Augmented Reality (AR): An interactive virtual world with the real world


Augmented Reality (AR) technology is so common these days yet, we are unable to observe it because we tend to ignore things for which we don’t know about. From E-commerce websites to the gaming industry, everyone is adapting to the AR technology to make their business more customer-oriented. For most people, AR is still quite unrealistic and often intended as science fiction from a Hollywood movie.

Augmented reality enables a whole new dimension that helps us envision the future in the present world. It has greeted us with the power to get the insights of our imagination and helped in turning our imagination into reality.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality is a technology in which the virtual graphics interact with our real-world environment through which we can put up our imagination on to the real world to really see how it will blend with the world. We can add videos, graphics, sounds, etc to the direct view of our existing environment.

In other words, we can say that AR is superimposed computer-generated graphics that change our perception of reality.

The word augmented reality was first used in 1990 which was specifically for military purposes. Since then, with the rise of smartphones and the internet, many augmented reality apps are being built which covers almost every aspect of our daily life such as social, entertainment, habits, etc.

For example, if you love football, you must have observed while watching the match on TV or phone, the players while playing suddenly gets a pop-up stats on their heads and the stats move with them on the ground. Google Lens is one of the best examples of AR.

AR works on the technology known as S.L.A.M (simultaneous localization and mapping). It also involves technologies like depth tracking with the help of the following components: –

  • Cameras and sensors – cameras act as the input accepting device for the AR system through which the sensors collect the data, renders it and sends the information to the user. Cameras collects the data of the surrounding and generated 3D models.
  • Projection – It projects the collected data from the sensors and sends the digital projections to the display of the user.
  • Processing – AR is a mini-computer that needs a CPU, a GPU, RAM, Bluetooth or WiFi for cloud interaction on the internet, a flash memory, a GPS, etc. The collected data from the sensors are merged with the processing data and new details are processed which send to the user like speed, angle, direction, etc.
  • Reflection – AR devices contain mirrors to interact and assist human eyes. A double-sided mirror is used to reflect the light on the camera and to the user’s eye. These reflecting mirrors are used for the proper image alignment for the user.

History of AR

In 1968, Ivan Sutherland and Bob Sproull created The Sword of Damocles, which was the first head-mount display with primitive graphics.

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In 1975, Myron Krueger created an artificial reality laboratory called the Videoplace in which people interact with digital stuff with their movements. Today, this concept can be seen in many things like cameras, projectors, etc.

In 1980, the First portable computer known as EyeTap was developed by Steve Mann which was designed to be worn in front of the eye. Later in the year 1987, a prototype of a heads-up display (HUD) was developed by Douglas George and Robert Morris which displayed astronomical data over the real sky.

image source- wikipedia

In 1990, two researchers from Boeing, Thomas Caudell and David Mizell marked the birth of AR. In 1992, US Air Force personnel, Louis Rosenberg created an AR system called Virtual Fixtures. Later in the year 1999, a new navigation software was developed by the group of scientists led by Mike Abernathy and Frank Delgado.

In 2000, a software development kit was developed by Hirokazu Kato known as ARToolKit – later which was taken by Adobe. In 2004, a helmet-mounted navigation AR system was developed by Timble. In 2008, an android based app called AR Travel Guide was developed by Wikitude.

At present, AR has come miles right from where it started. In 2013, Google Glass came into beta testing. In 2016, one of the most popular games called Pokemon GO came and become an instant hit among the people. It totally changed the face of the mobile gaming industry and earned around $2 million in the first week of launch.

Types of AR

  1. Marker-based AR – Marker-based AR or in simple words we call it Image recognition technology which uses a camera of your device and a special image. It covers everything from QR codes to special signs. It also calculates the position and orientation which helps in turning a 2D image into a 3D model in some cases, provided the 2D image should be in the format so that the AR could easily recognize it.
  2. Markerless AR – This technology is also known as position-based or location-based technology. The main components required for this technology are a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a GPS, and a compass. This AR technology mainly used in maps and navigation applications.
  3. Projection-based AR – This AR technology uses synthetic lights on the physical surfaces to interact with it which means that it shows certain animations on the physical thing by showing artificial lights interacting with it on your display. It is similar to the technology shown in the movie Ironman where he uses his holographic computer to design his suits.
  4. Superimposition-based AR – This technology uses the realtime physical environment and surrounding to create an atmosphere for which the user wants it to be by superimposing the characteristics of the application on the device display for which it is made. For example, many spectacles selling websites uses superimposition AR technology to show its users the type of frame they are choosing for themselves by superimposing the selected frame on their face virtually.
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With the accessibility to the technologies, Augmented Reality has become a part of the everyday life of a human being. AR has not only provided new ways to the entertainment but also made day to day life easier for people. AR has provided such an environment that has pushed the limits and possibilities to the human imagination and it is only going to increase as we progress slowly into the future.


9 thoughts on “Augmented Reality (AR): An interactive virtual world with the real world”

  1. Thanks! Pretty well explained.
    The nitty-gritty of AR is supposed to emerge in Mobile AR as marketing backbone. AR technology is in the nascent stage with a huge growth potential of customer attraction as well as Investors.
    Looking forward for VR and MR content too! 🙂

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