While the word ‘Augmented Reality’ might be new, the concept isn’t new at all. Developed by a Harvard professor Ivan Sutherland, AR is said to be around since 1968.
From earlier being used in the big organizations, augmented reality has now reached our smartphones and those Snapchat dog filters are the best example.
Mobile AR world is rapidly growing since the smartphone devices today have compatible hardware and enough processing power to run the AR-based apps.
What is Augmented Reality?
By bridging the gap between the virtual and real world, augmented reality provides an interactive experience of the real-world. It enhances the physical world objects by computer-generated information such as graphics, audio, video, etc.
Types of Augmented Reality
Mainly, there are two types of Augmented Reality:
- Marker-based AR
Marker-based augmented reality needs a trigger sign or marker to start showing the augmented experience. And, if the scanning device is turned away from the trigger element then the augmented object disappears.
The marker can be a QR code like structure or any other unique design which an AR app can detect and, once the app identifies the marker, it starts showing the augmented content over it.
- Marker-less AR
Marker-less augmented reality is the enhanced and advanced version of the marker-based AR tech. It uses the device’s camera, GPS and other sensors like accelerometer and compass in order to show the virtual object.
Marker-less AR creates a 3D space from the available data by using the Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) process. And, unlike marker-based AR, the augmented object stays in the same place even if the scanning device is turned away.
Marker-less augmented reality also has 3 main variations, which are:
2.1 Location-based AR
Location-based augmented reality gets triggered as it matches the predetermined location and the virtual object starts showing at the spot. It uses various available sensors in the device to determine the location.
The famous mobile game ‘Pokemon Go’ is the best example of location-based AR. After turning on the GPS and camera, when a player reaches the pre-set location, he/she can get the Pokemon.
2.2 Projection-based AR
Projection-based augmented reality is a bit different than the other variations of marker-less AR. It projects augmented graphics onto a surface or an object by using advanced projectors.
However, the digital graphics are interactive and can receive manual inputs upon touching the projected surface. After the projection-based AR receives input, it responds by changing the projected augmented object.
Above shown Cicret Bracelets are the best example of projection-based AR.
2.3 Superimposition-based AR
Superimposition-based augmented reality recognizes the real world objects and enhances them to provide an alternate view. Either it replaces the whole or partial view of an object with a different or enhanced version of the same object.
Object recognition is the main concept of superimposition-based AR. Meaning, if an application cannot determine an object then it can’t enhance the object’s look.
Dulux Visualizer app is the best example of superimposition based AR. It lets users decide which color will look nicer before actually painting the wall.
Marker-based vs Marker-less Augmented Reality
|Marker-based AR||Marker-less AR|
|It needs a trigger image or sign to start showing the augmented graphics.||It uses the SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) process to show the augmented graphics.|
|Augmented experience disappears if the scanning device is turned away from the trigger marker.||Augmented experience stays placed in the same location even if the scanning device is turned away.|
ARCore & ARKit Technologies
Both ARCore and ARKit, are SDKs (Software Development Kit) for the development of augmented reality apps. Where ARCore is the AR development framework for Google’s Android, ARKit is for Apple’s iOS.
- can track the motion of an object in the real world
- can understand different sizes, location, angles, points, etc.
While still being in the early development phase, both the platforms have some pros & cons over each other. Like, ARCore is a bit ahead in mapping & reliable recovery but, when it comes to hardware and tracking reliability, ARKit is more advanced.
Future of Augmented Reality
Whether we realize it or not, augmented reality is almost half a century old concept. And, according to a prediction, AR market is projected to reach $72.7 billion by 2024. From the healthcare sector to the hi-tech gaming industry, augmented reality has been developed a lot over the past few years.
Some of the future trends in AR that we foresee are:
- AR grows along with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for education and simulation training purposes
- A rapid increase in the number of mobile AR installed base and monthly active users
- More than 100 million expected users of AR-enabled shopping technologies by 2020
- Use of AR in indoor and outdoor navigation solutions
- AR-based games and other entertainment solutions
- Advancements in the field of WebAR
- AR functionality in the wearable devices like contact lenses
Also, AR would be covering many other sectors like military, education, engineering, healthcare, and real estate in the coming years.
Many people are using AR-powered solutions in their day-to-day life without even realizing. AR will continue to be applied in the lives of regular consumers to enhance the real world experiences.
No doubts, innovation possibilities in augmented reality are endless, and we might soon see the Iron-Man-style Jarvis in our homes.
Read more blog: The Future of Augmented Reality