Brief history of augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it. The first use of augmented reality was actually in 1968, when an engineer named Ivan Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull designed what he called the “Sword of Damocles.” The system was extremely primitive (by today’s standards), and was suspended from the ceiling so that it wouldn’t fall on the user’s head. Other early attempts at augmented reality were made throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, but in 1998 a start-up company called DARPA created a landmark AR technology: GPS.
After a few handheld products that featured AR hit the market — among them Layar, which launched in 2009 — Google came out with its own take on AR in 2010: Project Tango. In 2014, Apple introduced its own implementation called ARKit, which has been built into iOS devices since 2017.
What augmented reality is
The concept of augmented reality has been around for decades, but only in the last few years have smartphone makers and developers begun to embrace it.
Augmented reality, or AR as its most commonly known, is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements atop an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it.
Think of it as a digital version of the View-Master toy you may have played with as a kid. In its simplest form, AR uses your phone’s camera to show you what’s in front of you via your screen, then digitally augments it by placing a layer of data — sound, video or graphics — over top.
AR can be used in a variety of ways. One example is Snapchat Lenses which use augmented reality to change how you look while using the app’s selfie camera; one Lens might make your eyes into giant hearts while another could turn you into an adorable panda. Other examples are apps that let you preview furniture in your own home before buying them, give you instructions on how to fix your broken bike, or measure the dimensions of items in your house.
The types of augmented reality
Augmented reality has applications in a wide range of industries, including education and training, automotive, aviation, entertainment, architecture and construction.
The technology allows you to place computer-generated objects in your field of vision so that they appear to be part of the world around you. For example, an overlay might show you that a building is up for sale or that a restaurant has great reviews.
One of the most popular examples is Pokémon Go, which uses AR to project cartoon monsters into the real world. Players have to physically travel to the location where the Pokémon are projected — thus encouraging users to get outside and exercise — before catching them with Poké Balls.
Marker-based (or image recognition) augmented reality: These systems use a camera and some type of visual marker — such as a QR/2D code — which triggers the display of digital material when read by an app on a mobile device.
Markerless (or location-based) AR
Uses of augmented reality
It’s achieved through the use of a digital technology, like a smartphone or tablet, which adds digital elements to the user’s view of the real world.
Augmented reality has many uses in business and education. Here are some of the most popular:
Augmented reality gaming is an interactive experience, where the user interacts with 3D objects in a real environment. Pokemon Go is one of the first, and most popular examples of this type of game.
The remote support industry uses augmented reality to help technicians solve problems without being physically present at a site. Remote support software can give technicians access to applications on mobile devices using immersive images and videos, giving them a first-person view of what’s happening on-site. This helps them troubleshoot problems faster, saving time and money for themselves and their customers.
Students can use augmented reality to visualize historical events, such as World War II battles or political revolutions in Rome. Teachers can also enhance presentations with AR by providing students with relevant visuals from any location. The possibilities are endless with this technology!
Finally, the last and most important thing is the application of augmented reality. I have already mentioned that the potential of this technology is tremendous, because it can be applied to so many different industries, like consumer electronics, fashion, home improvement and medicine in general. However, it is still new and many companies don’t know how to apply it correctly. The long-term prospect of augmented reality market is huge, but it will take some time until this technology becomes mainstream.
Augmented reality is a technology that improves your perception of the real world and potentially has a great impact on our lives