Augmented reality sounds like a term used in the latest sci-fi movies that are difficult to grasp, but the fact is that this technology is no longer a concept. In other words, augmented reality, or simply AR, is already used in many different industries and for many different purposes. When it comes to the definition of this term, the simplest definition describes augmented reality as real-life environments that are altered by computer-generated images. This technology is used in gaming, eCommerce, aviation, military, and a few other sectors.
Defining augmented reality
Augmented reality can also be defined as the process of integration of computer displays and graphics into the real-life environment. This technology is able to upgrade the physical world by providing sheets of digital data and information. Truth to be told, this is a relatively new technology with excellent potential. With the help of AR, it’s possible to unite real-life environment and computer-generated imagery and as a result of that, the viewer’s senses of hearing, smell, touch, and sight are enhanced.
When talking about AR, it’s impossible to avoid another topic – virtual reality or VR. However, virtual reality is a concept where the users are transported to a completely artificial environment generated by a computer. As we said before, augmented reality is just upgrading existing real-life environments. AR lays graphics, sound, smell and other senses over natural, real world. Today, this exciting technology is used in smartphones and video games. But, this technology is not limited to these industries because we are witnessing its use in the military and tourism sectors too.
Thanks to augmented reality, people are able to view the real world in a different light. They can also see other perspectives of social life, entertainment and habits too. For instance, augmented reality can come as a pair of specially-designed glasses that are providing informative graphics where you look. This is what Google Glass project was all about. The bad news when it comes to Google Glasses was that this product was quite expensive and the authorities feared that these glasses can affect privacy.
As previously mentioned, there are many other applications of this technology and many of them are in the process of development. One of the reasons why the interest in AR is growing is the fact that many tech companies were able to create mobile apps that are used on smartphones. There are millions of people around the world that are using smartphones and this is something that encourages AR developers to invest more in their research.
Different kinds of AR
There are a few different kinds of augmented reality at the moment. First of all, we have markerless augmented reality. This is a type of AR which uses location or position in a combination with a compass, accelerometer, gyroscope or GPS to create and deliver information relevant to users. It basically uses location to provide information.
You can also find marker-based augmented reality solutions. This type of AR is all about image recognition. You must use a camera as well as a specially designed visual object in order to scan for special signs or QR codes. The marker-based augmented reality device will then calculate the position and orientation of the marker to position the content in the right way. In addition to these kinds of augmented reality, we also have superimposition-based augmented reality and projection-based augmented reality.
Regardless of the type of augmented reality, we are analyzing, you should remember that every type of AR relies on a range of data and information like images, animations, videos and 3D models which users view in synthetic light and natural light in real-life situations. It is possible to view AR on screens, glasses, headsets, smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices. Augmented reality relies on technologies like flash memory, CPU, RAM, Wi-Fi, GPS, sensors, cameras, projection, reflection, depth tracking and more.
Where is augmented reality used?
AR can be used in many different situations both for commercial and non-commercial purposes. This technology is still making progress and improvements. Thanks to the increased popularity, more and more tech companies are starting to invest in AR and we can expect to see much better results in the near future.
As for the application, gaming is definitely the area where augmented reality is used the most. There were many benefits of using AR technology in games like supporting social interactions, outdoor exploration and more. With the help of this tech, gaming has become a more proactive activity, not a sedentary activity.
We should also mention that AR is used in retail and eCommerce. Thanks to specially designed apps, users can check the products they want to buy in real-life environment before buying them online. The companies that have used AR in this way, have witnessed increased sales, better customer retention and engagement, and improved brand awareness. Real estate agencies are already using this tech to offer 3D tours of buildings and houses.
There’s no doubt that AR has great potential. Tech companies involved in AR development are making tests in experiments in many other sectors. For instance, many of them want to implement AR in art in areas like music, arts, and performances. It’s possible to use augmented reality in the healthcare industry too. AR can support prevention of diseases, making an accurate diagnosis, monitoring the health of patients, localizing and analyzing data and more. Efforts have been made to implement augmented reality solutions in the military too. In this sector, this technology can improve sophisticated navigation. AR can be used in tourism for directions and navigation, education for delivering interactive models for training and teaching, and in many other sectors.
While it’s true that AR is a relatively new concept, this concept is already used in different areas of our lives. Augmented reality is no longer only a part of sci-fi books and movies, it’s part of our world. In the next few years, we hope that this technology will help us make our lives easier.
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