7 Amazing Facts about Augmented Reality: Your Tech World
Augmented reality (AR) is a hot topic in recent technological news. You must have heard this wonderful word. For the majority of people, AR is still not so well known field. But, it’s on a right path to gain more interest and popularity among new technologies. Don’t you think this is an emerging technology that deserve your attention? Today, I will discuss basics of Augmented reality. Also, I will tell you some interesting facts about Augmented reality. Furthermore, this article will answer all queries generating in your mind like Augmented reality definition, where its being really used?, key components of Augmented Reality technology, working principle of AR, types of Augmented reality (AR), Augmented reality vs. Virtual reality, scope of it in digital marketing, etc. Augmented reality is an Emerging Technology to Enhance your Real World beyond your Imagination Click To Tweet
Start your adventurous journey with following 7 interesting facts about Augmented reality: –
1. What is Augmented reality? – Definition
How would you define Augmented reality? Simple definition states as “Augmented reality (AR) is a blend of elements from the virtual environment with the user’s environment in the real-time”.
In other words, Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or composite view of a physical, real-world environment superimposed with virtual elements, which have augmented (enhanced) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
Below figure illustrates the definition of Augmented reality technology. Here, giraffe is a virtual object, while tree is the real one. With the use of AR, you can see superimposition of both in the real-time. In other words, your’s actual view has augmented (enhanced) with a virtual giraffe in the real-time.
“Three Basic Characteristics of Augmented reality (AR)” are –
- Overlay of Real and Digital world
- Real-time interaction
- Registration and Alignment in 3D
-Published in a Survey of Augmented Reality [Azuma 1997]
To explain this, let me ask you a question. Is any digitally enhanced image an Augmented reality? The answer would be No. Any digitally edited 2D image is not an example of Augmented reality technology. And what about science-fiction movies like “Jurassic Park” and “Godzilla”? The answer would again be No. In these types of movies, virtual objects have superimposed with the real environment in 3D. But, they are not interactive and thus not the examples of AR. OK, what about live telecast of any cricket match on TV, where you see a virtual line or curve representing the path of a ball? Is this an example of AR? Now the Answer would be Yes. In this example, virtual line or curve has created in the real-time by using the live feed from the match and thus meeting all the three basic characteristics of Augmented reality technology. Thus, Augmented reality definition is incomplete without these three basic characteristics.
2. Examples of AR- Use of Augmented Reality technology in the Real World
AR has already been used in many area. Some of the Augmented reality examples can be mentioned as below:
AR Business card: – During any conference or in any business meeting, sharing business card is one of the preferred ways to increase social networking contacts. Conventional business cards typically contain a name, job title, phone number, address and website address. However, in AR business cards, an AR code is also present along with other useful information. You can easily scan this AR code through your Smartphone. This enables you to get extra digital contents, like 3D or 360 videos of relevant products.
Alive app by Times Group in India: – Alive, an AR-based application, is used to see exclusive content like animation, videos, photo shoots. You can scan any printed image of newspaper, brochures, pamphlets, magazines. It works by recognizing images, logos, location, QR codes, and objects in the real-time.
Virtual furniture app: – There are lots of AR-based Interior applications available on the internet. These applications work by digitally adding virtual furniture to the real space available in the room. So, before buying actual furniture, you can place a photo-realistic virtual furniture to your room. Thus, you can have a feeling of “how it looks” if you purchase the same. One of the example is android application IKEA Catalog. It allows customers to virtually fit furniture in their homes before ordering.
Virtual dressing room: – Virtual dressing room is an AR-based dressing room application. It enables you to try online your selected clothes and accessories virtually without buying or trying it physically. TrialKart (an online dressing room app) is an example. Using this, you can choose and try any product listed online to visualize how the piece of clothing or accessory would look on you. To get a more realistic picture, zoom in, readjust and reorient options are also available. Voonik, an online women’s fashion store has recently purchased TrialKart.
Disney research app: – Disney research app is an AR-based coloring book application. Using this, 3D characters can be created in the real-time while the image of the same characters being colored. 3D characters created by this application are having the same texture of color of a 2D image. It really helps children to understand/feel the character in a better way by bringing life to the colored image of any character. iOS and Android version of “Disney Color and Play”, developed by Disney Research Lab are available for download.
Tip:- Augmented reality technology is ready to be introduced in educational institutions. And, AR is the future of learning and teaching.
3. Augmented reality Technology- Responsible for great experience
Hardware, Software and a Remote server are the three major components of the Augmented Reality technology.
