Augmented reality is one of best technology which expands our physical world, adding layers of digital information onto it. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), AR does not create the artificial environments to replace real with a virtual one. AR appears in direct view of an existing environment and adds sounds, videos and graphics on it. AR apps typically connect digital animation to a special ‘marker’, or with the help of GPS in phones pinpoint the location. Augmentation is happening in real time and within the context of the environment.

4 types of augmented reality today

  • Marker-based AR -Some also call it to image recognition, as it requires a special visual object and a camera to scan it. It may be anything, from a printed QR code to special signs. The AR device also calculates the position and orientation of a marker to position the content, in some cases. Thus, a marker initiates digital animations for users to view, and so images in a magazine may turn into 3D models.

  • Markerless AR - location-based or position-based augmented reality, that utilizes a GPS to provide data based on user’s location. This data then determines what AR content you find or get in a certain area. With the availability of smartphones this type of AR typically produces maps and directions, nearby businesses info. Applications include events and information, business ads pop-ups, navigation support.

  • Projection-based AR- Projecting a light to physical surfaces, and in some cases allows to interact with it. These are the holograms we have all seen in sci-fi movies like Star Wars. It detects user interaction with a projection by its alterations.

  • Superimposition-based AR- Replaces the original view with an augmented, fully or partially. Object recognition plays a key role, without it the whole concept is simply impossible.


Devices suitable for augmented reality fall into the following categories:

  • Mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) – the most available and best fit for AR mobile apps, ranging from pure gaming and entertainment to business analytics, sports, and social networking.

  • Special AR devices, designed primarily and solely for augmented reality experiences. One example is head-up displays (HUD), sending data to a transparent display directly into user’s view. Originally introduced to train military fighter’s pilots, now such devices have applications in aviation, automotive industry, manufacturing, sports, etc.

  • AR glasses (or smart glasses) – Google Glasses, Meta 2 Glasses, Laster See-Thru, Laforge AR eyewear, etc. These units are capable of displaying notifications from your smartphone, assisting assembly line workers, access content hands-free, etc.

  • AR contact lenses (or smart lenses), taking Augmented Reality one step even farther. Manufacturers like Samsung and Sony have announced the development of AR lenses. Respectively, Samsung is working on lenses as the accessory to smartphones, while Sony is designing lenses as separate AR devices (with features like taking photos or storing data).

  • Virtual retinal displays (VRD), creating images by projecting laser light into the human eye. Aiming at bright, high contrast and high-resolution images, such systems yet remain to be made for a practical use.



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