What is augmented reality?
Augmented reality (AR) is a special dimension uniting the real word and a virtual one. The essence of AR is a live view of our physical environment containing a special “layer” with computer-generated input connected and interacting with real objects in any way. This artificial virtual layer can consist of 2D and even 3D images, sounds, video or GPS data. As a result, this technology changes our perceived reality by complementing and enriching it. With the help of modern technologies like object recognition, quick web search etc., the information users get about their environment becomes interactive, supportive and useful.
How can augmented reality be implemented?
As for every computer-based technology, a combination of hardware and software is required. The minimum hardware pieces are processor, display, and input devices. Modern mobile devices like smartphones or tablet PCs contain additional features increasing AR possibilities like cameras, accelerometer, and GPS. One of the latest developments is augmented reality glasses created by Google. This eye wear includes camera intercepting and analyzing the real world and displaying it with an AR layer. For AR information input, speech and gesture recognition techniques can be used transforming the users’ words and movements into computer instructions.
How does augmented reality actually work?
The crucial point of every augmented reality app is an accurate and realistic interaction with the environment. To ensure this, AR software enables the device’s camera and derives real world coordinates from it. Then, the process called image registration is launched. Its task is using various methods of computer vision, e.g. video tracking. In general, the application analyzes the input from the outside world and calls up relevant information from a database that can be stored somewhere on the device or in the Internet (e.g. social networks). Then, the augmented reality app instructs the device to display and overlay this data correctly over your image of the real world. As a result, you get a “mixed” vision of your real environment containing virtual information.
Two important requirements to augmented reality apps development should be mentioned here. Firstly, such apps should work very fast and deliver information immediately. Secondly, they shouldn’t overload the user with unnecessary information and effects. Augmented reality app developers should always keep in mind that their applications mostly affect how users see the real world. That’s why large images, 3D objects and loud music acceptable in usual applications would not work in an AR apps because they’ll disturb users too much.
Augmented reality on mobile devices
Smartphones and tablet PCs are a sort of treasury for augmented reality app developers because they provide all necessary hardware for AR functioning and are always at hand. The very reason for spreading of augmented reality technology and its growing popularity among mobile device users is great capacity of contemporary smartphones and tablets allowing overlaying any kind of real-time digital data on the image derived from the camera. That’s why there are a lot of augmented reality Android and iOS applications created for smartphones. They solve dozens of problems, from everyday issues like looking for a restaurant or a parking nearby to gaming and entertainment to navigation and education.
IntexSoft Mobile Development Lab always keeps its eye on the latest technologies. That’s why since the very appearance of augmented reality, our company studies this technology and is engaged in the development of AR apps. Among other augmented reality companies, we’ve gathered a unique experience in this area and developed some augmented reality apps for various industries like business and gaming. Let us give you some examples.
One of our first projects was an augmented reality business card. It looks like a usual printed business card – but if you launch an AR application and observe the card through the smartphone’s camera, you see 3D objects arising from the card’s surface – company’s colorful logo, name, and contact information. Such a business card makes its owner memorable and standing out against others – and he has much more chances to get promising calls from clients.
Another project IntexSoft Mobile Development Lab is proud of is an augmented reality iPhone game. This game animates a likable funny character bringing it directly into people’s houses. The users should print a special tag image, launch the AR app, point the camera on the image – and the nice little creature is sitting at this place. People can interact and play with the character in many different ways. The augmented reality technology and 3D animation has made this iOS mobile app a very popular family game.
Today, AR applications can efficiently be used in all spheres of our life. For example, augmented reality in education allows turning usual paper books into interactive and involving sources of useful information. Text, images, audio and video can be superimposed into classrooms’ environment. In commerce, AR product catalogues might allow turning people homes into virtual fitting rooms. Customers can choose, try and buy clothes or furniture without leaving their rooms. In architecture and construction, augmented reality can help visualizing projects before the construction of physical buildings. Industrial designers can benefit from experiencing products’ design and characteristics before production. In medicine, AR apps can be used during surgeries providing the doctor information about the patient’s state. Using augmented reality in navigation will never let us get lost in an unfamiliar place. In the tourism branch, whole city guides can be turned into AR apps providing real-time information about places of interest: location, history, additional photos, comments of previous visitors etc. And finally, the possibilities of augmented reality games are just endless and require a separate article.
So, augmented reality is becoming the technology that can really make a difference. Being useful and demanded in all spheres of people’s lives, AR will bring numerous benefits to those wise visionaries who anticipate the future of technologies and understand its tendencies. We suggest you becoming such a visionary with IntexSoft augmented reality apps.