What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
AR is a fairly new form of technology that measures/ maps your surroundings and superimposes information on top, creating an interactive experience for the user. AR often gets confused with Virtual reality but they are different experiences. Virtual reality replaces your real-world reality with a virtual world that you can interact with through devices such as headsets. AR doesn’t replace your environment, it adds to it.
Popular AR apps
An example of AR is the popular app Pokemon Go. It has a database of pokemon mapped to different locations. The app uses your location to indicate when you are in the presence of a pokemon, then uses augmented reality to map that pokemon onto your screen.
Another commonly used app that makes use of AR technology is snapchat. They use AR to map filters onto the faces it detects. By mapping your surroundings, snapchat’s software can differentiate between faces and inanimate objects. It then matches the filter to fit the face; the further away from the camera you are, the smaller the filter is.
AR a lot of advancements have been made with AR recently and a lot of companies are taking advantage of it’s uses. Consider an interior designer, they work hard to help you imagine what your space could look like. With AR they can show you.. AR maps the interior dimensions (without any physical tape measure) by calculating the depth of the room and then measuring each object in proportion to this. The interior designer can then use AR to superimpose objects such as furniture and wall hangings directly onto your room, allowing you to visualise the finished result much easier.
Types of AR technology
This technology isn’t just for your phones, companies are constantly considering new ways to use AR. Google have created their own smart glasses called ‘Google glass’ which could use AR to project things like your incoming messages or map directions onto the lenses. The introduction of google maps revolutionised the way that we navigate our environment and has become a necessity in many people’s lives, AR may be the next step forward in this, by overlaying directions onto your surroundings via these smart glasses or directly onto your car windscreen. Imagine driving along and a big red arrow flashes up on your windscreen pointing to your turning or informing you when there’s traffic ahead. This would make navigating your surroundings a lot easier.
AR is currently being used to assist pilots by giving them regular updates with important information that will aid their flight, such as updates on weather, terrain and air traffic control.
The applications of AR are unlimited and soon AR may be used to assist our daily tasks. For example, imagine ordering flatpack furniture and having AR superimpose the instructions onto your phone screen/ glasses lens as your assembling it, giving your real-time assistance. The future for AR is bright and a lot of companies are already investing a lot into this technology, only time will tell what it will produce.
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