Though augmented reality was still only in its experimental stages two years ago, it is showing signs of truly coming into its own through the latest commonly used and readily available technologies.
Augmented reality is a cutting edge electronics industry innovation which superimposes audio, graphics, and other sensory enhancements from the screen onto an environment in real time. Though images on television and other standard graphics technologies don’t change with the perspective of the viewer, augmented reality systems let the viewer change what is seen through movements of the eyes and head, or with a handheld device.
Two years ago, an augmented reality experience required the use of a webcam that was connected to a computer and which was able to identify special kind of printed black box on screen. It was then capable of providing a 3D image on the screen. The development of the simplest of images – such as a rotating symbol or logo, for example – could take many weeks. That said, without the right kind of webcam and technology – which would represent the majority of computer users – only a black box could be viewed.
Today, using state of the art augmented reality programs such as Aurasma, the latest technology from Autonomy, augmented reality images have value with or without the necessary viewing gadget, and they can now be seen through the use of mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.
Without the necessary viewing technology, the image remains a standard, 2D graphic on the screen. However, with the assistance of a mobile device enabled with the right free app, the image is dramatically enhanced with augmented reality. Moreover, the length of time needed to develop the images is significantly less.
Though augmented reality has not yet been perfected, it is certainly is coming into its own and is predicted to become more commonly available within the next few years.