Technology moves at lightning speed, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. There’s one development that you can’t allowed to pass you by: Augmented reality. Augmented reality is a specific type of technology that can superimpose a computer-generated image on top of your view of the real world, creating a composite view of the world that merges the real (reality) with something that is not (the generated image). This technology has made its way into video games, testing situations for extreme jobs, and now, it’s in your pocket. That’s right, your cell phone has the power to become an augmented reality machine. All you must do is use it.
Augmented reality, or AR, has been in our hands for years. One of the most popular mobile apps that uses AR is Snapchat. Snapchat has what are called filters. These filters can be anything from fake makeup to puppy dog ears. When the camera is pointed at a person, the filter is applied in real time, and it looks like you’ve put on flawless makeup or turned into an adorable Dalmatian. Smartphone AR can be used for so much more than covering up that zit with a pretty filter! Here are some examples of smartphone AR at work.
What’s the difference between Augmented Reality and Virtual reality?
The difference between augmented and virtual reality is small, but important. Augmented reality is small changes to the world imposed on the real world. Just images made to look like they’re somewhere they’re not. Virtual reality is an entire new ‘reality’ created and meant to be used aside from the real world. Your cell phone can do virtual reality, with the assistance of outside equipment. AR doesn’t need anything else.
Smartphones have been bringing AR into the mainstream since 2016. AR existed in your phone before then, but that was the year it really became popular. Snapchat took off. Pokémon Go came out, and suddenly kids were chasing Pokémon in the real world. But this development didn’t stop with these games, they’ve continued to develop and get better.
As cell phones improve, their screens get bigger, their processors get faster, and cameras and battery lives improve, AR grows in popularity. The selection of games gets bigger, with AR cats, dragons, and lego games available. AR has expanded beyond the fun and entertaining and has moved into the educational.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the environment when people build dams? There’s an AR app for that that can stack an ecosystem on a table top in front of you and let you explore each part of it. Wonder what stars you’re looking at? An AR app can orient the stars you’re looking at, and cast their shapes (Like Orion and his belt) directly onto the constellations you’re looking at. Not sure what that sign says in English? There’s an AR app that translates in real time. Even Apple has capitalized on AR, using an app to measure spaces around you, from tables, to floors, to walls, with an increasingly shocking amount of accuracy.
AR is just hitting its stride, and it’s going to be in your world and your smartphone for a long time to come.
What do you think?