Augmented Reality (AR) is taking digital or computer generated information, whether it be images, audio, video, 3D models and overlaying them over in a real-time environment or real world. Augmented Reality technically can be used to enhance all five senses, but its most common present-day use is visual. Unlike Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality allows the user to see the real world, with virtual objects superimposed upon or composited with the real world. Therefore, AR supplements reality, rather than completely replacing it. Augmented Reality can be thought of as the blend, or the “middle ground” between the completely synthetic and the completely real.
Building on the basic definition and descriptions of AR’s capabilities let us expand a bit further and outline the three characteristics that need to be present for true:
1. AR combines real and virtual information.
2. AR is interactive in real time.
3. AR operates and is used in a 3D environment.
Augmented Reality really allows for information to be presented visually that the user would not otherwise be able to detect. Just as there are millions of bits of information being transmitted all around us right now on some wireless frequency or another, we as people would be totally unaware of it without the mobile phones, tablets, and laptops that allow us to effectively channel the information. Much like other graphical interfaces, gives us the ability to bring usable information into the visual spectrum in real time wherever we are. Augmented Reality is not just one technology. It is the combination of several technologies that work together to bring digital information in visual perception. AR is a highly compelling, virtually endless, collection of technology-assisted experiences that helps create the real-time Web.
As Gene Becker of Lightning Laboratories puts it, Augmented Reality is:
– a technology.
– a field of research.
– a vision of future computing.
– an emerging commercial industry.
– a new medium for creative expression.
Reference: “Augmented Reality, An Emerging Technologies Guide to AR“.