Brief Introduction to Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) technology has existed for over a decade, but the term has gained popularity within the past couple of years as developers have begun to integrate AR with mobile applications. The proliferation of smartphones, and the computing power found in those smartphones has nudged countless developers and startups into AR territory as well as given the public more of a taste of what’s available with Augmented Reality.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality is a digital overlay of information over a live camera view of the real world. Augmented Reality on a mobile device uses that device’s camera as the primary input device. The AR app takes the real world information from the camera and then enhances reality with digital information about the images that appear on the screen. An example might be a Real Estate application that overlays the address and specs of a house or building that is in the view of the camera.
The features of a smartphone -- GPS, compass, geo-spatial tracking as well as recognition functionality present in AR applications all combine to complete the augmented experience for the user.
Uses of Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality, as it is currently being consumed today, is becoming more prominent in gaming, marketing, sales and some enterprise applications. We’ll see more and more AR applications in the enterprise space as the decade unfolds. Promet has released its first AR app - a mobile application - that lays Chicago Transit Authority data over an iOS phone’s camera input. We have plans on using similar functionality in additional apps within additional verticals.
Some of our favorite Augmented Reality Apps
- Chicago City Transit Authority Augmented Reality - CTAR - By Promet Source
- Augment Pro by Augment - A plug-in for ecommerce
- Google Goggles by Google
- Layar brings printed magazines to life
Some of our favorite Augmented Reality Games
- Minecraft Reality allows you to place Minecraft worlds into the real world via your camera
- Star Wars: Falcon Gunner by THQ Wireless puts you in the middle of Star Wars action
- AR Drone 2.0 by Parrot.com
Where is Augmented Reality Going?
Analysts predict that by 2014, every smartphone will feature an augmented reality application. In addition, analysts predict that Augmented Reality can generate between $1.5 billion and $5.1 billion by 2015. In addition, augmented reality apps are expected to rise from 0.1% to 1.0% of the app market over the next five years. Future developments in the augmented reality field are currently focused on utilizing the power of the cloud. Sourcing data from a cloud rather than from the original source would greatly improve the speed of augmented reality apps, as well as increasing the ways that the capability could be used.
Other Uses of Augmented Reality
Qualcomm has been focusing on augmented reality within the last few years and developed software that allows developers to impose content over camera views of the world, which has been featured prominently in mobile apps. The program is called Vuforia, and the latest Vuforia initiative is to use cloud data to enhance the information that appears in an Augmented Reality app. The sheer amount of information that could be sourced is limitless in comparison to the current method of gaining information.