Key hardware components in AR-based devices are a processor, display, input devices and sensors. The display is either a monitor, handheld device, eyeglass or Head Mounted Displays (HMD). The input device is either the camera of a Smartphone or a webcam connected to the internet. Sensors are gyroscope or accelerometer of a mobile device or it could be an infrared sensor. Nowadays, a Smartphone consists of all hardware requirements of augmented reality.
Software plays a key role in the functioning of any device based on Augmented reality technology. Special 3D Augmented reality programs like D’Fusion are used in AR-based applications. Virtual images, used for overlapping over the real live image, can be generated using 3D software. Software can be AutoCad3D, StudioMax or Cinema4D. CT and MRI data can also be added to the Real world. Also, to experience Augmented reality, end-user has to download a software application or browser plug-in.
Apart from this hardware and software, a web or cloud server plays an important role in storing the database of virtual images. Based on the request received from AR application, virtual images are retrieved from web or cloud server and sent to application.
Below figure illustrates the key components of Augmented reality.
4. How does Augmented reality (AR) work? – Basic understanding of working principle
Augmented reality based applications work on the basis of two types of approaches, named as Marker-based and Location-based.
You must have heard about QR code. This is the most common type of Marker-based Augmented reality. 2D bar-code is the simplest type of AR markers. The more complex type consists of bright color and meaningful pictures. When a Smartphone having Marker-based AR application scans a pattern such as a bar-code or a symbol through the camera of it, the software recognizes it and superimposes a digital image on the screen. 3D or animated digital image is used for a better experience. The Marker-based AR approach is also called as Recognition-based Augmented reality. Below figure can effectively illustrate the working principle of Marker-based type of AR applications.
When camera of a Smartphone having Location-based Augmented reality application is pointed towards a real scene, inbuilt GPS software recognizes the location of the device in the world. Based on this recorded location and orientation of device recorded through inbuilt sensors, like accelerometer and gyroscope of the device, the application offers data, relevant to that specific location, towards which user is looking for. These digital informative data are then superimposed to the real scene, visible with device camera. Most widely implemented AR applications are having location-based AR approach. Below figure can effectively illustrate the working principle of Location-based AR applications.
So, above two approaches are the reply for the question “How does Augmented reality work?”. The key difference between the two approaches is that Marker-based AR applications usually do know about the object that they see where as Location-based do not, they work by locating the object being seen.
5. Types of Augmented reality (AR) – categorization based on interaction
There are five types of Augmented reality as mentioned below:-
- Marker-based Augmented reality (AR)
- Location-based Augmented reality (AR)
- Projection-based Augmented reality (AR)
- Outlining Augmented reality (AR)
- Superimposition-based Augmented reality (AR)
In fact, other than Location-based Augmented reality, other types of Augmented reality work on the concept of Marker-based Augmented reality.
Projection-based Augmented reality (AR): –
Projection-based AR systems projects the virtual image onto physical objects. I have tried to explain the working of Projection-based AR using below figure. In this type of Augmented reality, the technique is to project a virtual image of a table clock on an actual table clock of the same size. The physical table clock is having different colour and visual texture than the virtual one. This projection leads to getting a feel of “how it feels” with the desired colour and visual texture of the virtual image. This physical model having a projection of the virtual image is called Projection Augmented model (PA model). We can touch, feel, and even grasp this PA model with our hands.
For better understanding about the practical use of Projection-based AR, you can read an article on “Real-Time Projection-Based Augmented Reality System for Dynamic Objects in the Performing Arts” by Jaewoon Lee, Yeonjin Kim, Myeong-Hyeon Heo, Dongho Kim and Byeong-Seok Shin.
Outlining Augmented reality (AR): –
Outlining-based AR application merges the outline of any object, so that you can pick up the same with your hand. You would also be able to manipulate it with a virtual object that does not exist in real view. The concept behind this type of Augmented reality is to track the outline of your hand with the help of a camera and then reorient the virtual object. A similar approach is also used for tracking a face. After detecting a face, AR software recognizes the position of main features of the face, like mouth, nose, eyes etc. Using these positions as reference points, software overlays virtual object on the face. Once this recognition and connection between virtual object and face have established, the software can redraw the virtual object in the real-time with the actual movement of the face. Very recently, Shoppers Stop has launched AR based dressing room in Mumbai (INDIA).
Superimposition-based Augmented reality (AR): –
In Superimposition-based AR, the augmented view is superimposed on the real view of any object. This augmented view could be either internal view of the object, or it could be X-Ray/CT scan image. These types of AR can be used in various fields like defense, education, medical, architecture etc. Below figure effectively describes the superimposition of an X-ray image of the ankle on the live video of a patient. Here, an augmented view has displayed on the screen, enabling the doctor to look at the fracture in the ankle of a patient in real-time.
