What is Augmented Reality?

I have always thought that what basically differentiates some people from others is precisely the set of capacities they have to perceive the world in different ways. And therein lies part of the greatness of humanity. Between all of them, the painting can be much richer, more colorful, finer, more outlined. Each interpretation helps to compose the mosaic, although it will never be complete.

Augmented Reality

What then does reality consist of? Is what we see real? Do you see the same as me? Can technology help us to better perceive the world?

The first three questions are difficult to answer and are probably the subject of other fields of knowledge such as philosophy. The objective of this post (and others that will make up a series) therefore focuses on answering the fourth question and wants to delve into the description of a set of technologies that help improve the perception of the world: augmented reality. The full report, in PDF, of which this synthesis has been made can be downloaded from the Fundación Telefónica website.

The concept of augmented reality (in English Augmented Reality or AR) groups those technologies that allow the superposition, in real-time, of images, markers or information generated virtually, on images of the physical world. In this way, an environment is created in which information and virtual objects merge with real objects, offering such an experience for the user, that they may come to think that it is part of their daily reality, forgetting even the technology that they use. gives support. That is why augmented reality can be understood as a technology that offers a new lens to see the world, to perceive it in an “augmented” way.

Advances in mobile devices, mainly in smartphones, but also in different technologies that combine the real world with virtual information, have led to the fact that today we can enjoy these applications and that augmented reality is already positioned to enter into the consumer sector in a generalized way. But the essential element in this mix that makes up augmented reality is the availability of permanent connectivity since precisely the potential of a large part of these services is to be able to access digital information complementary to that of the physical world updated in real-time and that is only possible thanks to telecommunication networks and infrastructures.

In a simplified way, therefore, to compose an augmented reality service, 4 basic ingredients are necessary

  • An element that captures the images of reality that users are seeing. For example, a simple camera that is present in computers or mobile phones.
  • An element on which to project the mixture of real images with synthesized images. For this, you can use the screen of a computer, a mobile phone or a video game console.
  • A processing element, or several of them working together. Its mission is to interpret the real-world information that the user receives, generate the virtual information that each specific service needs and mix it appropriately. Again we find these elements on PCs, mobiles or consoles.

An element that could be called “augmented reality activator”.In an ideal world, the trigger would be the image that users are viewing, since the system should react from it. But, given the technical complexity that this process requires, other elements are currently used to replace them. It is then about location elements such as GPS that are currently integrated into a large part of smartphones, as well as compasses and accelerometers that allow identifying the position and orientation of said devices, as well as labels or markers of the RFID type of two-dimensional codes, or in general any other element that is capable of supplying information equivalent to that provided by what the user sees, such as sensors. In an ideal case, some of these elements could be eliminated. This would happen if it is achieved,
The augmented reality technologies as they come to complete our vision of the world ampliándonos perception and helping to compose a mosaic with increasingly finer granularity and improved.

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