(Frame from the movie ‘Ready Player One’)
Have you seen the movie ‘Ready Player One’? Based on Ernest Cline’s novel, Spielberg released it in 2018, a science fiction film?… The story presents a somewhat prophetic dystopia. It’s 2045, and the world is a bleak and hostile place. Simultaneously, there exists a utopian world created in virtual reality called “Oasis.”
Humans live in both worlds, simultaneously, through Virtual Reality. In the first minutes of the movie, men, women, and children are seen wearing virtual reality glasses. Everyone is using them. Is this the future that awaits us?
Let’s not be pessimists or doomsayers. It’s just science fiction…
But what’s not fiction is the rapid development that virtual reality technology has experienced in a short time. And increasingly, there’s talk of “Augmented Reality,” an emerging technology that promises to have a very prosperous future in our society.
Today, we’re talking about it.
What is Augmented Reality?
AR is a technology that allows you to add digital objects or resources to our real world. AR adds virtual information to the physical information of our environment, and this interactive experience occurs in real-time.
Sometimes we can confuse Virtual Reality (as depicted in the movie we mentioned) and Augmented Reality. The main differences between the two technologies essentially lie in the level of immersion they offer in an experience.
Let’s say that the maximum immersion is experienced when all the sensations the user perceives are created by the computer and are virtual. This would be the case with Virtual Reality, where using “closed” glasses doesn’t allow you to see anything happening outside the virtual environment.
On the other hand, Augmented Reality overlays information on the place where we are, making us aware of our actual location and the real elements around us.
Augmented Reality seems to have a much broader application than virtual reality, as it can be easily incorporated into various aspects of our lives. We only need some kind of everyday device, such as mobile phones, tablets, webcams, special glasses, etc.
What is needed to create an AR project?
The project requires four basic components.
The DESIGN or configuration of the trigger.
The necessary PROGRAMMING that recognizes this trigger and overlays the virtual elements.
The DEVELOPMENT of all these virtual elements: 3D objects, videos, images, or any other type of information.
In most cases, a SERVER INFRASTRUCTURE that hosts these virtual contents.
Types of Augmented Reality
There are two types of AR:
- Marker-based Augmented Reality: An image or a QR code activates augmented reality and initiates an interaction. Examples of this type include QR codes that provide access to a restaurant’s menu or TikTok applications that apply real-time filters to our face.
- Markerless Augmented Reality: This involves more computational complexity, greater processing power, and more advanced algorithms. Without using visual markers, it offers more freedom of movement and places virtual elements directly on real elements in our environment. Clear examples include the game Pokémon GO or design store apps that allow you to see how furniture would look in a specific space in your home.
Uses of AR
AR is increasingly being of assistance in important fields such as:
A surgeon can have expanded information about the patient while performing a surgery. They can even superimpose guides on the patient’s body to indicate where to intervene using augmented reality medical images (CT scans, X-rays, or MRI).
Education and Training:
Textbooks can incorporate augmented reality to provide interactive 3D lessons on subjects like anatomy, chemistry, or history.
In industry, this technology is primarily used for guided step-by-step procedures. It can instruct an operator on how to assemble or repair something or assist in resolving issues remotely.
Through AR, customers have a better opportunity to experiment with a product or service during the purchase process. It allows them to see how a piece of furniture would fit in their living room or how a piece of clothing suits them without having to try it on.
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