Augmented reality-Everything about AR

Augmented Reality (AR)

Mankind have always had dreams to see beyond that can be seen with our naked eyes. We wanted to see the stars since we started gazing at them. So we built telescopes. We were curious to know what is beyond the smallest. So we built microscopes. Now we want to dream with open eyes. So we are using augmented reality.


 Augmented Reality
Image courtesy to Layar

1. What is Augmented Reality

We can define the Augmented Reality as a demonstration of computer generated virtual characters/object on a live view of the real world.

If we go for a technical definition, we can consider the definition offered by Ronald T Azuma in his 'Survey of Augmented reality' in 1997 that is, " Augmented Reality is about augmenting the real world environment with virtual information by improving people's senses and skills. There are three common characteristics of AR scenes: the combination of real world environment with computer characters, interactive scenes and scenes in 3D".

The truth is, we already know what Augmented Reality is, we just might not know it is called the Augmented Reality. A more general and familiar example for augmented reality we all can understand is, the score board  displayed on television screen when we watch sports and games. In cricket or football live telecasts, we can see the replay usually uses a graphical line that demonstrate the path of the ball. It is a composite view that is the combination of real world view and a virtual graphical line generated by a computer. It is Augmented Reality.

Augmented reality example image

Augmented Reality can be considered as an extension of Virtual Reality (VR). But the key difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality  is, Augmented Reality embeds virtual objects into real world contexts where Virtual Reality replaces the physical world by creating an artificial environment using computer hardware and software that mimics real world analogues.

There are many types of Augmented Reality based on where and how we use it. Generally we can divide into two types.


a. Mobile Augmented Reality 


Mobile Augmented Reality
Because of the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets, Mobile Augmented Reality is being widely used than ever before. Applications which use the mobile Augmented Reality usually take advantages of device's GPS and Compass features.

Some of the popular mobile Augmented Reality applications generally use these techniques: They use the devices' GPS feature to find the location of the user, find information from the web and display theses information as texts/ images by integrating it to the live view of the real world using the device's camera.

Some other Augmented Reality applications use the device's camera for image recognition and analysis, and embeds virtual objects.
Image courtesy to Culture Clic




b. Desktop Augmented Reality

Desktop Augmented Reality

Desktop Augmented Reality usually takes advantage of a webcam to recognize the objects in the real world and embeds virtual objects to give a Augmented Reality experience to the user.





3. Where Augmented Reality is used?

Augmented Reality has been put to use in a number of fields including military, medical, industrial, architectural, training and entertainment, etc.

Military and training: It's been years Computer Vision (CV) is used in military training programs. 

Advanced Search and real time information : Augmented Reality can be used in advanced searching as we have seen above in the mobile Augmented Reality technique. Using the GPS feature of the mobile devices' and the advantage of internet, user can get information in real time by embedding texts/images in to the camera view.

Related Topics
* Top iPhone applications using augmented reality
* Free augmented reality iPhone app source codes

Hi, This website is not yet completed. I am writing on this topic on a daily basis. I will add more details, free application source codes, learning materials, other reference websites, videos, etc soon. Please visit often for updated information. Thanks.