What Is Augmented Reality? Augmented Reality Versus Virtual Reality
There are many difficult definitions out there for a term that sounds complicated itself. Look at this one from Wikipedia:
“Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.” To us, we like to see augmented reality simply as reality enhanced or modified by any kind of technology.
One shouldn’t confuse augmented reality with ‘virtual reality’ or use it interchangeably. After all, enhancing reality is not the same as a unreal virtual reality. We so often find people use the term “Augmented Virtual Reality” which doesn’t make sense at all. The below image shows an example of a gadget that offers a ‘virtual reality’ experience. With the 3D glasses you basically can play games and watch movies, which are virtual environments.
Augmented Reality Example: Google Glass
Currently most of this technology is applied on augmented reality glasses (or headsets) of which the Google Glass is probably the most famous example. When you look through the glasses you see a real physical environment, but the glasses augments that reality through sound, video, graphics etc. Unfortunately this product is still kind of in a beta/development phase and the whooping price tag isn’t something most people can afford.
New: Mobile Augmented Reality
While headsets are the most practical way to apply technology to reality, there’s a new field of development that advocates overlaying digital info on the real world through your mobile. While it’s pretty cool, some critics don’t believe there are any good applications for it. However, with travel sites such as Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet applying the technology into their apps, the have been proven wrong!
The backers of mobile augmented reality see a lot of potential also in the field of education. In addition, Mobile AR can be great for providing product instructions. For example, when you buy a TV, you can get AR instructions through your mobile. Other even more mobile AR enthousiasts even believe that this technology isn’t only great for creating killer apps, but also function as an new interface itself.
Let’s see what the future has to bring! What do you think? Will be the smartphone or headset win the AR battle?
Augmented Reality Webcam
Talking about creative applications for AR, USPS applies this technology through your webcam. See the video below how it works.
Can’t Wait? Try Google Cardboard VR Glasses
Luckily, Chinavasion now offers a Google Cardboard VR that you can put together yourself at home and use it with your mobile phone to create a cool virtual experience. Check our previous blog post to find out how it works or discover our recommended apps that are great for Google Cardboard.