3D virtual reality

If you’ve been paying attention to new devices and gadgets that are hitting the market and coming soon, you’re sure to have come across a new buzzword: Augmented Reality. This new technology sounds cool but what is Augment Reality technology?

Simply put (which it usually isn’t) Augmented Reality is any form of mixed real world and digital interaction that occurs during real time. OK, maybe that wasn’t too simply put, so let me try it again. Augmented Reality is like Virtual Reality, except it occurs in the real world and not a virtual one.

Augmented Reality is sort of a new buzzword, but the phrase has been around for more than 20 years (1990). In fact, even though you might have just heard of Augmented Reality, you’ve almost certainly used or have seen this technology in action before. If you’ve ever watched a football game (US football) you might have noticed the yellow “first down” lines that appear after a players gains a first down, that is Augmented Reality in action. If you’ve ever played Halo 3 or any other first person shooter game, you might have noticed that your ammo, grenades, map, motion sensor, or health bar are displayed in real time, that’s an example of Augmented reality.

Augmented reality takes the real world and expands on it using technology. It combines the real world with a virtual one using 3D in real time. While the previous definitions explain Augmented Reality technology in general, the main reason AR is such a big buzzword nowadays is due to handheld displays that use Augmented Display technology.

Handheld displays are portable devices that you hold in your hands (duh) and includes cell phones, slate or tablet computers, digital cameras, camcorders, gaming devices, and the likes. Modern handheld devices use handheld displays to allow Augmented Reality overlays of the real, physical world. Yelp’s Augmented Reality app allows users to point their iPhone in any direction to find the nearest businesses and reviews (in real time) and there are lots of cooler apps where that came from.

In the future Augmented Reality will become more integrated with our regular lives and will make finding information and locations a lot easier (or scarier) in years to come. This cool new technology seems futuristic and it definitely is (have you ever seen Minority Report?). Hopefully after reading this article you are less confused about Augmented Reality technology than you were before, but knowing myself, I’ve probably only made it worse (and raised more questions). Ciao.

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