6. Augmented reality vs. Virtual reality (AR vs. VR) – who will lead the market?
What is Virtual reality (VR)?
Virtual reality is an artificial environment created by adding virtual digital information with the existing digitized real world. It’s like generating a complete virtual world around a user in which he/she can interact with objects, people and the environment.
Augmented reality (AR) vs. Virtual reality (VR) can be explained with below table:-
Augmented reality is the digital enhancement to the real world, but the Virtual reality is completely a virtual world.
One of the advantages of AR over VR is that you need not to be completely isolated from the real world. In the case of VR, you are completely cut off from the real world. One common problem of VR is that after playing games in the completely virtual environment, people generally complain about nausea. Another advantage of AR is that it can be experienced easily with Smartphone, whereas for VR, some form of HMD is required. Thus, AR systems can easily be penetrated into the mass mobile market, whereas VR can be enjoyed by gaming niche market. AR market is having a better scope of growth in digital marketing with the recent technological advancement in terms of hardware as well as software.
7. Past, Present, and Future of Augmented reality (AR) – Development with time
Past of Augmented reality technology: –
In 1957, a virtual reality machine, called Sensorama was developed by one famous cinematographer, named Morton Leonard Heilig. He was known as “Father of Virtual Reality”. Sensorama can be described as a movie theatre having one seat, enabling the user to feel and act as if he/she was actually being in the movie.
In 1968, Ivan Sutherland created the first Head Mounted Display (HMD) system. It was named as “The Sword of Damocles”. This HMD had very limited capabilities. But, this invention was the first step towards the development of AR. While, the term Augmented reality was first used by Tom Caudell in 1990, the door to AR was opened into consumer world by Hirokazu Kato with the release of ARToolKit in 1999. ARToolKit is an open source library. It allows a developer to develop AR applications. By using this, any Smartphone having camera and internet connection can capture video in the real world while superimposing 3D images on it.
In 2008, development of AR based applications for Smartphone has been started by mobile app developers. This was just a start in terms of recognizing AR globally.
Present of Augmented reality technology: –
In 2011, Google engineered a prototype of smaller and slimmer version of HMD, named Google Glass. Initially it weighed about 3.6 kg. In April 2012, Google has publicly announced Explorer edition of Google Glass, weighing about 36 gm.
Later in April 2013, this was made available to developers. Google Glass was a really very innovative and inspirational approach in the field of development of AR. But, the user could not have interaction between virtual information (graphics) and the real world. Its limitation of only displaying information, rather than the interaction between virtual and the real world, one of the “Three Basic Characteristics of AR” make it disqualified for the AR field. Google Glass Explorer program had ended by Google in January 2015.
In January 2015, a project similar to Google Glass, a wearable HMD, named as Microsoft HoloLens was released by Microsoft. However, unlike Google Glass, it has an ability to simulate interactive holograms in user’s view of sight using AR. This makes Microsoft HoloLens fits into the AR qualification criteria. To understand the involvement of Microsoft in the Augmented reality technology, I recommend you to read All About Microsoft Augmented Reality in Next 15 Minutes.
Tip:- Apart from AR-based glasses, Google Glass and Microsoft HoloLens, lots of AR-based apps have already developed for digital marketing. Have a look on my collection of some awesome Augmented reality Apps for your Smartphone.
Future of Augmented reality technology: –
With the recent advancement in Smartphone and wearable headset market, bright future of AR is assured in digital marketing. According to recent news about Augmented reality technology, a market intelligence company, named ABI research says that by 2020, Augmented reality (AR) niche market is estimated to reach a worth of US$ 100 billion.
- Augmented reality is not a term from science fiction movie rather this technology exists in our Real world. Three Basic Characteristics are the inherent parts of Augmented reality definition.
- A lot of AR-based applications are already available both in Android and iOS platform.
- The Technology used in AR combines Hardware, Software and Web server.
- Two approaches, named as Marker-based and Location-based have used in AR-based applications.
- Types of Augmented reality can be explained as Marker-based, Location-based, Projection-based, Outline type and Superimposition-based.
- Augmented reality is the real world enhanced with virtual objects where as Virtual reality is completely a virtual world.
- Augmented reality is not a new technology. Due to recent growth in Digital marketing, companies and software developers have started to develop AR-based Hardware and applications.
That’s all from my side. I hope while learning some interesting facts about Augmented reality, you have enjoyed my blog. Furthermore, in comment section, let me know what you have liked most. If you like the post, please share it with your friends to spread the awareness about AR. Also, subscribe to my website and stay updated with Augmented Reality technology. Additionally, visit my Facebook page and do follow @Augrealitypedia on Twitter.
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