Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

What is Augmented Reality (AR)? AR as it is otherwise known is a type of interactive, reality-based display environment that takes the capabilities of computer generated display, sound, text and effects to enhance the user's real-world experience.

Augmented reality combines real world and computer-based scenes and images to deliver a unified but enhanced view of the world.

Its primary objective is to provide a rich audiovisual experience and it works by employing computerised simulation and techniques such as image and speech recognition, animation, head-mounted and hand-held devices and powered display environments to add a virtual display on top of real images and surroundings.

This achieved by, superimposing video, graphics, sound and other elements on real world things and as the name suggests, it aims to enhance the world around us and make it more interesting, put another way, to create a virtual reality.

With the increasing use of mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones and availability of various mobile and/oriPhone apps, it's difficult not to take notice of the increasing possibility for this technology.

What is exciting about the latest incarnations of augmented reality is that it is no longer confined to the computer or television screen. It can now be used anywhere from atop your dining table to the Great Wall of China. Indeed, the whole world is now a platform for augmented reality.

This means that you can be looking up at a building, then whip out your Smartphone and check out information on what offices, restaurants and shops are inside the structure.

With the increasing use of smartphones and the increasing availability of mobile apps that feature augmented reality, it's difficult not to take notice of this technology's growing potential.  Many website designers and developers are now coming up with various uses for what in the past, was mostly just a “cool application” and not necessarily a useful one. That's why mobile, media, computing and gaming companies, among others, are jumping on the augmented reality bandwagon.

Although, once relegated to entertainment, AR is increasingly being used for marketing development and education. It's probably a great fit, because if this technology does anything, it gets people's attention and makes things more interesting.

Take for instance the Layar mobile app, which allows users to interact with printed publications like magazines, essentially bringing them to life by allowing users to share content over social media, buy the products featured and interact with the content in a number of other ways. As our lives become increasingly digitised, this type of integration is becoming ever more important.

An early example of how AR has changed marketing. is Lego's use of augmented reality, where the company showed people how its lego sets would look when built.

Other applications make still and inanimate objects come to life. You can just train your phone camera on an augmented reality-enabled product and make that product “come to life” with graphics and videos. For retailers, this can be a way to show how a product can be used and advertise its features in real time.

A mobile site isn't even a prerequisite,  just launch an AR application, point a camera at a product and AR could point out a video to watch, or ask potential customers to sign up for the company's newsletter or visit its website.

AR is also being used in education, to create learning experiences that are more immersive and interactive. Imagine being able to see the anatomy inside your own body, rather than trying to discover it in a textbook!

As you can see, there are a lot of applications for augmented reality technology. It is just a matter of how creative you can be and how much access you have to the materials and audiovisual elements you need.

So What's the Big Deal With AR? It is sure to revolutionise how people use mobile devices. In fact, it could change the game as much as touch screens and Internet connectivity did. It will also make it easier for people to search for content, replacing typing and speaking as a way of obtaining some types of information.

Although, augmented reality may still seem like science fiction, it's quickly becoming science fact. It certainly going to add a new dimension of reality to the world and we see it. 

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