What is Augmented Reality?

About 50 years ago nobody could even suggest that our physical world would not consist of only really existing objects.

What is meant here is, of course, Augmented Reality (AR), which with the help of modern gadgets is capable of changing the surrounding environment by adding sensory digital data into it. In order to sort out what this AR technology is about, it is enough just to close your eyes and imagine the place you are currently in with new elements in it. For instance, you may have wanted to put the porch swing behind your house but wasn’t sure whether it would fit the general exterior. This is why one needs the augmented reality. Today thanks to AR technology with the help of mobile application, special devices (glasses and helmets) or even holographic visualization it is possible to try the desired changeon the objective reality. 

A little about the origins of AR

Few people know that augmented reality has existed since 1968. In 1960s the American scientist in Informatics, a pioneer of Internet, Ivan Edward Sutherland, introduced an invention called “Sword of Damocles”. Of course, the notion “augmented reality” was out of the question in 1968, but even then Sutherland’s specific glasses, which were enormously huge and fastened to the ceiling, allowed to see the transmission of images from the display screen.

The term AR first appeared in 1990 after more than 20 years of the existence of virtual and augmented realities, which were developing hand-in-hand. One of the first to implement the opportunities of AR in practice were the US military air forces. Therefore, in 1992 special exoskeletons were constructed for the military officers to guide the machinery virtually from the remote control point.

From the beginning of 2000s the augmented reality was picking up the pace and rapidly expanding to different spheres of our life. In particular, AR became widely implemented in gaming industry, beginning from the so-called game Quake in 2000, where the users could spy the monsters on the real streets of the city, and ending with the much talked-of Pokémon Go, which became a real cultural phenomenon in 2016.

At the same time AR technology was developing in such fields as mass media, geolocation, motor-vehicle industry, tourism, architecture and so on. However, the real breakthrough in the development and popularization of the augmented reality happened in 2012, after a successful fund-raising campaign on Kickstarter, which gathered the necessary sum of money for the world’s first AR helmets in only 4 hours. From 2015, after the appearance of these helmets on the market, the technology of augmented reality became extensively used by the entrepreneurs from completely various fields of our life. 

Types of AR

As it has already been mentioned before, the augmented reality can be displayed in three common ways. First, today there is a plenty of different mobile applications, allowing to combine the physical reality with a virtual one on the screen of your smartphone. For example, with the help of AR technology one can check the compatibility of a new sofa with the existing apartment’s interior design. Another bright example refers to mobile games, where the fictional characters are placed in a real world around us. Second, the augmented reality can be broadcasted on the screen of a special helmet or glasses. Such technology often serves the architecture, allowing the constructors and designers or their clients to complement the real conditions of an accommodation or location with the virtual elements of a future design of an object. Finally, the augmented reality can be visible even for those who don’t have any special necessary gadgets. What is meant here is holographic images available to the sight of anyone. It could be, for instance, the Indian from Maya civilization strolling about the museum, or George Clooney advertising coffee in a shopping center. Such models of augmented reality are the most innovative ones, but it is not unlikely that in several years such holograms would be met practically on every single street. 

The application of AR

With the help of special a mobile application it is possible to see a certain building looked like hundreds of years ago

AR perspectives

One way or another, the augmented reality has already become a part of our lives.

The application of AR

Apart from the wide implementation of augmented reality in gaming industry, this technology also gains popularity in the field of tourism. Today in the locations of some world’s places of interest tourists are offered to use the opportunities of AR technology. Thus, for instance, with the help of a special mobile application it is possible to see what a certain building looked like hundreds of years ago or even to revive the events, which have happened here in the past.

In addition, AR is often used in design and construction. Therefore, a recently bought apartment with bare walls can appear to be a cozy dwelling equipped with all the necessary furniture in the augmented reality.

Marketing and advertising is another frequent sphere of AR implementation. Recently IKEA company demonstrated a bright marketing ploy by launching a special mobile application letting the users complement their flats with the company's products. And Starbucks company used AR opportunities in marketing back in 2012. On a Valentine's day they released a range of festive cups the design of which was coming alive and sending the best wishes in a special app.

Other fields using AR technology include education, medicine, car manufacture and many others.

AR perspectives

One way or another, the augmented reality has already become a part of our lives. Each of us at least once visited 5D cinema, tried the clothes on in mobile application or simply watched someone catching the Pokémon. With ever increasing frequency the experts agree on the opinion that AR technology is not going to become a passing through innovation. On the contrary, it will be widely used by people in their everyday lives and will become a base for a lot of future technological inventions. In order to be confident about tomorrow, it is necessary to make a choice in favor of implementing the opportunities of augmented reality in one’s business today. The choice belongs to you, and the future – to augmented reality!