The Ultimate Guide to Augmented Reality (AR)TechnologyIntroduction to Augmented Reality (AR) Augmented reality may not be as interesting as aVirtual reality roller coaster ride, but it is now becoming a very useful toolin our daily activitiesMay it be filters on snapchat and Instagram orsurgical operations and procedures, ARs popularity is increasing greatly mainlybecause it merges elements of the virtual world with the real world, henceenhancing our senses that is, everything hear, see, feel and touch.
AR amongst all reality technologies lies inthe mixed reality spectrum of the real and virtual world Augmented Reality Definition What is Augmented Reality (AR)?Augmented Reality noun”A version of reality we interpret that is enriched oraugmented based on the real physicalworld, with computer generated virtual graphics thus enabling the interpreterto be able to interpret a more enhanced perception of his or her reality.” Augmented Reality Explained simplyThe meaning of the word augment is to enrich or addsomething. In AR, visuals, audio aid, touch feedback are added in our realworld to create an enhanced experience for the user.Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality In the case of Virtual Reality, one needs to immerseoneself in an entirely computer generated simulated world. But augmentedreality, uses our natural world and overlays virtual computer generatedinformation on top of it. Both these realities then co-exist and usersexperience an improved version of the natural world where the simulatedinformation is used as either assistance or entertainment for daily activities Applicationsthat use augmented reality could be asbasic as a text-notification or as complex as advanced guidelines orinstructions on how to operate a dangerous and life-threatening clinical/surgical/medicalprocedure.
They can heighten understandings and even offer accessible andtimely data. The crux and main point is that the information you perceive ishighly augmented and extremely relevant to your task.Types of Augmented Reality Augmented Reality (AR) CategoriesSeveral categories of augmented reality technologyexist, each with varying differences in their objectives and applicational use cases.Below, we explore the various types of technologies that make up augmentedreality:Marker Based Augmented Reality Marker-basedaugmented reality (also called Image Recognition) uses a camera and some typeof visual marker, such as a QR/2D code, to produce a result only when themarker is sensed by a reader. Marker based applications use a camera on thedevice to distinguish a markerfrom any other real world object.Distinct, but simple patterns (such as a QR code) are used as the markers, because they can be easilyrecognized and do not require a lot of processing power to read. The positionand orientation is also calculated, in which some type of content and/orinformation is then overlaied the marker.
Markerless Augmented Reality Asone of the most widely implemented applications of augmented reality,markerless (also called location-based, position-based, or GPS) augmented reality, uses a GPS, digital compass,velocity meter, or accelerometer which is embedded in the device to providedata based on your location. A strong force behind markerless augmented realitytechnology is the wide availability of smartphones and location detectionfeatures they provide. It is most commonly used for mapping directions, findingnearby businesses, and other location-centric mobile applications.Projection Based Augmented Reality .Augmentedreality that is based on projections, works by projecting artificial light onsurfaces.
Applications that use this sort of a augmented reality that is basedon projections allow human interaction by sending light on a real surface andthen it sense the human response that is, touch, on that projected light whichwill basically act like a touch screen. It is easy to detect a userinteraction, the application differentiates between a probable or certainprojection and the reformed projection which is caused by the users response.It is also possible to project three dimensional that is 3D interactivehologram using laser plasma technology and the projection based AR tech Superimposition Based Augmented Reality Superimposedaugmented reality replaces entirely or partly the unique view of an item with abrand new augmented vision of that particular object, in this form of augmentedreality the role of item recognition is extremely vital because the AR app cannotobviously replace the original item with an enhanced version if it us unable todetermine what item or object it is. A very evident consumer oriented exampleof augmented reality based on superimposition would be the IKEA AR furniture catalogue.You are meant to download an app and then scan the pages you select in theprinted version of IKEA’s digital catalogue, users are enabled to choose andplace ikea furniture in their home just by pointing the camera at the locationwhere you want it to be placed.How Does AR really work?For us to understand how augmented reality technologyfunctions, we need to understand its purpose and objective, which is to bring virtuallygenerated items in to the real world for the user to be able to see.
