What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality technology is slowly proving itself as a useful technology in our everyday lives. From social media filters to surgical procedures, AR is rapidly growing in popularity by merging elements of the virtual world, into our real world.
In AR, graphics, sounds and touch feedback are added into the user’s natural world for creating enhanced user experiences. It enhances the way we see, hear and feel the world around us. Unlike virtual reality, AR utilizes the user’s existing natural environment and simply overlays virtual information on top of it.
Augmented Reality has several applications, right from performing simple tasks such as text notifications to performing complex surgical procedures. Companies using AR for a number of applications has become to driving force for augmented reality application development.
There are many types of technologies that make up AR, each with varying differences in their applicational use cases.
1. Marker Based AR: This type uses a camera on the user’s device and some kind of a visual marker that is sensed by a reader to produce the AR experience. Simple patterns such as a QR or 2D code are used as markers so that they can be easily read and don’t require a lot of processing power to accomplish the task.
2. Markerless AR: This type uses a GPS or sensors like digital compass, velocity meter or accelerometer, which are embedded in the device to provide data based on the user’s location. It is commonly used for mapping directions, finding nearby businesses and other location based mobile applications.
3. Projection Based Augmented Reality: It works by projecting artificial light onto a real world surface and allows human interaction by sensing touch. It differentiates between an expected projection and an altered projection to detect the user’s interaction. With the new laser plasma technology, it is possible to project three dimensional interactive holograms that hover in mid-air as well.
4. Superimposition Based AR: This type replaces the original view of an object with an augmented view of it. Object recognition plays a vital role here, as the device must be able to recognize what the object is.
Seasoned industries have started adopting and applying this new technology for their own unique needs. For example in healthcare, everything from a routine checkup to complex surgical procedures, Augmented Reality provides enormous benefits to both patients and healthcare professionals. It is yet to be seen how other industries incorporate this technology in the future.

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