TechDogs-"Augmented Reality": Behind The Scenes Of Digital Magic

Emerging Technology

Augmented Reality: Behind The Scenes Of Digital Magic

By TechDogs

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Did you know that Pokémon Go and your Instagram face filters are powered by Augmented Reality? In fact, if like most of us your phone is an extension of your arm, then you are interacting with Augmented Reality daily, without even being aware of it. Join us as we introduce you to Augmented Reality (AR), share with you all the bits and bobs that make it, what it is and fascinate you with some of its more innovative and interesting applications. Shall we?
TechDogs-Reality Can Be whatever You Want-"Augmented Reality"

If you were shocked to see Pikachu for the first time right there with you in your favorite cafe and went on to wonder if your server had doctored the coffee you were sipping on, then you already know how Augmented Reality can zap you speechless. As the theme song of Pokémon "be the very best, like no one ever wa-a-as," it is possibly the best example of Augmented Reality.

However, that's not it - you interact with AR almost every day when you use your Snapchat and Instagram filters. That's right, the dog ears and the 'Roast Me' jumbotron that data gets attached to your face all happen because of this cool mixed reality technology. Impressed? So were we! This article takes you on a journey where you learn what AR is, how it works, its major elements and where it's going. Let's get started.

The Truth Behind Augmented Reality And How It Works

The meaning of Augmented Reality (AR) is not as technical as it seems. The word 'Augmenting' means to make (something) greater by adding to it. AR application follows the same principle and adds a digital element over real elements to make it larger than life. (Backstreet Boys sing it with me; "and that's what makes you larger than life!") What kind of elements, you ask? Real elements from our day-to-day life such as flowers, your pet dog, or even the Statue of Liberty! In Snapchat's famous dog filter, the dog ears were the digital element that 'augmented' the real element, which in this case will be your face.

Being a creative technology, Augmented Reality has no boundaries. It's as boundless as your imagination. It allows you to place any digital interaction on any real-world object - hence the Pokémon in your favorite cafe. It's not all just fun and games. AR has also found its way into a lot of industrial applications, which we'll see in a short while.

Fun stuff, right? Let’s begin with how it all began.

Back When Someone Asked What’s Real – The Debut Of AR

TechDogs-The Debut Of Augmented Reality-Introduction Of Augmented Reality "Tech Development"source

Although the term 'Augmented Reality' was coined in 1990 by Tom Caudell, a Boeing researcher, the first real instance of 'more than real' happened in 1968. Remember Thanos saying, "Reality can be whatever I want."? Professor Ivan Sutherland thought of that too. Since he didn't have the reality stones with him, he turned to science and invented the first Head-Mounted Display (HMD).

As the name suggests, Head-Mounted Displays are devices that you wear on your head, with a screen or a lens through which you can see the outer world. Usually, this screen has additional graphics that appear to be overlaid on real-world objects - hence augmenting the reality. The issue with the first HMD was that it looked like a helmet that broke up with its fiancée and jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge - it wasn't the most eye-pleasing tech gear. Over time, many industries started using AR to create interactive experiences, especially the entertainment industry - ever noticed the yellow line on the field to mark where the team advanced to get the first touchdown? NFL made use of AR to draw that line all the way back in 1998.

Even today AR technology is used by most soccer broadcasters to trace the path of Messi's shot and the height of Ronaldo's jump - all in real-time. To bring you up to speed, the ugly helmets have also evolved into classy-looking AR glasses. That's how much AR has grown since its birth. It has evolved, as a result, into many distinct kinds, based on the type of AR experience being delivered.

Are There Types Of Augmented Reality?

Absolutely! AR has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. A lot of research and development has gone into this technology. Here we have classified AR types based on how the AR experience is triggered.

Marker-based AR: In Marker-based AR, the AR experience is triggered once the device detects some sort of a pre-defined marker in the real world. For example, let's say that we have an AR filter that will show a 3D thumbs-up emoji every time it spots an "X" in the real world. This marker can be anywhere, a piece of paper, the wall, the floor, or even your forehead. Every time the device spots the marker, it will trigger the required AR action, such as playing an animation or any other task. Think of Google Lens that can show you related products on the net when you point it at something (just one feature amongst many). Here, the marker can be thought of as the product you point your smartphone camera at, like a shirt or a car.
Marker-less AR: You would've figured out where we're going with this. In marker-less AR, the device doesn't look for a specific marker; instead, it places the AR interaction at a spot picked randomly in the real world. This type of AR uses 3D object tracking technologies to figure out how the object should appear concerning the device's position.