In the most commonly used AR apps, a user is able tosee both types of light, synthetic and natural. This is achieved by overlayingvirtual images on to a pair of glasses or goggles that are transparent whichthen enables the visuals and interactive computer generated objects to layer ontop of the user’s real world view. We also need to take a note of the fact thatAR devices are standalone, which also means that unlike HTC Vire VR head setsor the OCULUS Rift, they are fully unstrapped and do not require any cables orcomputer devices to operate.How do AR Devices operate on the inside?Enhanced Realities can be displayed on a large varietyof displays, from monitors and screens of desktops or projected screens to handheld devices to glasses. Head Up displays and Google Glass managed to placethis form of reality directly onto your head/face mainly in the form ofheadgear and/or eye glasses. Hand held devices mainly include small screensthat easily fit in the users hands. The advancement of this technologyindicates that they will eventually require lesser hardware.
It is possiblethat AR will soon be applied to objects like retinal display or contact lensesjust like in the movies. Key Components to Augmented Reality Devices Sensors and CamerasIncase of an Augmented Reality device, Sensors are usually on the outside. Theygather the user’s natural world stimuli and transfer this information to beinterpreted and then processed.Camerastoo are placed on the outside of the AR device.
These too are used to scan andcollect data about the user’s real world and surroundings. The processors inthe devices take this information, which almost always governs where the neighboringphysical objects are located, then communicates a digital mode to give out closeto accurate output. If we take the Microsoft HoloLens, each camera performsspecific tasks, for instance depth sensing. These Cameras, often work in acyclic mode with two “environment interpreting cameras” often on each of thesides of the device. Another camera that is very commonly used is the regular,multiple megapixel camera (something like the ones used in smartphones) torecord snaps, videos and also the information required to for the augmentation functionto operate. · ProjectionWenow know that projection based augmented reality is a category in itself but inthis case I am are referring to a smaller version of the projector that we canoften find in outward and forward facing positions on wearable AR headsets.
Thepurpose of the projector is to mainly turn any surface into an interactivescreen or interface. As mentioned in the above paragraph, the data that is inputtedby the cameras that are essentially used to inspect the surrounding world, isprocessed and then it is projected on to a surface in front of the user. Thiscould include a paper; a wall, a palm, a table etc. This also indicates thatthe use of projection in AR devices, will impact the use of electronic screensand eventually lessen their importance of this component. Hence this meansthat; in the near future you may not necessarily need a phone or tablet or evena real poker table in a casino, to play a game of poker because you will ableto play it on your table top that is available to you in that moment.
ProcessingProcessingAR devices are in the most basic sense, miniature supercomputers packaged intosmall wearable devices. These obviously require a significant level of computerprocessing power and they consume a lot of the components that we use in ourmobile devices. The list of components used in these devices include aGraphical Processing Unit (GPU), a Central Processing Unit (CPU), RAM,Bluetooth or Wifi microchip, Global Positioning System (GPS) microchip and somemore. More advanced augmented Reality devices like HoloLens use anaccelerometer (a device used to measure the speed in which the users head ismoving), a magnetometer (that mainly works as a compass that tries to gauge whichdirection the users head is pointing at) and a gyroscope (this measures thetilt and orientation of the users head). These devices help the user indulge ina truly immersive experience ReflectionToassist AR devices to be able to gauge the function of the user being able toview the computerized Image. The kind of mirrors these devices have varies in away that, some of these devices may have simple double sized mirrors having onesurface reflecting the arriving light attached to a side mounted camera and theother surface reflects the light from a side mounted display to the user’s eye.
