Augmented reality (AR) is a view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with virtual computer-generated imagery . AR, originally coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, like for example sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally usable. This post will explore the applications and possibilities of such a (AR) reality.
The internet is now going to be smeared all over everything, everywhere you go information is turned inside out and in the very near future it’ll be worse. Augmented Reality is in some ways just another version of the web; a web applied, through novel interfaces.
How AR works
Emerging AR applications use two basic approaches:
In one, users hold up a specially coded sheet (which they can print) in front of a webcam or video camera and computer monitor.
Digital encoding is translated and displayed in a moving, 3D holographic form that can be rotated and otherwise manipulated.
The second, and perhaps hotter, way uses an iPhone 3GS, Google Android or similar new smart device to view the physical environment, say a city street or subway station.
Multiple layers of information are then overlaid on the phone’s screen, providing specific information about everything from available real estate, nearby bars and restaurants – even the identity and background of passersby.
Current uses of AR
1. Magazine cover/tech explainer: Popular Science and GE
Last month, PopSci and partner GE claimed to publish the first interactive 3D cover magazine cover. Three windmills pop off the page, build themselves and start twirling.
2. Interactive card and Website: Topps
Every kid’s dream – favorite stars come to life right on the card! Collector giant Topps does just that, using AR on select Topps 2009 baseball cards. Stars pitch, field and bat in 3D – like a mini video game on your desk.
3. e-tail: Zugara
For all its convenience, online clothes shopping frustrates in one key area: seeing how merchandise looks being worn. Similarly, online merchants fret about low browser/buyer ratios.
Enter online retailer Zugara, whose “Webcam Social Shopper” app lets users select clothes, print a special ”marker” app and “hold” up articles of clothing up in front of themselves as it tracks their movements.
I found a website that has 35 AR examples. I think these examples which I have given can be used in SA, especially since the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held here.
In the near future marketers may consider using AR to promote a new product via an interactive, web-based AR application. In the medical field AR may assist in complex tasks such as surgery.
For example, labels can be displayed on parts of a system to clarify operating instructions for a mechanic who is performing maintenance on the system. A doctor could observe the fetus inside the mother’s womb. This is to be characterised as Mixed reality.
In the architecture industry AR can augment be employed to virtually resurrect destroyed historic buildings as well as simulate planned construction projects.
With AR, users can rebuild ruins, buildings, or even landscapes as they previously existed. Combined with a wireless network, the amount of data displayed is limitless.
The effectiveness of navigation devices and enhance for the purpose of maintaining industrial plants for a variety of applications. These types of devices can also be useful for airplane pilots, too.
AR can be applied to military and emergency services as wearable systems to provide information such as instructions, maps, enemy locations, and fire cells. In the fields of hydrology, ecology, and geology, AR can be used to display an interactive analysis of terrain characteristics.
In centuries past, the ability to conjure moving, talking 3D objects and people in thin air was exactly the sort of showboating sure to get you named court magician.
Now AR allows you to conjure similar dazzling and useful results, with decidedly less risk.
The notion of layering digital images and sounds is like creating a physical world in a new computer-enhanced experience.
All of this is a complete game changer for any industry, 3D technology will capitalise on everything. What future holds is unknown but extremely exciting… keep your eyes and ears open for things happening in the new media era. This is futureye signing out.
Post updated and corrected on the 9th of Nov 2009