Augmented Reality at your fingertips

Augmented Reality is a hot topic of discussion these days specially after Apple backed it during the launch of  iPhone X. Let’s take a look at what is Augmented Reality (AR).

What is  Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) is when elements of the real world are “augmented” with the help of computer generated data like images, sound or video to give a new view. Augmented reality is closer to reality than virtual reality. While virtual reality involves a computer generated environment to replace the real world, Augmented Reality enhances existing real world surroundings.

A recent example of AR is the popular game Pokémon Go in which players have to catch Pokémons in the real world. The game uses GPS and the camera on your device to impose Pokémons in the form of graphics in your surroundings displayed on your device screen. Even Snapchat uses generated graphics or special effects on your face in real time to create Augmented Reality.
Mixed reality (MR) combines of virtual reality & augmented reality. It uses device cameras to capture the real world, then adds computer generated text and images over the recorded video.

Augmented Reality today
Your Smart phones which are equipped with a camera and a screen double up as AR devices. With the help of an inbuilt accelerometer, a big screen with a good display resolution and powerful graphic processor your Smart phones can give you an impressive Augmented Reality experience. Just as your Smartphone a tablet too can create AR with the advantage of a bigger screen.
The AR headset Google Glass overlays images, text and other data on to the real world surroundings. The presence of Google Glass, Microsoft’s HoloLens is a peek into the future of Augmented Reality.
In general AR is achieved with devices like Smart phones wherein the camera captures surroundings and CPU generates images or text in the captured footage which is displayed on the screen. Another way is to project computer generated  images or text onto the real world with the help of mini projectors but this is expensive.
AR headsets may contain hardware capable of producing CGI objects or they could be tethered to an external device which does all the image processing. The latter may limit your movement due to constant dependence on another device. The objects visible in AR may be interactive and this can be achieved through voice control, motion control or motion control provided motion sensors are present.
Many techno giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Dell and Acer are supporting Augmented Reality. This could lead to some amazing implementations of AR in future.
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