Augmented reality [AR] is where the real world is combined with
computer generated data. AR is an intermediary step between reality
and immersive virtual reality.
To many, augmented reality is one step further on from virtual reality.
Video - Augmented Reality
To date, most AR research has focused on the use of live video
imagery, which is digitally processed and "augmented"
by the addition of computer generated graphics.
Advanced research includes the use of:
motion tracking data
fiducial marker recognition using machine vision
construction of controlled environments containing any number
of sensors and actuators.
Augmented reality adds graphics, sounds, haptics and smell to the
natural world as it exists.
Augmented reality will truly change the way we view the world.
Characteristics of AR
One of its most important characteristics of augmented reality
is the way in which it enables transformation of the focus of interaction.
The interactive system tranforms from being a precise location,
where interaction is a face-to-screen exchange, to a whole environment
where one becomes semi-immersed in the surrounding space and objects.
For instance, accessing an information system is no longer exclusively
a conscious and intentional act.
Augmented reality is an environment that includes both virtual
reality and real-world elements. For instance, an AR user might
wear translucent goggles. Through these, the user can see the real
world, as well as computer-generated images projected on top of
that world. An augmented reality system as one that:
combines real and virtual
is interactive in real time
is registered in 3D
Augmented Reality Interfaces
Displaying augmented reality is achieved by expanding a PC screen
into the real environment.
Program windows and icons appear as virtual devices in real space
and are eye or gesture operated, by gazing or pointing.
A single personal display [glasses] could concurrently simulate
a hundred conventional PC screens or application windows all around
Virtual devices of all kinds, e.g. replacement of traditional
screens, control panels, and entirely new applications impossible
in 'real' hardware, like 3D objects interactively changing their
shape and appearance based on the current task or need.
Enhancements like 'X-ray'-views, virtual plants, wallpapers, panoramic
views, artwork, decorations, illumination etc., are used for enhancing
For example, a virtual window could be displayed on a regular wall
showing a live feed of a camera placed on the exterior of the building,
thus allowing the user to effectually toggle a wall's transparency.
AR Mass Interfaces
AR systems are fast being adopted into mass market. Their potential
for use is unlimited; virtual window dressings, posters, traffic
signs, Christmas decorations, advertisement towers and more.
These instances of AR may be fully interactive even at a distance,
by eye pointing for example.
Virtual gadgetry becomes possible. Any physical device currently
produced to assist in data-oriented tasks (such as the clock, radio,
PC, arrival/departure board at an airport, stock ticker, PDA, PMP,
informational posters/fliers/billboards, in-car navigation systems,
etc. could be replaced by virtual devices that cost nothing to produce
aside from the cost of writing the software.
Examples might be a virtual wall clock, a to-do list for the day
docked by your bed for you to look at first thing in the morning,
Subscribable group-specific AR feeds will become available, just
as RSS feeds for text and graphic information are currently available.
For example, a manager on a construction site could create and dock
instructions including diagrams in specific locations on the site.
The workers could refer to this feed of AR items as they work. Another
example could be patrons at a public event subscribing to a feed
of direction and information oriented AR items.