WHAT IS AR?
Augmented Reality or AR is a term that is in heavy use in today’s world. To us, AR is known in the form of sci-fi movies. Without a doubt, everyone loves how Ironman has the full control panel of his suit right in front of his eyes. Not only does this look cool but the ease of operating it also left the public stunned. Such an application is also observed in detective movies like James Bond and Mission Impossible. Be it floating screens controlled by hand movement or controlling stuff through your glasses. All of this is probably a stretch on the existing AR technology but we have come quite close to this.
Augmented Reality is basically the combination of digital information with respect to the user’s surroundings in real-time. This technology has been in use to make the heads up displays of airplanes. Due to the innovation and advancement in the tech industry now, AR is being used in everyday tasks such as net browsing. Recently, Google introduced an AR search in which a user could search for an animal and then view it in 3D in their living rooms itself. Not only is this fun but is also very beneficial in terms of education. Small kids can see those animals and get familiar with their size and nature.
Similarly, Apple also introduced memoji on iPhones which lets users create a digital avatar of themselves. Users can then use this 3D character in photos and videos. This is more of a fun thing to do but it just shows how AR has already conquered the technology sector.
The first AR technology was developed in 1968 at Harvard when computer scientist Ivan Sutherland. He created an AR head-mounted display system. Things got better and better and AR technology providing image immersive technology was produced before the 90s. It began with the Virtual Fixtures system developed at the U.S. Air Force’s Armstrong Laboratory in 1992.
Commercial fields use AR as well. It all started in 2008 with a printed magazine advertisement. A model BMW printed car appeared on the screen when scanned by the webcam. One could be able to control the car on the screen and move it throughout to view different angles, by manipulating the paper. The application was one of the first marketing campaigns that allowed interaction with a digital model in real-time. This idea is still being used by various car makers.
AUGMENTED REALITY VS VIRTUAL REALITY
AR basically means the addition of simulated things to the real world. This can include the addition of 3D animals in your living room.
VR or virtual reality takes the person to a digital world and uses motor movements for interaction. A lot of Play Station games use this technology.
TECHNOLOGY USED IN AR
- The processor, display, input, and sensors are used as the hardware components. Modern-day smartphones have these inbuilt in them which often include a camera, MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) sensors like GPS, accelerometer, compass making them suitable AR platforms.
- AR uses display systems like monitors, optical projection systems and handheld devices. Handheld devices are worn on the body which makes it advantageous over other display devices.
- Contact Lenses is another example of an AR device. Google Glass is an example of it. One can easily search answers to their questions anywhere and anytime without looking down at their mobile phones or any other gadgets. A successful operation was carried out in India using Google Glasses.
- A Handheld display involves a small layout that can fit in a user’s hand. All handheld AR solutions to date have opted for video see-through. Initially, handheld AR utilized fiducial markers, and later GPS units and MEMS sensors such as digital compasses and six degrees of freedom accelerometer–gyroscope. Today Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) markerless trackers such as PTAM (parallel tracking and mapping) are starting to come into use. Handheld display AR promises to be the first commercial success for AR technologies. The two main advantages of handheld AR are the portable nature of handheld devices and the omnipresence of camera phones. One can’t forget Pokémon Go which used AR for designing Pokémons.
- AR SYSTEMS USE A COMBINATION OF VARIOUS SOFTWARE AND ALGORITHMS (feature detection, image processing, image registration, computer vision, visual odometry, etc.) IN ORDER TO REALISTICALLY INTEGRATE WITH THE REAL WORLD.
WHAT IS COMPUTER VISION AND HOW IT IS RELATED TO AR?
Computer vision is a combination of different technologies that can be used to make computers gain a high level of understanding from digital images or videos. From a technical point of view, it seeks to understand and automate tasks that a human visual system can do. It is vital for AR as it allows the enterprise to train their workers and get a better perspective of marketing.
IMAGE REGISTRATION is the process of transforming different sets of data into a coordinate system. It can be multiple photographs, data from different sensors, times, depths, or viewpoints. DIGITAL IMAGE PROCESSING uses a digital computer to process digital images through an algorithm.
The process of determining the position and orientation of a robot by analyzing the associated camera images is called VISUAL ODOMETRY. It has widely used in AR as it facilitates the movement of the images generated.
