The Ultimate Guide to Augmented Reality (AR) Technology Introduction

Topic: BusinessSteve Jobs
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Last updated: November 5, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Augmented Reality (AR)TechnologyIntroduction to AR Augmented Reality may not be as interesting as aVirtual reality roller coaster ride, but it is now becoming a very useful toolin our daily activitiesMay it be filters on snapchat and Instagram orsurgical operations and procedures, ARs popularity is increasing greatly mainlybecause it merges elements of the virtual world with the real world, henceenhancing our senses that is, everything hear, see, feel and touch.  AR amongst all reality technologies lies inthe mixed reality spectrum of the real and virtual world AR DefinitionAR noun”A version of reality we interpret that is enriched oraugmented  based on the real physicalworld, with computer generated virtual graphics thus enabling the interpreterto be able to interpret a more enhanced perception of his or her reality.”  AR Explained simplyThe meaning of the word augment is to enrich or addsomething. In AR, visuals, audio aid, touch feedback are added in our realworld to create an enhanced experience for the user.Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality In the case of Virtual Reality, one needs to immerseoneself in an entirely computer generated simulated world. But AR, uses ournatural world and overlays virtual computer generated information on top of it.Both these realities then co-exist and users experience an improved version ofthe natural world where the simulated information is used as either assistanceor entertainment for daily activities Applicationsthat use AR could be as basic as atext-notification or as complex as advanced guidelines or instructions on howto operate a dangerous and life-threatening clinical/surgical/medical procedure.They can heighten understandings and even offer accessible and timely data.

Thecrux and main point is that the information you perceive is highly augmentedand extremely relevant to your task.Types of AR AR (AR) CategoriesSeveral categories of AR technology exist, each withvarying differences in their objectives and applicational use cases.Below, we explore the various types of technologies that make up AR:Marker Based AR Marker-basedAR (also called Image Recognition) uses a camera and some type of visualmarker, such as a QR/2D code, to produce a result only when the marker issensed by a reader. Marker based applications use a camera on the device todistinguish a markerfrom any other real world object. Distinct, butsimple patterns (such as a QR code) are used as the markers, because they can be easilyrecognized and do not require a lot of processing power to read. The positionand orientation is also calculated, in which some type of content and/orinformation is then overlaied the marker.Markerless AR Asone of the most widely implemented applications of AR, markerless (also calledlocation-based, position-based, or GPS) AR, uses a GPS, digital compass, velocity meter, oraccelerometer which is embedded in the device to provide data based on yourlocation. A strong force behind markerless AR technology is the wideavailability of smartphones and location detection features they provide.

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It ismost commonly used for mapping directions, finding nearby businesses, and otherlocation-centric mobile applications.Projection Based AR .ARthat is based on projections, works by projecting artificial light on surfaces.Applications that use this sort of a AR that is based on projections allowhuman interaction by sending light on a real surface and then it sense thehuman response that is, touch, on that projected light which will basically actlike a touch screen.

It is easy to detect a user interaction, the application differentiatesbetween a probable or certain projection and the reformed projection which iscaused by the users response. It is also possible to project three dimensionalthat is 3D interactive hologram using laser plasma technology and theprojection based AR tech    Superimposition Based AR SuperimposedAR replaces entirely or partly the unique view of an item with a brand newaugmented vision of that particular object, in this form of AR the role of itemrecognition is extremely vital because the AR app cannot obviously replace theoriginal item with an enhanced version if it us unable to determine what itemor object it is. A very evident consumer oriented example of AR based onsuperimposition would be the IKEA AR furniture catalogue. You are meant todownload an app and then scan the pages you select in the printed version ofIKEA’s digital catalogue, users are enabled to choose and place ikea furniturein their home just by pointing the camera at the location where you want it tobe placed.How Does AR really work?For us to understand how AR technology functions, weneed to understand its purpose and objective, which is to bring virtuallygenerated items in to the real world for the user to be able to see.

In the most commonly used AR apps, a user is able tosee both types of light, synthetic and natural. This is achieved by overlayingvirtual images on to a pair of glasses or goggles that are transparent whichthen enables the visuals and interactive computer generated objects to layer ontop of the user’s real world view. We also need to take a note of the fact thatAR devices are standalone, which also means that unlike HTC Vire VR head setsor the OCULUS Rift, they are fully unstrapped and do not require any cables orcomputer devices to operate.How do AR Devices operate on the inside?Enhanced Realities can be displayed on a large varietyof displays, from monitors and screens of desktops or projected screens to handheld devices to glasses. Head Up displays and Google Glass managed to placethis form of reality directly onto your head/face mainly in the form ofheadgear and/or eye glasses. Hand held devices mainly include small screensthat easily fit in the users hands. The advancement of this technologyindicates that they will eventually require lesser hardware.

It is possiblethat AR will soon be applied to objects like retinal display or contact lensesjust like in the movies.  Key Components to AR Devices Sensors and CamerasIncase of an AR device, Sensors are usually on the outside. They gather the user’snatural world stimuli and transfer this information to be interpreted and thenprocessed.Camerastoo are placed on the outside of the AR device. These too are used to scan andcollect data about the user’s real world and surroundings. The processors inthe devices take this information, which almost always governs where theneighboring physical objects are located, then communicates a digital mode togive out close to accurate output. If we take the Microsoft HoloLens, eachcamera performs specific tasks, for instance depth sensing. These Cameras,often work in a cyclic mode with two “environment interpreting cameras” oftenon each of the sides of the device.

