Augmented Reality: An Overview of Its Basics
What is augmented reality? Simply put, the difference between augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality is this: Augmented Reality (aerial Reality): An interactive experience in which a user leaves the normal real-life environment to enter a completely digital world through VR headsets, tablets, digital cameras, iPhones, or whatever else is commonly referred to as “VR.” Mixed reality (MR): An experience in which users interact with elements in the natural world, but can “see” them as if they were physical objects. In other words, MR lets users see themselves as animals, people, cars, birds, etc. Virtual reality, on the other hand, puts the user into an entirely computer-generated world in which virtually every known object is available. For example, a user could stand in front of a kitchen counter and use a pen to write the recipe that he wants to create, view the same counter through his eyesight from thousands of miles away, and be able to “print” out the recipe that he wrote down.
Will there ever be a good AR application that can replace all of the work that people do every day with a phone? One developer, who goes by the name of Will Mason, claims that he will be able to take a picture of a kitchen counter using nothing more than a smartphone and then use that photo to create augmented reality tools that will be able to completely replace most of the work that he does every day. In the future, we will be able to feed our dogs from our brain. We will be able to walk through the woods and look for wildlife using our brain.
Will Mason, the developer of this new augmented reality technology, says that he plans to be able to take a picture of any kitchen counter through his smartphone camera and then feed it into a computer program that he will be able to control. He will then be able to manipulate the computer and create a virtual object that is identical to the one that he took the picture of. He claims that the end result will be the creation of an exact replica of the object that was found in the forest. Will Mason will be able to control the movements of the virtual object, just as if he were able to touch or feel the object. He will also be able to change the color of the virtual object.
However, many are wondering how exactly does he plan to accomplish such a task. Will he be able to integrate voice commands with the new augmented reality technology or will he be developing a new system that works completely on his wireless wrist camera? Will users be able to select which virtual object they would like to interact with using their smartphones? If so, will they be able to fully customize the level of interaction or will the system just do basic manipulation of basic virtual objects? Mason is being very open about the possibility of voice commands being integrated into his future VR/MR solutions, but he is cautious about how this new system will work.
Will all of the interactions between the user and his or her augmented reality environment be recorded and uploaded to a server for later playback. Will the user be able to make new virtual objects and alter the fundamental physical properties of any existing virtual objects? Mason is quick to point out that the MR software and the AR technology used inside of the headsets of the user will allow for this ability. Users will be able to upload any existing photo and change its basic color and physical properties, for example.
Will all of the interactions be recorded and uploaded to a server for later playback. Will users be able to make new virtual objects and alter the basic physical properties of any existing virtual objects? Will users be able to upload all of their interaction with the real world into their vr headsets? Will they be able to modify any existing photographs that they have captured using their smartphone camera?
Mason is quick to note that there is no limit to the possibilities of augmented and virtual reality. He sees this new form of interaction between two or more real-world elements as paving the way toward the development of completely interactive, immersive virtual reality experiences. “We’re already at the beginning of this new era,” he says. “This is just the first step.” He goes on to note that augmented reality technology will allow users to interact with not only their environment, but also with one another, creating a social aspect to what would otherwise have been a single-player experience in the traditional video game console environment.
Mason emphasizes that the aim of augmented reality and MR technology is to give the user an extremely realistic and natural experience in which the two real worlds are blended and the user has complete control over both of them. He says that this will open up many doors in the field of entertainment, from games to museums to real estate. The key is for developers to create applications that can bridge the gap between the world of the one who is experiencing the augmented reality, versus the one who is merely viewing it.