Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that integrates the virtual world with the real world in real time, and this can be put to a number of uses for the benefit of individuals and groups. In simpler terms, Augmented Reality implies technology that lets you access what you see in real life, in the virtual world.
The term is directly extracted from the process of augmenting a real world environment, and various scenes and sounds into a virtual world, and then extracting suitable information from the process. The device that carries out this process is embedded with a number of sensors for determining graphics and sounds, and this is what enables the entire procedure to be carried out.
Augmented Reality Technology Space
To clearly understand what Augmented Reality is, some examples must be observed. One of the most reliable and advanced applications that uses this technology is Google Sky Map which can be installed on your mobile phone. All you need is a phone that has a touchscreen and a working camera. What you need to do is point that camera of your phone at the night sky when there are a lot of stars present, and the application will give you real time information about the stars and the constellations that you can see on the screen.
This is technology at its best, and this is truly a marvel of human creation. This is the stuff that our sci-fi movies of old were made of, and today this technology is becoming a reality. Mobile phone developers are the ones who are taking the most advantage of this technology, since the rising popularity of smartphones implies that everyone has a suitable device at their disposal that can make full use of Augmented Reality.
This term should not be confused with virtual reality though, since they are two very different concepts. In virtual reality our surroundings and environment are determined by a computer program and we perceive everything in a regular 'human' manner. Augmented Reality, on the other hand, enables the viewing of a regular environment by a virtual machine that offers real time updates and information about what we see.
More on AR Technology
- It is also widely assumed that AR is something that occurs in real time, is interactive and occurs in a 3D format.
- The term Augmented Reality was coined in 1992 by Tom Caudell, an employee working with Boeing.
- One of the most common uses of the technology is by sports analysts on TV shows when they draw lines on a computer generated field to explain certain concepts about the game itself.
- The ultimate aim is to make AR as advanced as that seen in many First Person Shooter (FPS) video games, where the wearer of an AR helmet and goggles sees things in real time and processes various calculations and data about distance, speed, weapons and other factors.
- Certain fighter aircraft and helmets also have this technology embedded in them for the sake of getting an accurate aim on their target, and for getting various other numbers and statistics.
In spite of all these marvels, it is the realm of mobile phones that is seeing a massive surge in Augmented Reality technology now. Our smartphones are becoming more advanced by the day, and this technology simply enhances the utility and the features of these devices. Innovative apps like Google Sky Map, Barcode Scanner (to scan a barcode in front of the phone) and Layar (to get real time information about any object), to name a few, are taking the mobile world by storm and helping us take our first few steps towards a technologically enhanced future.
Augmented Reality technology is something that is here to stay, and it is going to change the way we carry out a number of daily activities. It is only a matter of time before it gets incorporated into our lives completely, and our real environment and virtual databases get permanently integrated into each other.