What is Augmented Reality?

The skeleton of some poor fish that died long ago comes live in a museum.Fictional Pokemon characters that appear on television cartoons are recently found running on roads.Doctors performing operations on a body that doesn't bleed and has no skin or blood in them was also sighted.Well,the above events sound quite weird right? Yes,but that doesn't mean they are false.The key for making all of the mentioned events a possibility is one word.

Augmented Reality.

In the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History visitors just have to overlap their mobile screen on any skeleton to make it come live with full flesh and blood(after downloading their application). Using Augmented Reality the sensational video game "Pokemon Go" makes the Pokemon characters appear on roads,streets,inside homes and many more places human beings move across to make the game more lively.Any doctor who operates on living beings requires practice.But no one risks their lives by offering themselves.Hence,the recent technology using augmented reality constructs various sections of a human body graphically for the doctor to practice beforehand.So,these are the some of the common applications of Augmented Reality.Before digging in deep let us first understand the definition of Augmented Reality(AR) and how it differs from Virtual Reality(VR).

Augmented Reality(AR):-Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user's environment in real time to enhance the overall experience.

AR is different from VR because AR is just overlaying of some computer generated digital information over real world images whereas VR is completely creating a simulated world where everything is computer generated.

Now,having discussed about the fruits of AR let's dive into the roots and find out how this is created technically.Creating AR consists of two basic steps.One Input and the other,Output.Input is taken through a camera and forwards it to a computer.The computer analyzes it and then produces the output to be displayed on the screen.Moving a little deeper,The given input information which is in the form of images may contain markers or may be marker-less.If markers are detected that means the environment from which the inputs are generated is known and the configuration of the markers is known to the computer.Hence,these markers trigger the display of virtual information.They give the details of the position and content to be displayed.Ex:-The Museum.If the environment is marker-less,various sensors and image processing techniques are used to detect and analyze the real-world environment & based on various calculations the computer generates the appropriate positions for the display of digital information on the input information.Ex:-Pokemon Go.Whatever may be the situation the output should be such that the experience should be immersive and near real-world.Else,the goal is not reached.

Apart from normal input-output format the generated output in AR can also be controlled by speech recognition or Gesture control.Gesture Control in AR can be achieved by visual detection or by embedding sensors in the peripheral devices such as gloves,body wear etc.Among many output devices that support AR the most widely used one is the head mounted display.Where the device is worn on the forehead such as a helmet.Some other devices such as handheld display,virtual retinal display (The output image is directly projected on the retina of the eye),contact lenses are also under development.

Finally, AR will be a commonly used technology in our future.Apart from gaming industry there are many areas where AR can be applied to enhance the experience of activities in our daily life.The applications are huge and they will be very helpful in our future.

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