The tech folks at Ikea have done something cool with this technology. They created an app where you can digitally place a piece of furniture in your room and see how it would look and feel when you buy it. If you think about it, this type of tech would have really helped Ross and Chandler move the couch and would have resulted in a lot less real-life, "PIVOT! PIVOT!"
Location-based AR: Location-based AR works by placing the augmentation to a specific place in your surrounding geography. A relatable example of a location-based AR would be the Live View feature in Google Maps, which shows you directions to your destination by augmenting the signboards and the arrows on real-world objects such as the walls of buildings and the pavement.
Superimposition AR: Imagine that you want to buy new window blinds but are not sure about what color blinds would best complement the windows and the rest of the room. Imagine, like the IKEA app, there's this fantastic AR app with smart glasses that could help you with that. How would it work, you ask? All we would have to do is simply point our smartphones at the blinds. The augmented reality technology overlays the new color over the old one and allows you to see how the color of the blinds would complement the color of the wall. #HomeRenoMadeEasy . This is the magic of Superimposition AR - the augmenting is done by superimposing the digital 3d model experience on top of some real-world object.

Is AR Changing The World?

TechDogs-Is Augmented Reality Changing The World?-Screenshot Of The Game-"Pokemon GO"-Augmented Reality Is About To Transform Your World

Even though we're still only scratching the surface of this remarkable technology, it would be an understatement to say that AR headsets, as well as virtual reality, has improved our lives for the better. It hasn't just enhanced things around us, it has and still is changing the face of some industries forever, prime example google glass. One of the lucky lots is the manufacturing industry. 3D modeling using digital content and augmented reality app has allowed manufacturers to perfect and improve the mobile device design of their parts and equipment because of better understandability and visibility. This means that there are fewer errors in mass production and fewer design changes, all leading to happy customers and soaring profits. Another domain where AR device and 3D modeling have worked their magic is education. We all know there are 206 bones in our body. With AR, we can see all of them - up close, right in front of our eyes. Want to learn how to label all the 50 states in the US? Use AR to see a model of the map.

The fashion industry is another trade that has benefitted tremendously from Augmented Reality. Zara launched a mobile AR solution app, which when focused on their designated 'Experience the look' markers around their stores can show you animations of models flaunting fashionable apparel - you can see the way it fits and flows. Like we mentioned before, AR knows no bounds, you can go as far as your imagination takes you. With powerful mobile devices being readily available to the public, Augmented Reality applications with digital information has easily touched the lives of millions and it will only grow in its reach. 

AR has undoubtedly opened a big door of possibilities. The technology has already found its way into the daily operations at the Singapore airport, where the workers use AR glasses to see the details of the cargo containers, which helps them to load the cargo quickly. Imagine if you could watch the next Super Bowl by augmenting the whole field on your coffee table. Or think about a digital Halloween party where you can be anyone you want; all you have to do is download the digital version of Dracula onto yourself!

Gotta go now, Charizard is learning how to roast marshmallows.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Augmented Reality (AR) and how does it work?

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes digital elements onto the real world, enhancing it with additional information or interactions. This is achieved by utilizing devices such as smartphones, tablets, or specialized AR glasses equipped with cameras and sensors. AR applications detect real-world objects or markers and overlay digital content onto them, creating an augmented experience. For example, popular AR applications like Snapchat and Instagram filters add digital effects such as animal ears or virtual backgrounds to users' faces in real-time, enhancing their photos or videos.

How is Augmented Reality (AR) impacting various industries and everyday life?

Augmented Reality (AR) is revolutionizing various industries and transforming everyday experiences in numerous ways. In industries such as manufacturing, AR technologies are used for tasks like 3D modeling and equipment maintenance, leading to increased efficiency, reduced errors, and improved customer satisfaction. In education, AR enables immersive learning experiences by visualizing complex concepts and providing interactive simulations. The fashion industry utilizes AR for virtual try-on experiences, allowing customers to preview clothing items before purchase. Additionally, AR is being integrated into navigation systems, gaming, healthcare, and entertainment, expanding its applications and impact across diverse sectors. As AR technology continues to evolve and become more accessible, its potential to enhance productivity, creativity, and engagement in various fields is increasingly realized.

What are the different types of Augmented Reality experiences?

Augmented Reality comes in various types based on how the AR experience is triggered. One type is Marker-based AR, where an AR experience is triggered when a device detects a pre-defined marker in the real world, such as a specific image or symbol. Marker-less AR, on the other hand, doesn't rely on a specific marker; it randomly places AR interactions in the real world using 3D object tracking technologies. Location-based AR associates the augmentation with a specific location in the surrounding geography, while Superimposition AR overlays digital 3D models on top of real-world objects, allowing users to visualize changes or additions.

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