Glossary - Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology used to generate a composite of a user’s real-world surroundings through computer-generated imagery and perception. It is an interactive experience that is amplified by computerized technology. Usually, this technology uses multiple sensory modalities like auditory, olfactory, somatosensory, visual and haptic. In essence, AR must satisfy three primary features. These features are real-time interaction, precise 3D presentation of real and virtual objects, and a mixture of virtual and real worlds. Hence the resulting sensory information the user receives can be constructive. Constructive in the sense that it’s addictive to the real-world surroundings

Unique Features of Augmented Reality

On the other hand, the sensory information delivered by augmented reality can also be destructive. in the sense that it masks the natural environment. The immersive nature of augmented reality makes the user perceive the experience as though it was an aspect of the natural environment. This result is made possible by seamlessly interweaving elements of the virtual with the physical world. Therefore, augmented reality seeks to change one’s real-time perception of the immediate physical surroundings. Instead of completely replacing the user’s physical environment with a simulated world.  In addition, AR bares close relations with two other terms, namely computer-mediated reality and mixed reality.

Significance of AR

Primarily, augmented reality displays its usefulness when it combines components of a person’s real world and the digital world. The aim is to enrich the user experience and alter the overall perception of reality. Augmented reality systems first began in the early 1990s. This new technology started with the Virtual Fixtures system, which was built at Armstrong Laboratory of the U.S. Air Force in 1992. However, the gaming and entertainment industries were the first to see the commercial application of augmented reality systems. Subsequently, the applications of AR has extended to other industries like communication, education, construction, and medicine.