How is AR technology transforming the world?

What is AR? What was in the AR past? What is happening right now? What will happen in the future?
All these questions answered below.
Actually, the general public came across augmented reality when Google wanted to put smart glasses on our nose. After that came the era of funny filters which made us cats, bunnies and Leonardo DiCaprios. Then the Pokémon captured both realities and forced us to walk hundreds of kilometers. And recently Apple showed ARKit, and Google showed ARCore, which means that a new wave of games and applications with the application of augmented reality is about to fill the market. It opens us the world of new possibilities which are much wider and more useful for society than catching Pikachu (which is really important too, btw).
What is AR?

Augmented reality is an environment that in real time complements the physical world with digital data by using any devices like tablets, smartphones or others. For example, Microsoft Hololens or Iron Man helmet. Aiming systems in modern combat aircraft are also an augmented reality.

Augmented reality ( AR) should be distinguished from virtual (VR) and mixed reality (MR). In augmented reality, virtual objects are projected onto the real physical environment.

Virtual reality is a world created by technical means, transmitted to a person through (so far) sense feelings like sight. Mixed or hybrid reality combines both approaches.

Past of AR

In 1968, Harvard computer specialist and professor Ivan Sutherland with his student Bob Sproullom developed a device called the Sword of Damocles. And this was the first system of precisely augmented reality based on the head display.

The first massive use of augmented reality was made possible thanks to Den Rayton, who in 1982 used radar and cameras in space to show the movement of air masses, cyclones , nd winds in weather forecasts. This type of technology is still used in this way.

In the 90s the scientist Tom Caudell first proposed the term "augmented reality". A task was set before him and his colleague: to reduce the cost of expensive diagrams that were used to mark the factory areas for assembling Boeing airplanes. And the solution was the replacement of plywood signs with symbols for special helmets that displayed information for engineers.

In the 1995 June Recimoto assembled Navicam, a prototype of augmented reality mobile device, which smartphone users now know. Navikam was a portable display with a camera attached to the back side, whose video stream was processed by a computer and after detecting a color mark, it would display information about the object.

What is happening right now?

Recently, we hear about augmented reality at every presentation of IT giants such as Google, Facebook, and Apple. Last August, the acclaimed AR-glasses Magic Leap came out, and Apple, according to rumors, is developing its own headset of augmented reality.

And so, what are the ways to implement augmented reality today?

In entertainment, AR can change the content of TV where you will be able to interact with digital objects. Among the recent spectacular examples is the performance of virtual avatars of the K / DA music group at the opening ceremony of the 2018 World Cup League of Legends finals. Event visitors enjoyed the live performance of the singers, and those who watched the ceremony on the Internet had the opportunity to watch the heroines of the game, which the organizers added using augmented reality.

B2C solutions the area that uses mobile AR-technology for their own purposes. This is mainly an additional visualization of the company's products. But also interactive catalogs, allowing you to try on the chair you like from the catalog right in your living room or help disassemble the motor. For example, Ikea has integrated AR into its application, through which it allows users to check how furniture can look in their homes. The confectionery brand Cadbury has used augmented reality to improve the calendar with Christmas gifts for its consumers. Chocolate lovers can use the Blippar app to scan their calendar and enter the "augmented world of winter wonders".

In printed products, augmented reality is widely used in printed products due to the distribution of so-called augmented reality browsers - in particular, Wikitude, Layar, blippAR and others. Newspapers, booklets, magazines, and even geographical maps contain images that serve as labels for the visualization of digital objects. In the role of complementary information can be text, images, video, sound, or three-dimensional objects, static or animated - in fact, absolutely any digital data. With the help of special browser programs installed on tablets and smartphones, users scan tags, gaining access to additional content.

In magazines or newspapapers, augmented reality is most often used for advertising visualization, as a marketing tool that attracts the attention of the audience. However, there are projects aimed at solving social problems: an illustrative example here is the initiative of the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun, the texts which are adapted for children's perception with the help of mobile devices. They are aimed at creating a common information field for children and their parents and strengthening family ties. Collectible card games are also a large category in which they offer to animate cards that players use during board games.

In medicine, healthcare is one of the most important and practical applications for augmented reality technologies. In modern laparoscopic operations, the image on the endoscope is complemented by the image obtained during intraoperative angiography. This allows the surgeon to know exactly where the tumor is inside the organ, and thus minimize the loss of healthy tissue of the patient's body during surgery to remove the tumor.

In the military industry, analysts say that by 2025 the market for AR-systems that will be involved in the military-industrial complex will be $ 1.4 billion. It is expected that the number of operators will exceed 700 thousand. World Bank specialists are confident that the total number may rise to $6.9 million. For example, in the United States developed a tactical system of augmented reality Tactical Augmented Reality. It highlights the target, displays the location of the fighter on the map, and shows the distance to the target.

What will happen in the future?

Summing up, augmented reality is not only for games and selfies with virtual masks. This is a huge number of opportunities for commercial use, new horizons in education, medicine, real estate, e-commerce, and even tourism.

AR's commercial growth is astounding. Unlike virtual reality, augmented reality does not necessarily rely on specialized hardware and bulky devices. The technology works perfectly on the most mass wearable device - a smartphone.

The next step is a massive exit of AR from the entertainment sphere and social networks to the information support sector. Automakers (so far only Hyundai, BMW, and Audi, but the list is growing) are starting to issue user instructions that help owners visually examine their cars. More and more manufacturers begin to produce applications to repair shops that help craftsmen to work in the internal structure of complex devices. Amazon thinks about making it easier for buyers, they liked the sneakers in a magazine — pointed the phone at them and immediately ordered the same ones.

Today we live in the midst of stormy research in the industry. Even technological giants do not have a clear picture of the further development of augmented reality. This is a time of continuous birth of ideas, finding unexpected ways of applying and realizing the full power of this once fantastic technology - augmented reality.

JUNE, 16 / 2019

Text author: Ruslan Golovkin
Photography: Unspalsh

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