Augmented Reality (AR)
What is AR?
AR is a means by which computer generated material is of superimposed over real world surroundings, enabling interaction with computer generated material. AR opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
How does AR work?
Applications generally use one of two approaches: marker-based or location-based.
Marker-based: when you scan an AR object with a smart device, software recognises a particular pattern of markers (which appear as green dots). The pattern is sent to a database and when a match is found, the added material will show. These could be 3D images, video, infographics etc.
Location-based: applications utilise a smart device’s location detection feature and offer data that’s relevant to that location: finding your way around a city, remembering where you parked the car, etc.
Where can AR be applied?
AR technology holds enormous potential as a unique and versatile visual communication tool in providing solutions for product design and engineering, training and education, marketing, sales and much, much more.
AR can be applied to the entire life-cycle of a product or project to help improve design, operations, efficiency and effectiveness as well as increasing brand identity and, ultimately, profitability and success.
Here are a few examples of where AR can add value:
- AR glasses/headsets can make a field service engineer’s work a lot easier by enabling hands-free, real time communication between the engineer and a colleague or service centre by enabling the sharing of a real time view of the equipment. Engineers have access to real-time assistance through graphic images and videos superimposed onto the screen of the glasses. The benefits of this include time and cost savings, improved quality of work and more.
- Use AR to scan products to get access to installation or service instructions, a full list of product features and so on.
- Make your printed material to life with AR; adverts, brochures, leaflets, calendars, business cards, etc. can be enhanced with the use of AR, which can act as a gateway to additional features such as video presentations, 3D images, purchasing, etc.
- AR can be used to scan buildings and locations to gain access to historical data, building regulations, related local area information and data, geographical features, travel information and more.
Augmented vs Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality is based upon a complete simulation of a real world environment and VR users immerse themselves in this fictional world. With augmented reality, you see the real world but with computer generated images overlaid on various objects within the real world. In other words, virtual reality replaces the real world with the artificial whereas augmented reality enhances real life with artificial constructs.
These simple images below demonstrate the technology.