Augmented Reality | Technology Taking its Quantum Leap

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Like most of the techies, I also knew that Augmented Reality Technology will be the next big thing.  But when Tim Cook announced the same at WWDC17, I found myself highly endorsed!

Augmented Reality is already the most talked about tech matter in 2017 and surely going to stimulate us through out 2018. You too must have encountered AR ( may be with Pokemon Go!). Let me explain it to you in a very simple way.

What_is_Augmented_Reality_Technology

What is Augmented Reality Technology?

The term “augment” stands for “to add something”. Augmented Reality (often represented as AR) is the integration of computer generated virtual digital information (like audio, video, graphics ) with the real time view of the physical world environment. 

In simple words, a screen will show you some life-like images into real-world settings.

AR enhances the existing perception of the real world by overlaying supplemental digital data like current score over a streaming live sports video. It actually superimposes certain digital components over the perceived existing reality. It provides a mixed reality spectrum as both virtual world and real world harmoniously co-exists in the method.

Modern Augmented Reality Technology makes our surrounding interactive as well as digitally manipulable. Now you know what is Augmented Reality. Let’s discuss, how it was developed.

In 1990, Thomas P.Caudell, an ex-Boeing researcher attributed the term “AUGMENTED REALITY”. In 1992, Louis Rosenberg developed and demonstrated world’s first functional AR system named “Virtual Fixtures” at Armstrong research laboratory of U.S. air force that rendered immersive hybrid reality experience.

Demo_image_Augmented_Reality

How an AR based game will look like

GENESIS, world’s first revolutionary AR based trading card game, combines analog trading card image with rich, immersive graphical element of digital gaming technology. It provides users best possible experience of Modern AR technology by bringing the cards to life.

Many Among us must have encountered very popular, location based AR game Pokemon go ,  where players have to wonder around their neighborhood to capture Pokemon monsters which are only visible on their game screen. Though Pokemon go is fading out, it gave us a hint, how powerful AR can be.

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

Though Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality relatively seem to be competing technologies, actually they are complementary to each other for a composite viewing experience.

Discussing  AR vs VR, both bear some distinctive features. Where AR overlays computer generated virtual elements onto real world images, on the other hand, VR immerses a viewer completely into the virtual world.

Then, AR uses pass through camera or glasses so that the user may get a view of real time world around them. In VR headset, single or dual screens are viewed through lenses to create an illusion of a foreign environment.

For an example, Augmented reality is used by Microsoft HoloLens and Virtual reality is used by HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation.

Hardware requirements for AR technology:

  1. High-end micro processor.
  2. On board Operating system should support a web browser.
  3. On board storage – Minimum 128 GB.
  4. MEMS ( Micro-Electro-Mechanical-System ) sensors as input devices. Such as,
  •    Accelerometer – Provides information regarding gaze and position.
  •    Wearable Bluetooth button.
  •    Eye ball tracking – Curates user-software interface commands on a method of gaze.
  •    GPS – provides information regarding the position.
  •    Touch Pad / Track pad.
  •     Microphone.
  •     Light and Proximity sensor.
  •     Connectivity – Standard Bluetooth (low power)
  •     Wi-Fi 802.11( low power)
  •     Display – should support a minimum resolution of 1920 X 1080 Pixels.
  •     Refresh rate – 120 Hz.

Are all these sounding like a riddle to you? Then believe me, as an end-user, you just need a smart phone to enjoy AR.

Categories of Augmented Reality Technology:

On the basis of objectives and applications, Augmented reality may be categorized into several segments.

1. GPS & Onboard compass AR technology :

Pokemon_go_ARUsing the onboard compass, GPS feature and high-speed internet connection in tablets and modern smartphones, Complex augmented reality application provides various web-content data, based on geolocation of that device. Using it we can create several Augmented Reality Games ( there are some unique survival horror games that you should never try!) and Apps.

2. Marker based AR Technology:

Marker_Based_Augmented_Reality

Marker based AR, which is often termed as image recognition, generally employs a digital camera and various types of visual markers ( like QR code, bar code ) to determine the orientation and position of its spherical coordinate system. As soon as the marker is distinguished as a distinct image from any other real world object, it is decoded by the reader software ( like QR Code reader or bar code reader ) to provide related information.

In the year 1999 , Hirokazu Kato of Nara Institute of Science and technology, developed ARToolKit which was the first fully featured open source tool kit for marker based AR.

