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What is Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is the technology that expands our physical world, adding layers of digital information onto it. 

Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), AR does not create artificial environments to replace real with virtual ones. 

Augmented reality adds a digital layer (images, videos, text) to your existing environment.

One of the most popular augmented reality uses comes from the massive mobile gaming hit “Pokemon Go!” 

In Pokemon Go, the player uses their phone’s camera to find Pokemons in their surroundings, catch them and add them to their collection. 

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The game itself is very addicting and boast of having over 166 million users [Source]

Now, you might think that we can only use augmented Reality in video games and that it doesn’t have any concrete, real-life applications, but that’s far from the truth.

If you’re the type of person that likes to travel, an AR camera translator might just make the trip a breeze.

AR can and has also been used in the following industries:

  • Archaeology
  • Architecture
  • Broadcast and Live Events
  • Commercial industry
  • Education
  • Industrial design
  • Literature
  • Medical industry
  • Military
  • Music
  • Navigation
  • Workplace safety
  • Visual arts
  • Tourism and sightseeing
  • Translation
  • Many more

Another great example of augmented reality comes from Microsoft.

Thanks to current advancements in computer vision, object recognition, and AR devices, we have something similar to Tony Stark holograms that could not only load 2D images of a body, but 3D information from CT scans and MRI.

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Microsoft Hololens can assist the engineer with several computer-generated information: videos, remote support, graphics, instructions, manuals, etc…

Benefits of Augmented Reality

1. AR increases the perceived value of products and brands

Research [source] has shown that Augmented Reality can improve the value of products and brands.

2. AR increases engagement and provides a richer user experience

Just look at the millions of people who are playing Pokemon Go daily.

The technology isn’t as revolutionary as Microsoft Hololens application, but it’s still interesting enough to garner an insane amount of attention.

AR is still in its early stages, and it’s growing every day; there is no better time than now to invest in AR.

3. AR Doesn’t require an expensive headset

Unlike Virtual Reality, most people have everything they need to use AR right in their pocket, 

A phone with a camera.

Most lucrative and popular AR applications rely only on the user having a camera on their phone.

You can easily take advantage of AR to tap into the mobile market and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Examples of Virtual Reality

Enhanced navigation systems use augmented Reality to superimpose a route over the live view of the road.

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During football games, broadcasters use AR to draw lines on the field to illustrate and analyze plays.

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Furniture and housewares giant IKEA offers an AR app (called IKEA Place) that lets you see how a piece of furniture will look and fit in your space.

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Neurosurgeons sometimes use an AR projection of a 3-D brain to aid them in surgeries.

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More examples:

  • At historical sites like Pompeii in Italy, AR can project views of ancient civilizations over today’s ruins, bringing the past to life.
  • Ground crew at Singapore’s airport wear AR glasses to see information about cargo containers, speeding up loading times.
  • Military fighter pilots see an AR projection of their altitude, speed, and other data on their helmet visor, which means they don’t need to waste focus by glancing down to see them.

Types of Augmented Reality

There are several categories of Augmented Reality, each with varying differences in their applicational use cases and objectives. 

These include:

  • Marker Based Augmented Reality - known as Image Recognition, uses a camera to produce a result when a reader senses the marker
  • Markerless Augmented Reality - uses a GPS, velocity meter, digital compass to provide a database on the location
  • Projection Based Augmented Reality - uses advanced projection technology to make easier the complex of manual tasks
  • Superimposition Based Augmented Reality - it replaces the original view of the object

Conclusion

Augmented Reality may prove to be a very useful and productive tool in our everyday lives. 

It has the potential because it brings elements of the virtual world and puts it into the real world, enhancing the things we see, feel, and hear. 

Among the other reality technologies, AR lies in the middle of the mixed reality spectrum, between the real and virtual world. Utilizing the power of both

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