Another camera that is very commonly usedis the regular, multiple megapixel camera (something like the ones used insmartphones) to record snaps, videos and also the information required to forthe augmentation function to operate. ·        ProjectionWenow know that projection based AR is a category in itself but in this case I amare referring to a smaller version of the projector that we can often find inoutward and forward facing positions on wearable AR headsets. The purpose ofthe projector is to mainly turn any surface into an interactive screen orinterface. As mentioned in the above paragraph, the data that is inputted bythe cameras that are essentially used to inspect the surrounding world, isprocessed and then it is projected on to a surface in front of the user. Thiscould include a paper; a wall, a palm, a table etc.

This also indicates thatthe use of projection in AR devices, will impact the use of electronic screensand eventually lessen their importance of this component. Hence this meansthat; in the near future you may not necessarily need a phone or tablet or evena real poker table in a casino, to play a game of poker because you will ableto play it on your table top that is available to you in that moment. ProcessingProcessingAR devices are in the most basic sense, miniature supercomputers packaged intosmall wearable devices. These obviously require a significant level of computerprocessing power and they consume a lot of the components that we use in ourmobile devices. The list of components used in these devices include aGraphical Processing Unit (GPU), a Central Processing Unit (CPU), RAM,Bluetooth or Wifi microchip, Global Positioning System (GPS) microchip and somemore.

More advanced AR devices like HoloLens use an accelerometer (a deviceused to measure the speed in which the users head is moving), a magnetometer (thatmainly works as a compass that tries to gauge which direction the users head ispointing at) and a gyroscope (this measures the tilt and orientation of theusers head). These devices help the user indulge in a truly immersiveexperience ReflectionToassist AR devices to be able to gauge the function of the user being able toview the computerized Image. The kind of mirrors these devices have varies in away that, some of these devices may have simple double sized mirrors having onesurface reflecting the arriving light attached to a side mounted camera and theother surface reflects the light from a side mounted display to the user’s eye.Some devices may also have multiple small curved mirrors like in the Magic LeapAR device. In the Microsoft HoloLens, things work slightly differently, the socalled mirrors that are used, include transparent holographic lenses (referredto as waveguides by Microsoft) which use an optical projection arrangement todirect holograms into the users eyes. A light engine then gives out lighttowards 2 different lenses that focuses on one eye each.

This is made of 3 layersof glass that have 3 distinct primary colors, i.e. Blue, Green, Red. The lightfirst goes through these layers then enters the eyes at specific angles,intensifies and colors, finally fabricating a whole structured image on theretina of the human eye. It doesn’t matter what the method used for thispurpose is, all these reflection paths have the same purpose i.

e. to assist theimage alignment with the user’s eye.How is AR ControlledHere we will discuss the Human computer interface partof interacting with these AR devices. These devices are often controlled by voice commandsor touch. The touch pads are placed in such a position on the device that it iseasy to access them without any unnecessary effort.

Touch pads work by sensingthe pressure changes that take place when the user taps or swipes on aparticular spot on the screen.Voice command on the other hand, work very similar tothe way our smartphones work. A small mic in the device will scan and input theuser’s voice and a microprocessor will interpret the commands. There is list ofcommands that are already preprogrammed that are used by the Google Glass ARdevice. ‘OK, Glass’ is the command that is used to activate the device,alerting it to be ready for the command that is going to follow next. Forinstance, ‘OK, Glass, Please take a snap for me’ this command will activate thesystem then send a command to the microprocessor to take a picture of whateveryou’re pointing the glass at.AR Use Case Example: HealthcareA lot of successful AR companies are doing well mainlyby helping veteran industries opt for and apply AR technology into their uniqueand specific business needs. A very important example in this case would be theuse of AR in the industry of health care.

AR can provide a lot of benefits andefficient service to each end of the spectrum i.e. the healthcare professionaland the patient, from a basic health checkup to a very intricate surgicalprocedure. Physical Exams Integration of AR assistedsystems with patient record management technologies is already highly desirableutility. Data integrity and accessibility is a major benefit to this type ofsystem, where record access becomes instantaneous and consistent across allprofessionals to the most current records, instructions, and policies. We can hypothetically imagineto schedule an appointment with our regular doctor and on the day of theappointment walk into the cabin to find him or her wearing an AR head set,maybe a google glass device.

Even if it looks strange to us, this device isactually helping him access past records, view images, and any other relevantdata that is stored in your records or of help to him so that he can discussthis with you in real time. Being able to instantly access patient records anddata without using a computer or needing to manually find patient files fromthe record room translate to a very beneficial aspect to healthcareprofessionals. In fact the integration of patient record managementtechnologies and AR assisted systems is in high demands due to its desirabilityin the medical industry. Benefits that we get from such a system includeaccessibility and Data Integrity, in which the ability to access records ismultiplied by instant access and the consistency across all professionals aboutall policies, instructions and current updates.Surgical Procedures In a hypothetical situation,let us imagine that we will be performing a surgical procedure. The doctor iswearing an AR head set.

This headset will provide the doctor with vitalinformation like the patients’ health stats, vital signs and history and evenInstructions or checklist needed for the surgery. AR technologies in themedical field can assist professionals by providing interfaces like graphicaloverlay-based supervision or guidance, recording procedures, enabling livefeeds for remote users, immediate access to the patients past records, projectimages on any part of the body or merge them with real time scanned images. Theadvantages of using this technology include reduced risks of errors whiletreating the patient or performing a surgical operation. And reduced risk ofinfection or contamination if the AR device is enabling the doctors to accessinformation hands free. This also speed up the whole process. Questions thatwill be covered and answered in this section include.

Hence we now have a broaderunderstanding of what AR technology really is.The Concept. It’s Algorithm.Types of AR technologies.Technical aspects of how it isimplemented.What are the various partsthat go into the making of these devices?How are these parts supposedto work in sync with each other, interpret the input data command and outputthe desired augmentation? Which fields are these usedin?How are they implemented in thesefields?How beneficial are theyproving to be?

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