The extension of Virtual Reality: Augmented reality

With the recent rumors about Google acquiring Viewdle, an augmented reality and facial recognition start-up,  we are now gradually recognizing the importance of this new so called “technology”.

In fact an average smart phone user would know what is AR or Augmented reality, but might not know that it is actually called that, and perhaps while using it, might have never even noticed it.

In simple words: Augmented reality is the art of super-imposing of computer generated content over a live view of the world. It is rather literally the practice of enhancing what’s already around us. Well, in other words, it is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. The main hardware components for augmented reality are: processor, display, sensors and input devices.

More specifically  in context to mobile technology, augmented reality systems use one or more of the following tracking technologies: digital cameras and/or other optical sensors, accelerometers, GPS, gyroscopes, solid state compasses, RFID and wireless sensors. These technologies offer varying levels of accuracy and precision. Most important is the position and orientation of the user’s head. Tracking the user’s hand(s) or a handheld input device can provide a 6DOF interaction technique.

The future of augmented reality is undoubtedly brilliant, even as it already has found its way into our cell phones and video game systems. Just imagine the possibilities: you may learn things about the city you’ve lived in for years just by pointing your AR-enabled phone at a nearby park or building.

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