Augmented reality (AR) and its possibilities

Augmented reality (AR) and its possibilities

Augmented reality (AR) and its possibilities

Our world has been divided into different realms of realities, digitalization in piecemeal is bringing us to a time where we can hardly define what is real and what is not. I would say we can savor the numerous benefits these realities can afford us in the present day but we would have failed if we do not mention that there might be the negative consequential side to these modern day inventions.

One of the so many words finding its popularity in this digital train is “Augmented Reality”. You might have heard of digital reality which is a reality where you are completely immersed in a digital space with the aid of digital head set; a kind of digital glasses, losing absolute consciousness of the real world. Virtual Reality also creates a completely synthetic virtual world within a headset. As the user, you are placed inside a 3D environment where you can then move around and interact with completely computer-generated elements.

 You can read more about Virtual Reality (VR) at Virtual Reality; A fantasy comes to life.  But unlike Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) is not completely immersive; you will still be in touch with the real world while holograms, annotations and digital images will appear to you in the real world. Augmented Reality is a technology that overlays 3D computer generated images in real time.

One of the closest to AR is the Snapchat Application where the user while taking a picture will have various effects appear on their faces, such as the ear of a cat, the mouth of a pig.  There is a digital modification of your face by the application. Augmented reality uses existing reality and physical objects to trigger computer-generated enhancements over the top of reality, in real time.

AR is an innovation that helps you see  a wild range of realities right in front of you, you can see a watch appear on your wrist, you can put on goggles and see that room you know arranged with a whole lot of fancy tables, new television set, beautiful couches and your dream carpet lying right there on the floor, the most thrilling part being that you can pick up each one and change the arrangement until it suits to your taste.  You can enter a fashion shop, just viewing the digital mirror; you can click on new outfits while you watch yourself in the mirror changing from any outfit you desire to click upon without really wearing them. There are many dimensions of possibility this technology opens up and we might not be able to go through all of them but at least you now have an idea of what this spectacular Technology Augmented Reality is all about.

The very early applications of AR can be traced back to the HUD’s that is the Heads-up-display. This technology was used in military airplanes and war tanks in which the instrument type information is projected onto the same cockpit canopy and with this, crew members can see clearly the external surroundings.

Also in the mid-1990s, a television broadcasting channel; Fox Broadcasting Company (FBC) showed where the yellow first-down stripes superimposed on television images of American gridiron football fields and the virtual paths added to help television viewers track the paths of hockey pucks.

What will be considered as the most famous example of Augmented Reality (AR) is a game which was released in the year 2016 called the Pokémon Go. In the game, the players are to locate Pokémon characters that pop up in real world-on; your sidewalk, in a fountain and even in the bathroom. You can watch the videos of this game on the YouTube.

In a short summary Augment Reality tend to add digital elements for you to view them life from a physical standpoint while Virtual Reality operates by drawing you completely into a digital space where you can interact with digital projections losing, awareness of the physical world. There are also other forms of realities like the Mixed Reality (MR) and Extended Realty(ER).

Like the Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality functions with a headset and also digital devices which include but not limited to tablets, smart phones, personal computers and so on. These devices must have built in or installed software that trigger digital displays onto physical objects.

Augmented Reality are sometimes classified into two major types

They are known as the Marker Based Augmented Reality and the Marker-less Augmented Reality.

1. Marker-based Augmented Reality (MBAR): This AR makes use of image recognition to identify objects that have been preprogrammed into your AR device or app.

Its working pattern is as such; firstly, the camera feed is switched to grayscale to speed up processing time. When it detects a marker, the device compares the information from the marker with all the markers in its brain. Once it finds a match, it uses the marker’s information to mathematically determine the pose and it then displays the AR image at the exact right place.

For instance let’s assume you’re in a market for, I don’t know maybe can foods, by pointing your camera to a specific can food, every detail about the can food is revealed to you.

2. Markerless Augmented Reality (MAR):  This form of AR is considered to be more sophisticated. Markerless means that nothing has been preprogrammed into your device, it has to recognize items on the fly. The recognition algorithm in your device looks for patterns, colors, or other features that might trigger it.

Let’s take the popular mobile game Pokémon Go mentioned initially in this blog as an example. The incredibly popular game tracks your location via GPS, then uses geographic data and your phone’s clock to choose when and where to have Pokémon characters appear. For example, if you’re walking by a river in the daytime, you might see a water-loving creature. If you’re out at night, chances are you’ll spot a fairy or other nocturnal type. The game uses your phone’s GPS, accelerometer, and compass to orient itself and then it uses the camera to overlay an image of a Pokémon Go character within your real-life environment.

