simply track fingertips and work accordingly.
3. Projector-Based AR
Augmented Reality uses advanced projection technologies in order to simplify manual tasks. Projector-based AR is heavily used in manufacturing, sequencing, training, and assembly operations. Finding its application within the light guide system. The best example is within a factory, instead of guiding through step-by-step instructions, projector-based AR can be used.
What are the Various Uses of AR?
After the introduction of AR almost half a century ago, businesses and industries have barely scratched the surface. But, with the adaptation of various AR applications, the scenario might change soon enough. Here is a list of some of the actual use cases of AR that we might see in the coming years.
- Microsoft Hololens: Microsoft Hololens is by far one of the most breathtaking innovations from the company, that offers a mixed reality experience. In fact, this is the closest we can ever get to the real deal. Microsoft Hololens combines the marvels of VR headsets along with AR making something unique. With the use of transparent glasses, users can interact with digital elements.
- Marketing: This is by far one of the most prominent domains in which AR has found its application. Many tech giants are using AR for marketing purposes, where opening the said application users can feel the thing instantly. Furniture application also allows users to try them out at different moveable positions.
- Public Safety and Security: AR can also become the perfect companion when in need. Using smartphones, people can actually find important applications. Using Augmented Reality, these applications can guide people in the best way possible under particular situations.
- Entertainment and Gaming: Pokemon Go is the perfect example of how much the gaming industry has come in terms of adopting new technology. In fact, this game become the proof of concept on how AR can be implemented on a smartphone. Over the next few years, we can also find some of the best use cases of AR in both the entertainment and gaming industry.
- Education: Augmented Reality has great potential when it comes to education. An enhanced classroom backed by AR, especially within the medical and healthcare industry can offer substantial skill development. Be it teaching how to operate using sophisticated medical equipment, or showcasing human anatomy. Augmented Reality can revolutionize the way we perceive education.
- Maintenance: Maintenance of equipment and fine machinery can become a very tedious task whatsoever. But, artificial intelligence can be used to teach workers how to fine-tune them from time to time.
- Travel and Tourism: Interacting with a foreign country is now possible with the help of Augmented Reality. This, in turn, can help people to learn more about foreign culture, making traveling a much immersive experience altogether.
So that was our curated guide on everything you need to know on what is AR. While the technology is still at its initial stage, it has tremendous potential further down the line.