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What is Augmented Reality and how does it work

What is Augmented Reality and how does it work


Augmented Reality is the process where digitally rendered images are superimposed on our real-world surroundings. AR can be defined as an enhanced version of reality in simple terms. This gives a sense of illusion to our real world. The user generally downloads an application that has the features of augmented reality (AR) in it and it renders various images and 3D models onto the real world.

What is Augmented Reality and how does it work

What is Augmented Reality and how does it work

There are three main kinds of AR-

  • Augmented Reality 3D viewers- This is where the particular application allows its users to place life-sized 3-D models onto the user’s surroundings.
  • Augmented Reality browsers– This type of augmented reality (AR) enriches the camera display with contextual data.
  • Augmented Reality gaming– One of the most important areas where AR has found its niche is the gaming industry. A very apt example is the Pokémon Go game which allows users to find and catch virtual creatures which are hidden throughout a map of the real environment.

How augmented reality works

The camera is the main equipment when it comes to augmented reality (AR) as it works in conjunction with the app to create a digital overlay on the phone screen which the users then interact with on a virtual level. Due to the complex nature of augmented reality, only phones or devices with enough processors can use the features of AR.

AR involves technologies like depth tracking and S.L.A.M (simultaneous localization and mapping). There are other important components at play here like-

Cameras and sensors- Cameras and sensors collect important data from the user and use it for generating 3-D images of various models and objects.

Projectors- Miniature projectors on AR devices which takes inputs from the cameras and sensors, and projects it on a solid surface. Although such projectors have not been available for commercial use, research is still going on in this area of AR.

Processing- Since AR devices need considerable processing power, they have to act like miniature CPUs. Currently, the AR applications use the device’s own computational capabilities.

Reflection- Some AR devices use mirrors in order to assist human eyes for virtual images. The perform intricate image alignments and create a sense of illusion.

Types of augmented reality-

After having a brief overview of how augmented reality works it is important to understand the types of augmented reality.

  • Marker-based AR-Marker-based augmented reality uses the camera and any sort of visual marker. The desired results are produced only when the marker is scanned and sensed by a reader. Examples of such markers are QR codes.
  • Markerless AR- For augmented realities that don’t involve any kinds of markers, and uses the phone’s GPS (Global Positioning System) along with functionalities like velocity meter, accelerometer or digital compass to render the images and data.
  • Projection based AR- This works by the projection of artificial lights onto real-world This also allows human interaction by recognizing the touch and inputs onto the projected lights.
    What is Augmented Reality and how does it work

    What is Augmented Reality and how does it work


Thus, AR devices have revolutionized the gaming industry already and are improving its footing in various other spheres. AR devices are increasingly used in planning, model making, medical and various other industries thereby increasing efficiency and productivity.

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