 At present Augmented Reality has found Usage in many platforms and sectors which include.

1. Gaming: Augmented Reality is probably best known for its application within the gaming platform. The Pokémon Go game integrates the visual and audio of computer games with the users’ environment in real time hence giving the player the very best satisfaction of a 3D game. There are other games that have made use of AR in bringing ultimate gaming experience like the walking dead game now has an AR version. The players can walk around and kill scary zombies in real life. Same way the Pokémon Go game works, how many zombies you will run into will be subject to different factors and one being your geographical location in real time. Other games include The Jurassic World Alive, Harry Potter: wizard Unite, Ingress Prime and many of them.

2. Building Constructions

Architects are experimenting with different augmented reality apps and software. These apps are mainly used to build 3D virtual building models which can be experienced from the interior and exterior using an AR headset.  

But unlike virtual reality, Augmented Reality permits architects to project digital information onto physical scale models. From a commercial perspective, architectural firms can sell and present building projects using AR to digitally create a 3D model of floor maps and brochures.

3. Medicine:

Doctors who perform surgeries in delicate parts of the body like the neurosurgeons leverage Augmented Reality Projection of a Three Dimensional brain to help them in surgeries. With the aid of 3-D projections of spines, bones and joints, orthopedic doctors have been able to perform successful surgeries.

4. Sales Display:

Most sellers use AR to display what a product will look like when you buy it, you can really have a demo to check if it suits your taste. An example is the furniture and house-wares giant IKEA which offers an Augmented Reality app known as IKEA place. With this app you can see how a piece of furniture will suite your sitting room or any place you deem necessary to have the furniture. Also, most fashion shops give you a demo of how a cloth will fit you; Using Augmented reality, the cloth is projected digitally on your body for you to see before the act of purchasing; With this you are sure to be satisfied with your purchase rather than getting home to realize that a clothing or furniture you spent millions to buy doesn’t fit.

5. Education:

 AR is finding its way into curriculum to enhance traditional learning methods. For example, textbooks can be marked with codes that, when scanned by a smartphone, can display additional content or 3D visualizations.

6. Mapping and navigation: The business directory app “Yelp” was an early adopter of AR with its now-discontinued Monocle feature. Monocle overlaid information about local businesses when viewing the immediate surrounding on your phone's display. Callouts showed where nearby restaurants were located along with basic information such as how far away they were.

You should also know that at historical sites like Pompeii in Italy, Augmented Reality is used to project views of ancient civilizations over today’s ruins hence bringing the legends of the past back to life in the present day.

One might be tempted to ask; with the present of Augmented Reality being absolutely interesting and thrilling, what will be its likely future.

In our previous blog we told of how Mark Zuckerberg pulls off another wonder as Facebook launches a modern day smart glass which offers so many possibilities and also Apple is making an offer to produce its headset and smart glasses. Also the introduction of the 5G network will go a long way in making it easy to pull up a programs and interactions form anywhere in the world within seconds.

In the future, chances are that we are likely to see Augmented Reality become just a part of an office work space.

Facebook we all know introduced in the recent times a VR office Software Horizon Workroom.  AR technology could allow people to stay connected as though they are working in the same space without leaving their homes.

AR has shown that it is on a mission to transforming the traditional medical sector. It will in the nearest future improve telemedicine solutions which are on the rise. Some features such as drawing and annotating on the 3D screen can make communications between doctors and patients much easier and clearer.

In the aspect of shopping, AR in the future can aid buyers in store mapping. With AR, onscreen directions a user can easily navigate the layout of the store to find item that they came to purchase.

Augmented Reality can also aid us escape the monotony and most time inefficiency of video conference call as we navigate towards a 3-D video call assistance. AR can allow IT technicians to guide users with 3D on-screen directions. As the user holds their smartphone camera up to their computer, in need of service, the IT technician can draw over the screen to direct the user to certain point of interest.

I believe it is right bringing this article to a close by making you understand that as awesome as the technology may appear it has its own cons.

1. Privacy assault:

There are some AR gadgets designed to capture the surroundings in real-time. Users make use of such gadgets capturing images of people, their surrounding without their awareness hence bringing a question of how to make the usage of AR more responsible.


2. Addiction:

 AR is immersive though not totally like  virtual reality and this makes the users glued to it for many hours most times without remembering food. this can result to several health issues hence there should be a devised means of control.

3. Prone to accident:

Sometimes the user loses consciousness of his/her environment and the result is a disaster in real life.

There are still lots of disadvantages of AR but that notwithstanding, this technology is drawing us to what the a novelist might call “the best of times”

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