Even though this website is focused on virtual reality, you are unable to discuss it without mentioning its very close cousin augmented reality, but what exactly is it?
Whereas virtual reality immerses your senses completely in a world that only exists within the digital realm, augmented reality takes real life of your present and projects digital imagery and sound with it. Augmented and Virtual Reality both fall around the continuum of mediated reality. That is in which a computer modifies our perception of reality versus the “real” world.
As possible probably deduce this simply means several things qualify as augmented reality company. The heads up displays we have seen in certain aircraft and cars which may explain to you stuff like “distance into a target”, GPS position or perhaps your current speed are a type of augmented reality. Events with digital avatars of deceased musicians including Michael Jackson and Tupac Shakur projected onto a screen while using Pepper’s Ghost illusion would also qualify within broad concise explanation of augmented reality.
However, when we read about augmented reality these days it always describes a more sophisticated, interactive and spatially aware implementation of your concept. Where digital objects including 3D models or video are projected onto our look at reality as though these folks were really there.
The sort of augmented reality you are most likely to encounter uses a range of sensors (including a camera), computer components and a display device to generate the illusion of virtual objects in the real world.
Because of the popularity of smartphones, that contain all of the necessary components, they have been the spot most commercial augmented reality applications that have been released.
Generally speaking the device looks for the target. This could be anything, but usually it’s a 2D image printed on such as a motion picture poster. Once the augmented reality application recognizes the prospective via the camera it processes the picture and augments it in some manner with pictures and sound. By way of example, you may begin to see the movie poster spring to life and play a trailer for that film. So long as you look at the poster from the “window” of your display you will see augmented reality as an alternative to plain old vanilla reality.
By utilizing smart algorithms along with other sensors for example accelerometers and gyroscopes the device is able to keep the augmented elements aligned with all the picture of the real world.
Employing a smartphone or tablet computer like a “magic window” in to the augmented world is one method we can relay this digital info to the eyes, but there are lots of alternative methods to accomplish this.
Digital imagery could be projected directly onto physical objects. This is recognized as projection mapping and enables you to quite striking effect. By way of example, the Dyadic Mano-a-Mano uses projectors and Microsoft Kinect sensors to provide the user with 3D digital imagery projected directly onto the environment. The person doesn’t need to wear equipment or use any devices. Interaction with this method is highly natural and intuitive.
Projection mapping for an augmented reality method has many potential, however it demands a controlled and mapped space to be able to work. The process that is most probably to supplant smartphone augmented reality as being a common implementation outside the laboratory is one which utilizes head mounted systems. This is why virtual and augmented reality really commence to converge, while there is no real factors why the head mounted systems utilized by both technologies cannot be cross-functional. Indeed, head mounted systems that use smartphones to be effective usually have something referred to as a camera “pass-through”. Put simply, while you can’t see anything besides the screen in the head mounted display (HMD) it can show you the outside world through the rear-facing camera from the phone. This needless to say permits augmented reality without the need for a handheld device. However, unless specially engineered against it, this process leaves one feeling a bit disconnected through the experience, considering that the camera’s perspective and deficiency of depth perception don’t quite gel in comparison with exactly what the human eye alone sees.
One way to travel this is to apply a system as found in the Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens. These two devices use something known as the “prism projector”. The eyes from the user keep an eye out with the world unimpeded, but digital imagery is projected into the prism projection system that sits between the eye and the outside world, making it appear as if those objects really are there, located on a table or hanging versus the wall. How this HMD achieves this can be complex and fascinating and it discussed more completely in our Hololens article.
There are numerous ways to have the goal of augmented reality, but as we discussed the final result is that we percieve digital information blend with the analogue world. A thing that has numerous, many applications. A few of which we’ll take a closer inspection at.
Augmented reality has a wide array of applications in several industries and because of the rise of consumer smart devices and overall computing technology developments it has lots of potential within the mainstream consumer space at the same time.
The 2 locations where we have now seen a great deal of commercial development in augmented reality are education and gaming.
The two biggest mainstream computer game consoles, the Xbox and Playstation, have included augmented reality capabilities during the last two console generations. These game in the form of the Kinect (for that Xbox) and Playstation Eye or Camera (for your Playstation 3 and 4 respectively). Because you’re facing the camera along with the screen during these implementations are definitely more like augmented reality mirrors, where you see yourself “in” the overall game and will interact with game characters that appear to be in the identical room as you.
Mobile augmented reality games will also be not rare, and can be obtained on smartphones, tablets and handheld consoles like the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita.
Seeing the opportunity of augmented reality in education isn’t hard. It’s being implemented in fields such as medicine where students can be helped by live 3D models. It’s easy to use existing learning material (including pages from a textbook) as targets for augmented reality. And once viewed with the lens of any smartphone you will see that picture of the engine animate within an engineering textbook or possibly a working 3D model of a beating heart that you can walk around of rotate yourself.
In medical practice augmented reality can project information directly onto the body of a patient. For example, the Veinviewer system projects an actual-time image of infrared vein scans directly onto the patient’s skin. Creating the impression the skin is transparent. This allows the clinician to “see” the veins directly.
Military use cases may also be quite clear, since soldiers wearing heads up displays (HUDs) are able to see information tagged onto objects in real life. Radar information, orders or any other relevant sensor data from devices in the network that may provide it. Enemy and friendly positions are naturally also necessary to know. Augmented reality clearly includes a bright future in military applications.
Mobile phone devices particularly the iPhone use augmented reality apps which allow you to view computer generated images which have been superimposed over real life images. An illustration of it is an app which helps you to find a restaurant: it can do this by displaying restaurant signs/logos while you move around in a specific direction.
Another useful form of app is actually a golf GPRS system that helps golfers around a training course. It displays yardages for all the 18 holes, shows where hazards are, e.g. bunkers and advice and support on boosting your game. Should you be golfer then this app will suit your needs immensely – try to find the Golfscape Augmented Reality Rangefinder through the Apple store.
Augmented the truth is also employed in marketing and advertising as a means of enhancing certain areas of an item to help make it more pleasing that can boost sales. This is discussed in depth inside our augmented reality marketing article.
Augmented reality will likely worm its way into our daily lives increasingly more these days. Once wearable computers become more common it won’t be strange to find out people interacting with and reacting to things that aren’t there out of your perspective. Due to technologies including augmented reality the way you work with computing devices and take into account the divide between digital and analogue reality is probably going to change fundamentally. There is nothing stopping you from experiencing augmented reality for your self today though. Just hop onto your smartphone’s app store and check for “AR” apps. There are plenty to use, most of them free.