Will we all run around with data glasses to retrieve digital information about real objects anytime, anywhere? What you see under Augmented Reality (AR) and where it is used, read this article.
Under Augmented Reality (AR) – extended reality – is generally understood as the attachment of digital information to objects in the real world – in contrast to the virtual reality (VR), which takes place completely in the virtual space, comparable to a holodeck in a pair of glasses , AR is an application area of ”computer vision”, the science that teaches computers the “seeing”. Research has been working on AR since 1980. One of the pioneers was, among others, Steve Mann, who developed the first portable display, to mix virtual text and graphic overlays with reality. Steve Mann came to the media as a “cyborg” in 2012 when an employee in a fast food restaurant tried to tear his headset off his head.
AR, MR, VR and AV
The concepts of augmented reality, mixed reality, virtual reality and augmented virtuality are often interpreted quite freely, although there is a clear definition.
Mixed Reality encompasses the entire “reality-virtual continuum” to the exclusion of real reality and pure virtuality (VR).
With Augmented Reality the reality is in the foreground and is supplemented by digital information or inserts.
Augmented Virtuality describes applications where the user, for example, has a VR headset for playing, but still perceives information from the real world, for example other persons in the room, via a microphone.
The application possibilities are wide. The Pokémon Go game, for example, allows players to gather thousands of virtual creatures placed in the real world to get into the game. With Snapchat, users can try animated masks and create funny photos or videos.
Slowly, the technology is also applied in the cultural field. For example, additional information on exhibition items is displayed in museums and the corresponding audio guide starts as soon as the visitor is in front of the exhibit.
Similarly, this can also be implemented for tourists in cities that have an virtual Tourguide to their side via an app. For the town of Monheim, the Wappentier, a goose, plays this role.
Above all, Augmented Reality is used in wide areas of the economy, for instance for the digital setting up of rooms by means of a tablet or smartphone. A digital fitting of jewelery, makeup or sunglasses is already possible with face recognition.
Sellers use the technology to place air conditioners or other installations directly at the customer ‘s home, thus facilitating the purchase decision.
In the B2B sector, Augmented Reality is used primarily in the industry to present products at trade fairs, to facilitate the maintenance and training by means of animated instructions on the real product, or to place production machines virtually in the factory floor in order to make optimum use of available space , The application possibilities are almost endless here and can save the company a lot of money in the case of the correct application.
In the future, all users of digital media will come into contact with this technology, as AR will usher in a new age of digital consumption. The habit of staring all day at a glass pane like the PC monitor or smartphone is replaced by the possibility to use the entire room around the user as a desktop and to be able to attach any number of digital screens to the real world.
One of the first attempts to launch this new era is Microsoft’s Hololens, a headset that continuously scans the space to place virtual content in it. The operating system is a modified version of Windows.
In the future, this technology will be contained in normal eyeglass frames, possibly also in contact lenses or even implanted chips, which will directly transmit the information into the optic nerve – which will raise not only technological but also ethical questions.