Remember the Pokemon Go game and era? Remember the fascination and obsession with finding these little Pokemon characters in your immediate environment and capturing them to use in battle against others? Ever wondered about how this could be? Two words: augmented reality.
What Is Augmented Reality
In layman terms, augmented reality is the use of modern computer technology to alter one’s world or reality. So instead of being catapulted into a different reality, yours is seasoned with sounds or/and images created by way of technology.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality is a complete opposite of augmented reality; unlike the latter which works by adding new information to your reality, the former creates a whole new dimensional reality for you to experience.
It is the use of computer technology to create a whole new artificial world and 3D experience complete with tweaks to senses such as sound, sight, touch and even smell for users to enjoy.
Basically, while virtual reality works by creating and immersing you in a whole new and different world, augmented reality adds things to your present world.
Similarities and Differences Between Augmented and Virtual Reality
Although seemingly two different sides of a coin, augmented and virtual reality do share two common similarities.
Firstly, they are both computer technologies which have been programmed directly to alter our senses especially in sight and sounds and the way we see the world. Secondly, they are both products of the futuristic reality technological advancements which are now being adapted for use in more than just the games world.
Differences? Asides the obvious difference in operations where augmented reality improves on your world and virtual reality creates a whole new world, these two are different in build up and mechanics.
Augmented reality makes use of sensors and algorithms to understand and ascertain camera positions at various times. The relationship and communication between the algorithms and camera are responsible for how the 3D graphics would appear through camera lenses as part of your immediate environment or world.
Virtual reality on the other hand, makes use of sensors and math in its mechanics. These sensors work with the human eye as their controller rather than a camera. Graphics under VR are operated based on human reactions; if you tilt your head while in a virtual world, the graphics do same.
Augmented Reality Technology
Augmented reality seems like new technological innovation because of its recent popularity but a form of it has actually always been in use since the 1990s.
The heads up display which was used in fighter aircrafts back then could show exact positions and speed of the plane as well as objects of target in view.
Beyond this, augmented reality technology has seen several advancements and modifications over the years as they now exist in hardware form, handheld devices, eye tap and even tracking devices.
Our smartphones, computers and other mobile devices are made up of processors, sensors and input devices which are components of any hardware AR device. These devices also have cameras and GPS sensors which qualifies them as part of augmented reality platforms.
Like the name implies this is an AR platform in the form of a portable hand sized device. This platform is popular because of the ease involved with accessing and handling it, but has a disadvantage of sometimes distorting the appearance of the real world in the case of devices with angular screens.
Pokemon Go is a good example of augmented reality in handheld form.
This AR platform is in the form of glasses which substitutes regular computer light for captured rays of sunlight and possess in depth focus causing the eyes to serve and function as a camera would.
GPS, digital cameras, optical sensors, accelerometers, etc are all forms of mobile tracking technologies used in creating modern mobile AR platforms.
Future Of Augmented Reality
This phenomenon known as augmented reality has gone from being a mere concept to an actual part of the life we live today. Augmented reality is such a part of us that we can easily access it even on our mobile phones and in game forms too.
Asides gaming, augmented reality is a major part of many industries today. In medicine there is the Accuvein Scanner, an AR device which works to make IV placement easier by making valves and veins appear more visible.
It is because this concept has grown leaps and bounds and has become part our lives that we believe in the future of it. So what do we expect the future of augmented reality to hold? Simple, an expansion into more industries and in use of sales, as well as providing answers on how to improve daily life activities down to the most traditional and basic things.
Augmented reality has played a major role in most industries and if adapted by many more is sure to help such industries experience immense growth, an example of such industry yet to fully adopt use of AR technology is the travel and tourism industry.
We hope to also see more brands and retailers use AR technology to promote sales and in marketing of their products by visually appealing to customers. And in improving daily life activities, having a refrigerator that communicates its contents to you would be a beneficial innovation for those of us who need constant reminders to go grocery shopping.
In conclusion, augmented reality is technology that even though only started gaining popularity in recent years has already impacted and become a part of many of our lives. AR is here to stay the long haul and we can’t wait to see what it brings with it in years to come.