Software developers had been discussing augmented reality for the past few years, but it was not until the launch of products like Google Glass, the technology started garnering heightened interests. Augmented reality combines the real world with virtual reality. It basically aims at digitally enhancing the live video imagery with computer generated graphics. For instance, a user can view a location through the camera of the smart-phone, along with strategically placed computer graphics relaying information about the place. The technology excellently relays real world information, presenting them in an interactive way that makes the virtual elements a part of the real world. Superimposing information over the field of view can open up numerous new possibilities, incorporating innovations in real life. Successful implementation of this revolutionary technology in mobile devices could change our lives in great many ways, adding more convenience and comfort to it.
Here are some real world applications of augmented reality that could substantially improve our lives:
Augmented reality can benefit the medical community in interesting ways. Medical students can practice surgery using this technology which can offer them a controlled environment. Complex medical conditions of the patients can be explained through visualizations, reducing the risk in an operation by providing improved sensory perception to the surgeons. Combining this technology with X-Rays or MRI could help the surgeons to understand the details in just a single view. Neurosurgery can be especially benefited as 3D imaging of the brain, by registering exact coordinates, could be a powerful tool for surgeons.
Navigation fits best in the applications of augmented reality. The technology supports enhanced GPS system, making traveling easier by displaying information. The phone’s camera can be used in combination with GPS and the travelers can view the route along with overlaying information about what lies around.
The most prominent example of the application of augmented reality in the Military is the Heads-Up Display (HUD). HUD positions a transparent display directly in the view of fighter pilots and the data displayed include airspeed, altitude and horizon line, apart from other critical data. As the name suggests, the pilot doesn’t need to look down at the instrument for the data. Ground troops uses the Head-Mounted Display (HMD) which displays critical data like enemy location within the line of sight of the soldiers. The technology can be of great value for creating simulations during training.
Tourism is another aspect where augmented reality can be of great use. Sightseeing can be a lot more fun if the live view gets augmented by computer graphics. In museums, the technology can develop systems for enhancing the experience of visitors, who can also interact in 3D. Tourists can explore historic sites using a smart-phone equipped with camera in which the facts and figures appear as an overlay on their live screen. The apps, in this case, use GPS and image recognition technology for searching data from an online database.
Repair and Maintenance
A head worn display equipped with augmented reality technology can help a mechanic to repair engines by viewing superimposed imagery and information regarding the engines in his line of sight. All the important parts can be labeled so that the mechanic better understands the equipment. Augmented reality can break down complex repairs into a series of simple steps. The technology can also be helpful in training the technicians which, in turn, can reduce training expenses.
Exploring a City
Being in a new city or town often presents difficulties of finding exactly what you want. An augmented reality app can show you what’s nearby and where to find a restaurant, a coffee shop or a library, instead of just indicating in which direction you should proceed to reach a given destination. Exploring a new neighborhood or a new city could be fun with the help of augmented reality.
Calling customer care and being put on hold if the executive isn’t available is quite irritating at times. How about customer service coming to your smart-phone to assist you with your ongoing task? While you are having a problem in setting up an instrument at home, the support team can access the camera of your smart-phone in real time through the augmented reality software and overlay instructions through the camera making your task easier. Instead of hearing instructions over phone you can have the details and visuals of how to solve the problem.
Emergencies can strike any place at any point of time and nothing’s better than a rescue team using advanced technology to carry out rescue operations faster and more efficiently. The first responders to emergencies are police and firefighters, who need to navigate the place of chaos quickly for deciding the course of action. A virtual map of the site which can provide them an X-Ray vision to see what lies underground or under water could be of great help.
Technology is surely taking big leaps and glimpses of the real world applications of augmented reality are glaring examples of the same. The concept has garnered enough attention in the recent times but still lacks advanced tools, techniques and App Development initiatives for its successful implementation. Augmented reality promises enormous opportunities but we still need to be a little more patient to see how exactly it turns the promises into reality.
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