December 14, 2017

Augmented Reality – What You See Is… Amazing!

Augmented Reality

Blog post written by: UAT Computer Science Professor Jill Coddington

We started with Virtual Reality (VR), primarily for games but we have come so far since then.

There are very definite differences between VR and Augmented Reality (AR). VR creates its own world that the user can interact with. AR uses the real world and adds to it, still allowing the user to interact.

Today Augmented Reality (AR) is the live augmentation (directly or indirectly) of what you see and possibly what you hear. In other words, as you walk down the street, what you see beyond what is there could include pointers to restaurants, directions, traffic alerts, and just about anything else. Think of it like the Pokémon Search with seeing the Pokémon in 3D.

This is all fine but uses are there for AR? Obviously, schools can use this for teaching. For example, seeing a heart beating in 3D and walking around it would be useful to a medical student. Medical professionals can use AR to create dashboards with many pieces of information about a patient simultaneously and also be able to rotate images to see different aspects. Construction industries have used this to show what a new building would look like on a specific plot of land – while looking at the land. It could be used on a smaller scale to see how a new addition or deck would look on an existing structure. How about a business meeting where everyone appears to be in the same room? You could see facial expressions and engage more genuinely. For products, you could place three different sofas in your living room and see which fit or looked the best. Who needs a tour guide if your AR speaks the history of the Empire State building when you gaze upon it.

What is Augmented Reality

This is what we can already do. What we can do in the future is unknown and will exceed our expectations but here are some of our expectations. The first thing likely to happen is the goggle will look like ordinary glasses. These are known as wearables and they will shrink in size and be less cumbersome as time goes forward. It could be that AR is delivered through a contact lens in the not-too-distant future. Screens and TVs may become obsolete. They are so defined and flat. If we used virtual reality, we wouldn’t need these.

AR has so much potential. Everything it can do has not even been defined or dreamed of yet. At UAT, we are developing these ideas and promoting the development of AR products, uses and software though cutting-edge technology, knowledgeable faculty, and innovative opportunities for experimentation. For example, students have developed and app that touches on AR to be able to show restaurants that accommodate food allergies overlayed on a map that moves as you do. In addition, students have developed multiple games that use AR headsets that change and add to what you see in the world around you. And there is so much more yet to come!

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