Augmented reality technology has gained widespread popularity around the world in recent years.
Augmented reality technology combines real and virtual objects and allows the interaction between the real world and virtual world. 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.
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There is some equipment that is needed to create an augmented reality system. This includes:
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.
Uses 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.
With the rapid technological developments in the mobile industry, augmented reality technology has become more available to users, and has spread even further and to more people around the world.
Augmented Reality 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 importance 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.
There are many applications of augmented reality in education. Here are a few examples:
1- Education by adding graphics, videos, and audio to a textbook.
2- Identify the different tourist attractions and knowing more information about them when seeing them directly, rather than reading information through books.
3- Understand chemistry better by seeing the molecules, atoms, the fusion and disintegration that occur between them easily.
4- Seeing the educational lessons in a three-dimensional format and moving this three-dimensional model by moving the book in front of the mobile device’s camera.
The difference between virtual reality and augmented reality:
Although virtual reality technology is more expensive than augmented reality technology, 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.
Augmented reality technology is less expensive than virtual reality as it uses the real world and adds simple virtual objects.