What is AR?

This article provides a definition of AR (Augmented Reality): What is AR? In this introduction we try to show what AR really is.

What is AR – A definition of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) adds digital components to the perceived real world. It is a live image of the real environment to which elements are added by a computer. These additional elements may include: Audio, video, animation, or (GPS) data. The idea of AR is to put real-time images, audio and other sensory enrichment on top of the true environment. In this definition AR is a mix of reality with a virtual addition.

In summary, an AR system is a system that 1) combines real and virtual objects in a real environment, 2) interacts in real time, and 3) registers/aligns real with virtual objects.

What is AR – AR versus VR

AR is related to the more general concept Mediated Reality. Hereby, the perception of reality is also changed by a computer. Information can be added as well as removed. The goal of Mediated Reality is to improve the current perception of reality. In addition, AR is often mentioned together with Virtual Reality (VR). The big difference between the technologies is that with VR the experience of the real world is replaced by the experience of simulated reality. AR, on the other hand, adds an additional information layer to the perception of reality.

What is AR – The applications of AR

Previously, AR was used mostly semantically for television broadcasting. It was used to display scores in sports, ball trajectories and quiz points that were placed over the actual images. AR applications have gained popularity in recent years. Especially for smartphones, which are widespread, have sufficient computing power and have the necessary hardware components, AR applications are increasingly being developed. For example, these apps place actual GPS data over buildings or provide information about products. More and more games are using AR as well, as Pokémon GO. Using more advanced AR technology like computer vision and object recognition, the information can be interacted with and manipulated.

What is AR – From entertainment to healthcare

It is expected that, thanks to applications such as Microsoft HoloLens and Pokémon GO, the AR market will be worth $90 billion by 2020. This market covers education and entertainment, with which you can try new home furnishings through Augmented Reality. AR will also be used in industry and healthcare, such as with the support of complex tasks, in areas such as assembly, maintenance and operations. Think about the automotive branch, both in building cars and in controlling them. Soldiers or tourists; everyone can benefit from computer-generated images in their field of view.

What is AR – The future of AR

Mobile phones are already an integral part of our lives, but AR offers great opportunities to improve the user experience. AR designers should consider the question of how traditional experiences can be improved by AR. Simply making sure the stove is suitable for computer improvements is not enough; it should provide healthier or better cooked foods before users see the importance. AR can have a great future when it can improve job efficiency or quality of output of an experience for the user.

This article is part of a series.

Read more:

Part 1 – What is AI (Artificial Intelligence): An introduction

Part 2 – What is VR (Virtual Reality): An introduction

Part 4 – What is a smart city: An introduction

Part 5 – Machine learning, neural networks and deep learning explained

Part 6 – What is machine learning: An introduction

Part 7 – What is a neural network: An introduction

Part 8 – What is deep learning: An introduction