What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) is the technology that overlays digital information on any object in the real world to provide an improved experience to the user. The most common example of Augmented Reality is Snapchat, where the user can click a picture and apply objects like eyes, ears, and nose of puppy and many more.
Augmented Reality has the capability to present possibilities that other technologies cannot. In present times, AR applications can be seen across multiple industries all over the world.
AR fulfils three basic features. These comprise of a combination of real and virtual world, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of real and virtual objects.
Image Source: © Kalkine Group 2020
Types of Augmented Reality:
- Marker-based AR: Marker-based AR is sometimes also known as image recognition. This type uses a special virtual object and a camera that can scan the object. These objects could be something like a printed QR code. In this case, the AR device evaluates the position of the marker to position the content. Thus, giving it a 3D touch.
- Markerless AR: Markerless AR or we can say it as a position-based AR that uses GPS, compass, accelerometer, and a gyroscope to provide data based on the location of the user. This AR is beneficial as it identifies what content would be there in any particular location.
- Projection-based AR: Projection-based AR projects artificial light on the physical surfaces. In some scenario, this type of AR also helps the user to interact with the object.
- Superimposition-based AR: Superimposition-based AR uses object recognition. The augmented image then gets replaced by the original image either partially or wholly. An example of this is the IKEA catalog app.
How Augmented Reality differs from Virtual Reality?
While AR is a blend of the digital world and the physical elements to create an artificial environment, Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation of an alternate world. VR creates simulations that are similar to the real world. Through VR, the user can experience any event or let us say scenery while actually not available in that location.
So, the key difference between AR and VR are:
- AR enhances real-world scenes. On the other hand, VR creates an immersive virtual environment.
- In Augmented Reality, 25% of the things are virtual, and 75% is real. On the other side, Virtual Reality 75% of the things are virtual and the remaining 25% real.
- In VR there is a need for a headset which is not needed in AR.
- In AR, the user can stay in touch with the real world and can interact with the virtual objects. On the contrary, in VR, the user gets isolated from the real world and enters into an entirely fictitious world.
How does AR work?
After understanding Augmented Reality, it would be interesting to know how it actually works.
Let us understand step by step about the way AR work.
- In the first step, the computer vision understands the world around the user based on the content that is in-built in the camera. This enables the digital content which the user is looking at.
- In the next step, the digital content is displayed in a realistic way, which gives digital content a look that it is a part of the real world.
An example of this is the Pokémon Go, which is a popular AR game. The game allows users to catch virtual Pokémon that is hidden across the map of the real world.
Why does AR need a computer vision?
We, as human beings, are efficient enough to recognize the image and accordingly categories them. However, it is not the case with computers. To make the computers understand the images or the surrounding environment, AR needs an understanding of the world in terms of semantics as well as 3D geometry. Semantics helps to identify the object and 3D geometry helps in discovering the way the object is facing. In the absence of 3D geometry, AR content cannot be displayed at the right place and angle. It is significant as 3D geometry enable the user to feel that the object is part of the real world.
How does AR display digital content?
To experience AR, there is a need for logic which is to be decided beforehand. It helps in identifying the particular digital content which would be triggered once the system recognized the surrounding. In the live AR system, once the camera recognizes the surrounding, the rendering module displays the appropriate content to the camera feed.
Augmented Reality Devices:
- Mobile devices
- Special AR Devices
- AR glasses
- AR contact lenses
- Virtual Retinal Displays
Applications of AR:
AR has gained immense popularity of late and is being implement across sectors. Some of the real-world applications of AR are highlighted below:
- Explaining an interactive model to students or employee attending training conducted by the business.
- AR enables the broadcasters to understand any strategy on-field games like cricket by drawing lines of pattern for better understanding.
- IKEA provides AR application to allow the user to understand how a piece of particular furniture would look at any location of the house.
- Plays an essential role in the medical field. An example to explain this is that some neuro-surgeon use AR projection of 3D brain to support them during surgeries.
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