You've probably heard of virtual reality (VR), where you put on a headset and are transported to a computer-generated world. Augmented reality (AR) is similar, but instead of creating a completely artificial environment, AR superimposes computer-generated images onto the real world
You may have experienced it yourself if you have ever used Snapchat filters or played Pokémon Go. Either way, your phone's camera showed you the real world, but with additional elements added by the app. This is augmented reality in a nutshell. Read on to learn more about how AR works and some of its potential applications.
How augmented reality works
Most augmented reality applications use the phone's camera to track the user's movements and figure out where to place computer-generated objects. This works because most phones today are equipped with sensors capable of detecting the user's position and orientation in 3D space.
There are two main types of augmented reality: the one based on markers and the one without markers. Marker-based AR uses fiducial markers - objects that are easily recognizable by a computer - to track the position of virtual objects in the real world. AR without markers, on the other hand, uses the characteristics of the environment for tracking.
These same sensors can also be used to identify flat surfaces in the real world, such as a table or floor. Once a surface is identified, AR apps can place digital objects on that surface and hold them as you move. The result is an immersive experience in which it seems to look at real objects,
even if they only exist in the digital world.
Applications of AR technology
The potential applications of augmented reality are endless. Here are just a few examples:
Arts and Entertainment: Imagine seeing move street art on the walls, or join a detective story in your city, or turn a trip with the car in a funfair path (without incident). With AR all this is possible;
Shopping: Buying clothes or furniture online can be frustrating because it's hard to understand what a live article will look like. But what if you could see how they would look that lipstick on your lips, or that new sofa in your living room before buying it? This is the power of AR shopping apps;
Training: AR can be used to create interactive learning experiences that go beyond traditional textbooks and lessons. For example, it will be possible to carry out maintenance on a machine integrating the manual with images in real time. Furthermore, students could use an augmented reality app to study a three-dimensional model of the human body or to explore ancient civilizations that have long since disappeared;
Health: Doctors and surgeons can use AR technology to view patient data in a new way or plan complex procedures. For example, a hospital in Oman is using AR technology to help surgeons a plan spinal surgery.
Augmented reality is cutting-edge technology with tons of potential applications across all industries. If you're looking for a new way to learn or want to add some excitement to your next party, there's an AR app for it! And with the continuous development of AR technology, we can only imagine what new and innovative applications will be possible in the future, for example the ability to delete smartphones and replace them with special contact lenses. Stay tuned: the future of augmented reality has just begun!