Augmented Reality Defined
To augment is to enhance or add something. Therefore, augmented reality refers to the process of adding touch feedback, sound, and graphics into our physical environment. Computer-generated images are superimposed on a user’s real-world views by utilizing complex algorithms to map and identify objects in the natural environment.
Wait, doesn’t this sound similar to Virtual Reality (VR)? Although AR and VR are based on similar concepts, the latter creates an entirely new and immersive reality rather than overlays over the natural environment – everything you hear and see is simulated. The Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift headsets are some examples of VR devices.
How Augmented Reality Works
Augmented reality technology is not as complex as it sounds. It can be simplified into the basic computing interaction of input-processing-output.
- Input: Cameras and Sensors
The process of ‘augmenting’ reality starts with capturing and gathering data (depth, tilt, position, acceleration etc.) from the natural environment with cameras and sensors. Typically, real-time data is captured using your mobile device’s built-in camera or advanced devices such as Microsoft’s Holo Lens. After gathering the user’s interactions in the real world, the sensors transmit the data for processing and interpretation.
Your mobile phone and AR devices are basically small computers. They contain a global positioning system (GPS), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth microchip, RAM, flash memory, a GPU, a CPU, or even magnetometer (compass direction), gyroscope (tilt and orientation), and an accelerometer (speed). These components enable the devices to analyze and process the real-world input.
- Output: Projection
After information from the natural world is captured and analyzed, the AR device projects digital renderings (virtual output) onto the scene. These projections may display directly onto surfaces, multiple screens within a headset, or your smartphone screen.
In the example of mobile games and apps, the device’s camera is used to locate objects in the natural world, and transmit them to the application for processing. The application then overlays virtual content on top to provide interactive animations or information.
What we Offer
Although augmented reality technologies may be new and even confusing to understand, our highly experienced team is always willing to offer friendly advice to anyone who is interested in AR.