Augmented reality hits the mainstream

Augmented reality (AR) has been talked about for some time now. It’s always been a bit of a ‘buzz word’ and I’ve seen plenty of videos demonstrating certain applications (with a small a) of this technology that looked quite cool but didn’t really demonstrate what the value might be to a mass audience…until now…

So what is Augmented Reality? Well, the wikipedia entry provides a starting point towards understanding the technology:

“Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.

At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial markers recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators.”

Right, well that makes perfect sense then…errr…

Essentially, my basic definition would be that ‘AR’ is where what we see in the real world has value added to it through computer generated data. Here is an example I came across from BBH Labs that looks potentially amazing…

Its an applications for the i-phone 3GS that allows you to find the nearest underground location wherever you are. Finally, examples of augmented reality that add value to the daily lives of users… It’s an example of where a technology that can only be considered niche, develops to an extent that it pushes itself into mainstream consciousness…

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