Augmented reality technology has gained widespread popularity around the world in recent years and has many applications. So, what is augmented reality (AG)?
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What is augmented reality (AG)?
Augmented reality is the technology combines real and virtual objects and allows the interaction between the real world and virtual world. It overlays information and virtual objects on real-world scenes in real-time. It uses the existing environment and adds information to it to make a new artificial environment. It enables users to perceive the real world around them and incorporate virtual objects that suit the purpose for which it’s being used, in contrast to virtual reality technology, which only allows users to interact with virtual reality.
There are many virtual objects that can be used in augmented reality technology, including books, pictures, video clips, audio recordings, 3D models and animations. Augmented reality technology combines these virtual objects with the real environment surrounding the user.
What you need to create an augmented reality system
There is some equipment that is needed to create an augmented reality system like:
1- Cameras to capture live images from the real environment surrounding the user to combines them with the virtual objects.
2- Large memory to store the virtual objects used in the application.
3- Powerful data processor to process both real and virtual objects and to display the 3D virtual environment.
4- A mediator to enable the user to interact with both virtual and real environment.
This equipment is a key element of the augmented reality technology, but some other technological applications can be used to enhance the augmented reality. These applications include:
1- GPS technology that enables the device to use the user’s real location.
2- Image recognition programs that enable the device to integrate the real-world image with the virtual-world.
3- A sound system that enables the user to play recorded sounds to provide a stronger integration between real and virtual reality.
4- Internet connection that enables the user to surf the internet while using the augmented reality system.
Applications of augmented reality
Augmented reality has been widely used since 1990 in various fields, such as medical, manufacturing, and aerospace. It has also been used in robotics, entertainment, and tourism. Social media and education have also been exploiting the advantages and benefits of augmented reality. Augmented reality technology provides helps the user complete difficult tasks which can pose danger when they are carried out in the real world, such as learning to drive a car, pilot-training, astronaut training, and surgery-training.
Now we will discuss some examples of AG applications :-
1- In healthcare
There are some incredibly exciting applications for augmented reality in healthcare from allowing medical students to train in AR environments to telemedicine options that enable medical professionals to interact with patients. In critical situations, augmented reality applications can deliver real-time information to the treatment area to support diagnosis, surgery and treatment plans.
For example, AccuVein is a device that can scan the vein network of a patient. AccuVein’s vein viewing system is the world’s first handheld, non-contact vein illumination solution. Vein illumination with the device, allows health care professionals to see a map of peripheral veins on the skin’s surface with the goal of improving venipuncture, the most commonly performed invasive medical procedure, and other vascular access procedures.
2- In Education
We have always read abstract information and theories in our textbooks. Pictures, illustrations, videos, and three-dimensional visuals could have helped us understand the text we read better and interact the information. We often visit geographical, geological, and historical sites wanting to know more. Watching pictures or documentaries about those areas and what they contain is now possible.
All you need is your mobile phone and a book that supports augmented reality technology. Once you have directed the camera towards the book, you can see the pictures in front of you. You can also watch the videos and media included in the book. Some books will provide characters who appear outside the book as soon as the mobile phone camera is directed at him/her.
The useful of augmented reality in education
can be summed up in the following points:-
1- Gain knowledge about how to use computer and portable devices.
2- Increase teacher efficiency in education.
3- Motivate students to participate in the lesson.
4- Add a new dimension to teaching concepts compared to other teaching methods.
5- Increase educational effectiveness in cooperative and experiential learning processes.
6- The teacher will gain the knowledge and skills to use this technique.
7- Bridging the gap between theoretical and applied education and focusing on how the real and virtual world can be combined to achieve the various objectives and requirements of e-learning.
8- Students who are absent from attending classes can follow up on lessons from home, without the presence of the teacher.
Arloon Geometry which is a fascinating way to discover the world of geometry. This app features 3D models with Augmented Reality for most geometric shapes. By directly interacting with the figures, students will improve their spatial visualization.
3- Television broadcasts
AR is becoming ever more common on TV, especially in weather broadcasts. It is perfectly suited for this kind of application and really brings some subjects to life for the general public.
4- Interior design and modeling
AR can help professionals visualize their final designs with ease during the planning phase. They can even take virtual tours within their designs using headsets, and tinker with the design in a fully immersive environment. This can even be expanded to city planners who can model entire city layouts and go for a tour.
5- Gaming and Fun
Rather than increase sales, sometimes augmented reality is just created for fun or to engage with customers such as Pokémon GO. From gaming to construction to AR in browsers that provide detail for what the camera displays, augmented reality apps are being developed at a rapid pace to enhance many industries. As additional ideas get developed, we can expect augmented reality applications to touch many more aspects of our lives.
The Difference between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of an alternate world or reality, and is primarily used in 3D movies and in video games. Virtual reality creates simulations—meant to shut out the real world and envelope or “immerse” the viewer—using computers and sensory equipment such as headsets and gloves. Apart from games and entertainment, virtual reality has also long been used in training, education, and science. Today’s VR can make people feel they’re walking through a forest or performing an industrial procedure, but it almost always requires special equipment such as bulky headsets to have the experience.
Both technologies typically respond to real-time changes, such as how a person moves. Thus, the technologies need extremely low latency to work seamlessly for users. Additionally, VR and AR seek to give people experiences that are not possible to achieve quickly in the real world alone.
Although virtual reality technology is more expensive than augmented reality technology (Augmented reality technology is less expensive than virtual reality as it uses the real world and adds simple virtual objects), virtual reality technology is better in watching documentaries, educational and games than enhanced reality technology. It separates the user completely from the reality surrounding him, which makes his focus entirely in the virtual world.
For more information about virtual reality, read our blog Virtual Reality: It’s Past, Present and Future