FEATURE DETECTION includes methods for computing abstractions of image information. It also includes decision making at every image point. The resulting features are a subset of the image domain, often in the form of isolated points, continuous curves or connected regions.
APPLICATIONS OF AR
AR allows paleontologists to work out possible site configurations from extant structures. Computer-generated models of ruins, buildings, landscapes or even ancient people have been reprocessed into early archaeological AR applications. VITA (Visual Interaction Tool for Archaeology) allows users to envisage and investigate the excavation results sitting in their homes only. Each user can contribute by interactively “traversing, searching, and observing data”.
AR can aid one in visualizing building projects. AR is widely used by architects. Before finalizing a project, they use AR to get a 3D model of their 2D drawing. This has allowed users to view a building’s exterior as well as the interior. One can effortlessly see through the walls and view its autogenous objects and layout. It helps one to visualize, analyze and check the feasibility of his project.
With GPS accuracy on its way to progression, businesses are able to use augmented reality to construct 3D models of underground tunnels, pipelines, and subway. Augmented reality is in use to enhance promotional materials. It is also in use to present new projects and solve on-site construction challenges. Daqri Smart Helmet is an Android-powered hard hat that uses this technology. It analyzes the thought process of an industrial worker. The analysis includes visual instructions, 3D mapping, and real-time alerts.
AR also plays a major role in earthquake aftermath construction. It played a major role in the Christchurch Earthquake. AR-enabled city planners and engineers to visualize buildings that were destroyed. It not only provided planners with tools to reference the previous cityscape. But also served as a reminder of the magnitude of the resulting devastation. Entire buildings were pulverized and demolished.
AR is now replacing those fat instruction booklets at a very fast rate now. Virtual manuals are helping manufacturers adapt to rapidly-changing product designs. Digital instructions are easy to edit and distribute compared to physical manuals. Digital instructions are also safe for the workers working in the factories.
Used to integrate print and video marketing. AR is in use to enhance product previews. In this process, a customer can look inside a product’s packaging without tampering it. AR is also in use to select products from a catalog or through a kiosk. This technology is now available on iPhones.
GAMING AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRIES
One can’t forget Pokémon Go developed and published by Niantic in collaboration with The Pokémon Company for iOS and Android devices. Augmented Reality Gaming (ARG) also plays a major role in the field of market film and television entertainment properties.
Google also announced that it is bringing AR objects to search during I/O and is steadily developing it. The animals in our space exactly as they would in real life also one can shrink and enlarge them, as per their needs.
Introduction to Bitmoji in Snapchat allows users to render an animated, cartoon version of themselves. These animated avatars are projected in the real world. This is done with a camera and can be photographed or video recorded. This is very similar to Apple’s memoji. Camera filters also use AR. Gradually these features are rolling out on other social media platforms as well.
OTHER APPLICATIONS OF Augmented Reality
- Flight Training.
- Used in case of emergencies
- Music production.
- Tourism industries.
- Healthcare industries.
THREATS CAUSED BY Augmented Reality
- REALITY MODIFICATIONS
Pokémon Go though being a hit across the world with millions of downloads has caused some serious problems. It includes a disproportionate upsurge in vehicular crashes. It has also caused associated vehicular damage, personal injuries, and fatalities in the vicinity. This was due to the presence of locations called PokéStops. This is where the game can be played while driving. This has lead to a huge loss of life and property.
- PRIVACY CONCERNS.
From all the applications of AR technology, we can easily say that AR is the way to go. AR is already in use in major sectors such as Industry and Commerce. Not only has AR saved a lot of time but it has also saved a ton of money. Getting a 3D render before proceeding for the actual work is been highly advantageous to the architects and engineers. Looking into packages before shipping them out has reduced the error rate remarkably and also a lot less packing material is being wasted. This is the productive segment where AR has already made a major impact but it has also been helpful in the gaming and social media world.
Pokemon go is the game that very much introduced AR to gamers. In this game, players interact with 3D pokemon. The pokemon have their own types which are determined by the surroundings of a player’s location. This game was an instant hit and people began understanding how revolutionary AR is. In social media, Snapchat has been the first to use this technology. The app lets users create a virtual avatar of themselves. The users can fully customize it by changing clothes, skin tone, face type, etc. It can be said that AR is really boosing for us towards the future.