Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including: visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory.
Augmented reality (AR) incorporates three basic features a combination of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects.
This experience is seamlessly interwoven with the physical world such that it is perceived as an immersive aspect of the real environment.
AR has been widely used in the video games industry, most notably for Pokémon Go but Pikachu’s aside, there are many other uses for AR in our everyday lives. Some of which are:
AR applied in the visual arts allows objects or places to trigger artistic multidimensional experiences and interpretations of reality.
Augmented reality can aid in the progression of visual art in museums by allowing museum visitors to view artwork in galleries in a multidimensional way through their phone screens. This allows individuals to see hidden aspects and information about the paintings, and to be able to have an interactive technological experience with artwork as well.
The gaming industry embraced AR technology. A number of games were developed for prepared indoor environments, such as AR air hockey, Titans of Space, collaborative combat against virtual enemies, and AR-enhanced pool table games.
Augmented reality allowed video game players to experience digital game play in a real-world environment. Niantic released the augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go. Disney has partnered with Lenovo to create the augmented reality game Star Wars: Jedi Challenges that works with a Lenovo Mirage AR headset, a tracking sensor and a Lightsaber controller, which was launched in 2017.
Perhaps the most important application of AR for most users will be in retail applications, notably “try before you buy.” With more people shopping from home and less emphasis on public retail spaces, AR will allow consumers to see how products will look in their own homes before purchasing them. This can take the guesswork out of the buying process. There are already a number of apps, such as Wayfair, Houzz, and Ikea which let you place furniture and other products in your own real-world environments.
AR is finding its way into curriculum to enhance traditional learning methods. For example, textbooks can be marked with codes that, when scanned by a smartphone, can display additional content or 3D visualizations.
Other examples of AR Uses:
- Enhanced navigation systems use augmented reality to superimpose a route over the live view of the road.
- During football games, broadcasters use AR to draw lines on the field to illustrate and analyze plays.
- 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.
- Neurosurgeons sometimes use an AR projection of a 3-D brain to aid them in surgeries.
- 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
- Apps that help you find your car in a crowded parking lot
Differences with Virtual Reality
Although Augmented reality and Virtual reality share similarities, they are not the same, AR is not a fully immersive experience like virtual reality (VR). While virtual reality requires users to don a special headset and pulls them into a completely digital world, AR lets them continue interacting with the physical world around them.
In this way, augmented reality alters one’s ongoing perception of a real-world environment, whereas virtual reality completely replaces the user’s real-world environment with a simulated one. Augmented reality is related to two largely synonymous terms: mixed reality and computer-mediated reality.
Criticism dangers of Augmented Reality
In a paper titled “Death by Pokémon GO”, researchers at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management claim the game caused “a disproportionate increase in vehicular crashes and associated vehicular damage, personal injuries, and fatalities in the vicinity of locations, called PokéStops, where users can play the game while driving.”
Using data from one municipality, the paper extrapolates what that might mean nationwide and concluded “the increase in crashes attributable to the introduction of Pokémon GO is 145,632 with an associated increase in the number of injuries of 29,370 and an associated increase in the number of fatalities of 256 over the period of 6 July 2016, through 30 November 2016.” The authors extrapolated the cost of those crashes and fatalities at between $2bn and $7.3 billion for the same period.
Overload and over-reliance Concerns
Overload and over-reliance issues are the biggest danger of AR. For the development of new AR-related products, this implies that the user-interface should follow certain guidelines as not to overload the user with information while also preventing the user from over-relying on the AR system such that important cues from the environment are missed. This is called the virtually-augmented key. Once the key is ignored, people might not desire the real world anymore.
The concept of modern augmented reality depends on the ability of the device to record and analyze the environment in real time. Because of this, there are potential legal concerns over privacy. The constant recording of AR devices makes it difficult to prevent recording outside of the public domain. Legal complications would be found in areas where a right to a certain amount of privacy is expected or where copyrighted media are displayed.
Also there are worries that conversations might be secretly recorded or pictures snapped, or thought that they might be identified by face recognition software.
The future of augmented reality
Using Phones and tablets are currently ARs most popular application but Research continues apace on including AR functionality in contact lenses, and other wearable devices. The ultimate goal of augmented reality is to create a convenient and natural immersion, so there’s a sense that phones and tablets will get replaced, though it isn’t clear what those replacements will be. Even glasses might take on a new form, as “smart glasses” are developed for blind people.