2. Marker less AR Technology:

Marker_less_Augmented_Reality

It is the most used application of Augmented reality technology and also known as GPS based or Position based or location based AR, using the onboard digital compass, GPS, accelerometer, velocity meter and location detection feature of modern smartphones and tablets, this application provides useful information based on the GPS location of the device.

It is widely accepted and accessed application to track nearby business centers, mapping a certain location and much more.

3. Projection based AR technology:

Projection_based_Augmented_Reality

Here in this case, at first an artificial light is projected onto a real surface and then human interaction or touch to that projected image is detected by this application by differentiating between a known projection to the altered projection. There is another interesting projection based AR where laser plasma technology is used to produce a 3D interactive hologram in mid air.

Here is our selection of Best Augmented Reality Apps, based on usefulness and uniqueness!

How does Augmented reality works:

Augmented reality is used to highlight certain data, to enhance features and to present accessible as well as timely information. AR has breakthrough potential to combine virtual imagery & digital data to simulate reality.

AR can be used to pop up a simple text notification or may be employed to render complicated instructions to perform a critical surgical operation. Primarily AR technology was used for military applications, medical procedures, and industrial development. But since 2012, AR had been thoroughly incorporated into the versatile world of entertainment as well as various other commercial industries. Today, by means of useful mobile gadgets, AR is being used even in schools as a powerful teaching & learning media.

Augmented reality is being employed in various technologies with many more applications in the field of Advertising and navigation, Games and toys, Product presentation, Architecture and interior decoration, Product manufacturing and marketing etc. Let’s check the scope of application of AR.

Head Mounted Display (HMD):

Head_Mounted_Display_Augmented_Reality

Have you heard about Augmented Reality Glasses? It is a display device worn on the forehead having a single or a couple of display system. Google Glass provides a single display, where as HMDs like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive provides a couple of display before both eyes. In case of AR, the digital images and information are projected on the transparent screen through which the user can see the live view of the world. Such HMDs are called Optical Head Mounted Display (OHMD). OHMDs employs numerous sensors to allow a freedom monitoring of  6° to align virtual images to the real image and to fine-tune the blending of both, accordingly with the head movement.

Contact Lenses:

Contact_Lenses_AR People who dreamed of a sci-fi future with neon interfaces floating in mid-air before eyes and images exist not only on screen but also projected directly onto our eyes is probably viewing the blossoming Contact Lens AR Technology market with a great anticipation. At CES-2013, a Washington based wearable startup INNOVEGA, with its iOptik system, demonstrated its latest prototype futuristic contact Lenses with an HMD that interact with the full HD glasses by decoding the rays coming from projectors fitted on the HMD glasses. It creates a fabulous AR display that allows a wide field of view.

HMD Oculus Rift is quite bulky and provides a wide field of view (more than 90°). On the other hand, Google glass is compact but provides a narrow field of view (near about 20°). But INNOVEGA iOptik AR Contact Lens is extremely compact yet offers a wide field of view. Thus this product is challenging Google glass in its wearable ambition.

Future of Augmented reality:

Perceived to be the technology of future, AR is steadily building its road in a future market by continuous development. Various applications emerging every day through steady research of AR technology is producing extraordinary visual experience.It is transforming the way we see our surroundings by revolutionizing top brands and companies’ business models.

Big Corporate giants are already catalyzing the market of Augmented Reality.

  • Microsoft: The software biggie took the first big step in AR. Microsoft’s HoloLens will surely be a business change. It is a holographic head mounted display system. They call it Mix Reality Technology.
  • Facebook: April 2017, Facebook launched its Camera Effects Platform. This will help developers to create stickers and 3D masks on photos and videos. An AR based make over of Facebook app bundle is in the pipeline.
  • Apple: Personally I feel, the most anticipating feature of iPhone 8 will be ARKit. The smart phone scenario will start to take a leap after ios 11, which will encourage the app developers to work on AR.

There are some argument though. Famous personalities like Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, expressed his concern over AR. According to him, mankind is going to live in a computer simulation kind of world. Living in a Matrix-world will not be encouraging.

The ground-breaking technology of AR has evolved at the fore front of the modern world and will continue to arrive with new usages in days to come. Juniper Research Group of Washington DC predicted that AR will expand tenfold by the year  2019 & will earn $2.5 billion revenue.

The number of companies developing Augmented Reality Technology based applications grew 60% in Q2 2017, according to the Venture Reality Fund’s AR industry landscape report.

Now it’s sure. You will also accept the fact that Augmented Reality is the next big thing. Let’s see how huge it grows.

 


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2 Comments

  1. Mahabir Banerjee August 20, 2017
    • SUBHRA PRAKASH HALDER August 22, 2017

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