Augmented Reality, in simple terms, means ‘large’ reality.
The sole reason behind the conceptualization and development of any technology is Convenience. All the technology invented till date can actually be traced back to resolving some human necessity or the other, or to the effort of simplifying a certain task that is otherwise difficult or cumbersome. As obvious, augmented reality serves exactly the same purpose, but in a way that one could only imagine, and one that was only available in works of fiction. Augmented reality is developed as a way of supplementing the real world with enhanced information for ease of the user. With the help of this technology one could get information about a certain product that he wants to buy or information about and directions to a particular place without having to go back to a computer. Instances of augmented reality being tested can be traced back to the mid 1900’s.
Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality does not involve the creation of immersive computer generated virtual environments of its own. The main concept behind the technology is to overlay the physical world around you with computer generated text, sound etc. Augmented Reality has been developed and tested with many present day applications. Few of the many applications are interactive video games, creative webcam applications, assisted navigation, etc.
In present times, there are oceans of information available to everyone. Several sources of information viz. internet, journals, magazines etc are at our disposal. Few of the many difficulties faced by the seekers of this information are, getting authentic information about the matter of interest. The other difficulty faced by 85 percent of the people using this information is – how does one actually relate all this information to the requirement or situation and come out with the best possible solution. It is almost impossible to memorize all important facts and recall them at the right time.
A very important invention of the 21st century to aid the convenience and increase resourcefulness of people is the integration of technology. It is hard to believe how a powerful communication device could be enhanced with storage capacity, powerful processing etc and still be made compact enough to fit into one’s pocket. Smart phones have swept the earth like an infestation. At this point in time, it is difficult for some to manage a single day without the assistance of a smart phone.
Pioneers of augmented reality have been able to develop and successfully implement few of the many applications based around this technology, all thanks to the smart phones readily available these days. The most common components of an augmented reality system would be a camera, a display and a device with data processing and effective connectivity features. Hence, smart phones have, to a very large extent, aided in the development of technologies like assisted navigation, whereby the user can gather specific and relevant information about a place or a product simply by pointing the camera of a smart phone to the desired object. The application works by recognizing the object of desire (buildings, signs, products etc) and displaying information about the same.
It is not necessary for the medium to be a smart phone. Various other media are being considered that will add to the convenience and ease of use. Eventually, this technology is aimed at being integrated with a normal pair of glasses to be worn on one’s eyes. The glasses would have to be equipped with a camera so as to capture the image of the surroundings and a projected display on the lenses to show the required information. Various other features can be added viz. voice guidance etc. This idea is being conceptualized further to be known as Wearable Computers. This particular idea finds application in the field of manufacturing processes, whereby a quality inspector can wear a computer and assess the...