Some devices may also have multiple small curved mirrors like in the Magic LeapAugmented Reality device. In the Microsoft HoloLens, things work slightlydifferently, the so called mirrors that are used, include transparentholographic lenses (referred to as waveguides by Microsoft) which use an opticalprojection arrangement to direct holograms into the users eyes. A light enginethen gives out light towards 2 different lenses that focuses on one eye each.This is made of 3 layers of glass that have 3 distinct primary colors, i.e.
Blue,Green, Red. The light first goes through these layers then enters the eyes atspecific angles, intensifies and colors, finally fabricating a whole structuredimage on the retina of the human eye. It doesn’t matter what the method usedfor this purpose is, all these reflection paths have the same purpose i.e.
toassist the image alignment with the user’s eye.How is Augmented Reality ControlledHere we will discuss the Human computer interface partof interacting with these AR devices. These devices are often controlled by voice commandsor touch. The touch pads are placed in such a position on the device that it iseasy to access them without any unnecessary effort.
Touch pads work by sensingthe pressure changes that take place when the user taps or swipes on aparticular spot on the screen.Voice command on the other hand, work very similar tothe way our smartphones work. A small mic in the device will scan and input theuser’s voice and a microprocessor will interpret the commands. There is list ofcommands that are already preprogrammed that are used by the Google Glass ARdevice.
‘OK, Glass’ is the command that is used to activate the device,alerting it to be ready for the command that is going to follow next. For instance,’OK, Glass, Please take a snap for me’ this command will activate the systemthen send a command to the microprocessor to take a picture of whatever you’repointing the glass at.Augmented Reality Use Case Example: HealthcareA lot of successful AR companies are doing well mainlyby helping veteran industries opt for and apply AR technology into their uniqueand specific business needs.
A very important example in this case would be theuse of AR in the industry of health care. AR can provide a lot of benefits andefficient service to each end of the spectrum i.e. the healthcare professional andthe patient, from a basic health checkup to a very intricate surgical procedure. Physical Exams Integration of augmentedreality assisted systems with patient record management technologies is alreadyhighly desirable utility. Data integrity and accessibility is a major benefitto this type of system, where record access becomes instantaneous andconsistent across all professionals to the most current records, instructions,and policies. We can hypothetically imagineto schedule an appointment with our regular doctor and on the day of the appointmentwalk into the cabin to find him or her wearing an augmented reality head set,maybe a google glass device. Even if it looks strange to us, this device isactually helping him access past records, view images, and any other relevantdata that is stored in your records or of help to him so that he can discussthis with you in real time.
Being able to instantly access patient records anddata without using a computer or needing to manually find patient files fromthe record room translate to a very beneficial aspect to healthcareprofessionals. In fact the integration of patient record managementtechnologies and AR assisted systems is in high demands due to its desirabilityin the medical industry. Benefits that we get from such a system includeaccessibility and Data Integrity, in which the ability to access records ismultiplied by instant access and the consistency across all professionals aboutall policies, instructions and current updates.Surgical Procedures In an hypothetical situation,lets imagine that we will be performing a surgical procedure. The doctor iswearing an Augmented Reality head set. This headset will provide the doctorwith vital information like the patients’ health stats, vital signs and historyand even Instructions or checklist needed for the surgery. Augmented realitytechnologies in the medical field can assist professionals by providinginterfaces like graphical overlay-based supervision or guidance, recordingprocedures, enabling live feeds for remote users, immediate access to thepatients past records, project images on any part of the body or merge themwith real time scanned images.
The advantages of using this technology includereduced risks of errors while treating the patient or performing a surgicaloperation. And reduced risk of infection or contamination if the AR device isenabling the doctors to access information hands free. This also speed up thewhole process. Questions thatwill be covered and answered in this section include.
Hence we now have a broaderunderstanding of what Augmented Reality technology really is.The Concept. It’s Algorithm.Types of AR technologies.Technical aspects of how it isimplemented.What are the various partsthat go into the making of these devices?How are these parts supposedto work in sync with each other, interpret the input data command and outputthe desired augmentation? Which fields are these used in?How are they implemented in thesefields?How beneficial are theyproving to be?